Dr. Richard Tahvildaran Jesswein is Chair of Excellence, Philosophy and Social Science at Santa Monica College, where, in addition to serving as Co-Director of the Public Policy Institute (for which he was Founding Associate Director), he is a full professor teaching American Politics and Difference Theory. In November 2014, he was elected to the Board of Education of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

He earned a Bachelors Degree in American Politics and American Studies from California State University, Hayward; a Master's Degree in American Politics and Political Theory from California State University, San Francisco; and a Doctorate Degree in American Politics and Difference Theory from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Dr. Tahvildaran Jesswein served as the Academic Senate President at Santa Monica College from 2005 to the 2009. He was a Co-Chair of Santa Monica College's Self Study Steering Committee for the Accreditation Site Visit in March, 2010. Richard also served for four years as the Vice Chair on the college’s District Planning Council and he was the Vice Chair of the College's Strategic Planning Initiative.

SMC President, Dr. Chui Tsang, appointed Richard in 2010 to the position of Associate Director of the College's Public Policy Institute where Richard supervises the PPI's academic program and its experiential component.

Richard is an active member of the Santa Monica community.  Until his election to the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board, he served as co-chair of the powerful community organization, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. He is married and the father of two children who attend public schools in Santa Monica.