News Release

Long-time Santa Ana Resident Elected President of the Board of the Rancho Santiago Community College District

Santa Ana, CA – Ms. Claudia Alvarez, former Santa Ana College student and long-time Santa Ana resident, has been elected by her board colleagues as president of the Board of Trustees of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD).

With a commitment to public service throughout the last two decades, Ms. Alvarez has served on the RSCCD Board since 2012, the Santa Ana City Council from 2000-2012, elected as Mayor Pro Tem from 2006-2012 and on the Orange County Water District Board of Directors from 2006-2012, serving as president from 2010-2012.

Ms. Alvarez is a Senior Deputy District Attorney for the County of Orange, celebrating over 20​​ years of service. She has also held the role of president of the OC Hispanic Bar Association and as vice president of KinderCaminata, a program that introduces low-income kindergarten students to higher education through their local community colleges. Prior, she was president of MANA (Orange County Chapter), a national Latina organization, and served as a board member of the Community Service Programs (CSP), an organization dedicated to serving Orange County residents through programs addressing issues in gang prevention, victim/witness, domestic violence, transitional housing and youth shelters.

“I am honored to serve as president of this board of dedicated leaders,” said Ms. Alvarez. “Our district sets the bar when it comes to higher education in Orange County and each of us on this board is committed to the success of our students, faculty and staff. As a former Santa Ana College student myself, I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our students by helping to ensure they too achieve their educational goals.”

Ms. Alvarez holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in political science from California State University, Fullerton. She earned her Juris Doctorate Degree from Loyola Law School and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1994.

Ms. Alvarez was first elected to the RSCCD Board in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. Her current term ends in 2020.

Trustee Nelida Mendoza was elected vice president of the Board. Ms. Mendoza was elected to the Board in 2012. A U.S. Army veteran, she was a paralegal with the Orange County Department of Child Support Services, court clerk for the Orange County Superior Court, and has served in numerous public service roles.

Ms. Mendoza earned an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, an Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies, and an Associate of Arts in Office Technology from Santa Ana College, and a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master's in Public Administration from California State University, Fullerton. She also earned a Career Technical Education Teacher’s Credential from the Orange County Department of Education.

Trustee Phillip Yarbrough was named clerk of the Board. Elected to the Board in 1996, Yarbrough is current serving his sixth term.

Mr. Yarbrough represents the California Community Colleges by serving as a board member on the County of Orange ​Redevelopment Oversight Agency, and as a member of the Association of Community College Trustees Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. Mr. Yarbrough is also a contributing writer for the Orange County Register where he writes on family, social and policy issues.

Prior to becoming a trustee, Yarbrough taught economics courses at both of the district’s colleges, Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College. He is currently the owner of Nations Financial Mortgage Corporation, and Pacific Estates & Investments, real estate investment and management companies.

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.


Contact: Karen Kalil

Phone: (714) 371-6783