Carlos McLean before retiring in 2015 spent a 45-year career doing what he does best: helping troubled youth, middle-schoolers, adult job trainees, and college students to believe in themselves and be successful. He discovered this calling while earning his master’s degree in counseling psychology at UC Davis.


After his first few jobs as a juvenile probation officer and a counselor for both a middle-school and a job-training program, he zigzagged among community colleges gaining experience as an EOPS counselor at City College of San Francisco; psychology instructor, Dean of Instruction, and VP of Student Services at Laney; and instructor, counselor, and a project director at Merritt. But it was at Merritt College, where he served for 10 years, where he felt he could help the most by helping students overcome the many obstacles they faced to reach their goals.


In 2008, McLean was among others who became part of a program that would do something to dramatically change the lives of many students at Merritt and would become a highlight of his career. With a two-year, $1.1 million grant from the Department of Education, he served as Project Director of the Maximum Achievement Project (MAP) designed to increase the graduation and matriculation rates of African-American males and other at-risk students.


One of the early supporters of the program was Congresswoman Barbara Lee who invited McLean and some of his students to give a presentation about MAP at the annual Congressional Black Caucus in Washington DC., a crowning glory for the program.


Recognition of McLean’s contributions spread far, eventually getting the attention of the editors of the national Essence Magazine where McLean was interviewed and featured in its March 2010 issue among the “Best and Brightest Educators” in the nation (with a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama on the cover)!

He’s proud of the many students he counseled who have received scholarships, graduated from college, attended law school, earned their MBAs, and gone on to lucrative careers.


“When I’d see someone graduating, I’d remember when they walked through the door and they didn’t think they could do anything,” said McLean in a 2015 Merritt Connection article. “And now here they are strutting across the stage with the world in their hands. For me, there’s no greater accomplishment!”


To read the entire article, “Carlos McLean Retires After Years of Helping At-Risk Students Find Success,” click HERE and scroll to page 4.