(Santa Ana, CA) - On Monday, December 4, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) Board of Trustees, the Board nominated and approved its slate of officers for 2018. Nelida Mendoza was unanimously elected as president. Phillip E. Yarbrough was elected as vice president and Claudia C. Alvarez was elected as clerk. Each will serve a one-year term. The seven-member Board also includes Arianna P. Barrios, John R. Hanna, Zeke Hernandez, and Lawrence “Larry” R. Labrado. Gregory P. Pierot serves as student trustee.
“It’s an honor to be selected as president of the Rancho Santiago Community College District Board of Trustees. My personal motto is ‘educate for success.’ I am so proud of everything that RSCCD does to prepare our students for success in life. Our administrators, faculty, and staff go above and beyond every day to help prepare our students for transfer, for degree completion, and for advancement in the workplace. The Board is very thankful for the trust the community has placed in us,” said Board President Mendoza.
Mendoza, who is in her second four-year term, was first elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2012 to represent Trustee Area 3. She currently serves as a member of the Board Communications and Board Safety & Security Committees, and representative to the Orange County School Boards Association and the Nominating Committee on School District Organization.
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. For more than 18 years, she has helped prepare exhibits and witnesses for trial, analyzed existing case information, and researched pertinent case law. In addition, she researches and analyzes legislation affecting education, family support issues, and the paralegal profession. Previously, Mendoza 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 also served as a member at large for the City of Santa Ana in the Environmental and Transportation Advisory Committee, chairperson of the Community Redevelopment and Housing Commission, community outreach chairperson for the Orange County Paralegal Association, and secretary of the West End Community Oriented Policing Board.
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. Mendoza also has a Career Technical Education Teacher's Credential from the Orange County Department of Education. In April 2014, Mendoza was celebrated as one of Assemblyman Tom Daly's Women of the Year recipients. The award honors her efforts and inspiration in community involvement in areas such as veterans’ issues and higher education. Mendoza lives in Santa Ana and has three adult children Joseph, Jonathan, and Marisa.
Yarbrough was elected to the Board in 1996 and is in his sixth term as an elected member representing Trustee Area 6. He currently serves as the chairperson of the Board Fiscal/Audit Committee and a member of the Board Safety & Security Committee. He also represents the California Community Colleges by serving as a board member on the County of Orange Redevelopment Oversight Agency. In addition, Yarbrough is 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 in the evenings at 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.
Dedicated to improving the quality of life in Orange County, Yarbrough previously served as an executive board member with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and served on the board of the Orange County Chapter of the American Lung Association. He also served as Orange County coordinator for The Concord Coalition, a non-profit federal deficit reduction organization dedicated to eliminating federal deficit spending and balancing the federal budget. In addition, he served as a member of the Republican Party Central Committee and as a board member on the City of Orange Redevelopment Oversight Agency. Yarbrough is a former lay minister at St. James Church in Newport Beach, where he ministered to the elderly and the homeless.
He holds an associate degree from Fullerton College; a B.A. in finance from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF); and an M.A. in economics from CSUF. Born in Anaheim and raised in Orange County, Yarbrough is the third generation of his family to live in Orange County. He and his wife Susan and their two sons, Elliot and Grant, reside in Santa Ana.
Alvarez has lived in Santa Ana for over 31 years where she attended Fremont Elementary, Spurgeon Jr. High and Santiago High School. Although she started her higher education at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), in biology, she soon realized that her passion to serve the public would best be realized by choosing a career in law. By taking core classes at Santa Ana College concurrently, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from CSUF, majoring in criminal justice with a minor in political science. She earned her Juris Doctorate Degree from Loyola Law School and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1994. She currently serves as chairperson of the Board Legislative and Board Safety & Security Committees.
In her professional life, she has served as a deputy district attorney for the County of Orange for over 17 years. She also continued to be active in many community organizations. She has been a mentor for the Puente (Bridge) and Hermanita (Little Sister) programs and has also assisted with gang prevention issues. Alvarez has served as president of the 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. She has also been 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.
Alvarez was elected to the Santa Ana City Council in November 2000, re-elected in 2004 and in 2008. In 2002, she attended the Program for Senior Executives in State & Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and served as a delegate to Japan through the American Council of Young Political Leaders in October 2003. She served as mayor pro tem in Santa Ana for six years (2006-2012). Alvarez also led as chairperson of the Public Safety Committee for many years and was a member of the Transportation Committee. After twelve years of serving our community on the Santa Ana City Council, she termed out in November 2012. Alvarez also served on the Orange County Water District board for six years (2006-2012), which includes serving as president the last two years of her term. Alvarez, who represents Trustee Area 5, was first elected to the RSCCD Board of Trustees in 2012. She is in her second four-year term.
About the 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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