News Release

Four Trustees Sworn in at Rancho Santiago Community College District Board

Board of Trustees Elects Officers for 2017

(Santa Ana, CA)—On Monday, December 12, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) Board of Trustees, three re-elected trustees and one new trustee were sworn in to serve four-year terms. They include Claudia C. Alvarez representing Area 5, Arianna P. Barrios representing Area 7, Zeke Hernandez representing Area 1, and Nelida Mendoza representing Area 3.

The installation ceremony featured a number of community leaders administering the oaths of office and serving as witnesses. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas issued the oath of office to Alvarez. Orange Mayor Teresa “Tita” Smith administered the oath of office to Barrios; her father and mother served as witnesses. Judge Salvador Sarmiento issued the oath of office to Mendoza; her son Joseph T. Yanez and brother Sergio Mendoza served as witnesses. President of the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) Board of Education John Palacio administered the oath to Hernandez; his son Richard D. Hernandez and daughter-in-law Denise were witnesses.

Other community leaders in attendance included City of Santa Ana Councilmember Angelica Amezcua, SAUSD Board of Education Clerk Valerie Amezcua, U.S. Congressman Lou Correa, SAUSD Board of Education Member Cecilia Iglesias, former RSCCD Student Trustee Raquel Manriquez, Centralia School District Board of Trustees Clerk Art Montez, City of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, former RSCCD Trustee Tom Saenz, City of Santa Ana Councilmember Juan Villegas, and City of Orange Councilmember Fred Whitaker.

Alvarez, a 35-year resident of Santa Ana, has served as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Orange for over 17 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in political science from California State University, Fullerton, and a law degree from Loyola Law School. Alvarez was first elected to the RSCCD Board of Trustees in November of 2012. Previously, she served as a Santa Ana City Council member from 2000 to 2012. She also served for six years on the Orange County Water District Board of Directors representing Division 8. Alvarez has also been active in many community organizations. She has served as a mentor for the Puente and Hermanita Mentor Program, president of the OC Hispanic Bar Association, vice president of KinderCaminata, president of MANA, and as a board member of the Community Service Programs (CSP).

“I'm grateful our community has re-invested their confidence in my leadership by re-electing me to serve on the RSCCD Board of Trustees. I look forward to continuing to work hard to ensure our students a bright future by providing them with a quality education in a safe environment,” said Alvarez.

Barrios, a lifelong resident of Orange and owner of Barrios & Associates, has served as a communications consultant for over 22 years. Currently, she works with a diverse array of clients serving their marketing, advertising, community outreach and strategic communications. Previously, Barrios was the director of communications for the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda. As a dedicated community volunteer, Barrios has served the Orange Unified School District, Community Foundation of Orange and the YWCA of Central Orange County. She was appointed to the RSCCD Board of Trustees in August 2011 to fill a vacancy for Trustee Area 7 (formerly District 3) and elected to the board in November 2012.

Hernandez, a 70-year resident of Santa Ana, is currently retired. His professional experience included serving as interim executive director for SER – Jobs for Progress, Inc. of Orange County, special projects manager for California State Assemblyman Jose Solorio, and paralegal with local attorneys, including Wally Davis and Terry Giles. After attending Santa Ana College, he dedicated his life to public, civic, and educational volunteer causes. He is an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran, who served in the U.S. Hawk Missile Air Defense System with stateside deployment during the Viet Nam War era. Most recently, he served as vice chair of RSCCD’s Measure Q Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, a member of the screening committees for RSCCD’s current Chancellor’s position and Santa Ana College’s President’s position. He also served as a committee member of Santa Ana College’s Santa Ana Partnership Committee.

“I look forward to working on expanding the educational opportunities for students with expanded mutual projects with cities and school districts within the college district,” said Hernandez.

Mendoza was born in Jalisco, Mexico, immigrated to the United States in 1965 and has been a resident of Santa Ana ever since. She is a paralegal with Orange County Department of Child Support Services. Previously, she served as Court Clerk for Orange County Superior Court. Mendoza is a U.S. Army veteran who was honorably discharged as a Sergeant (E5). Her extensive community involvement includes membership in the Selective Service Board, United Mexican American Veterans Association, American GI Forum, Rudy Escalante Chapter, American Legion Post 132, MANA de Orange County, Women in Leadership, and Toastmasters International. She earned an A.A. in liberal arts, an A.A. in paralegal studies, and an A.A. in office technology from Santa Ana College. She holds a B.A. in sociology and a master’s in public administration from California State University, Fullerton, and a Career Technical Education teaching credential from the Orange County Department of Education.

“My service as a trustee is dedicated to my parents, Maria and Eufracio Mendoza, who immigrated our family to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream. It was their hope that through education, we would succeed in life. Indeed, their hope has been realized and the reason that my motto is Educate for Success,” said Mendoza.

At this annual board organization meeting, new board officers for 2017 were selected, trustees were also appointed to committees and organizations, and 2017 meeting dates were adopted.

John R. Hanna, representing Trustee Area 2, was selected as board president. Mendoza, representing Trustee Area 3, was chosen as board vice president. Barrios, representing Trustee Area 7, was elected as clerk of the board.

“Our board is committed to student success. We will work this year to ensure our students and employees can study and work in a safe and secure environment, that our district remains in a strong financial position, that all students and employees are treated equally and with respect, and that we provide our students with every opportunity to achieve their educational and career goals,” said Hanna.

For more information about the RSCCD Board of Trustees, visit

About Rancho Santiago Community College District
Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503