SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
SOCCCD encompasses Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Irvine Valley College in Irvine and the Advanced Technology and Education Park in Tustin. The board is comprised of seven members, who are voted in at-large. This year, trustee areas 3, 4 and 6 are up for election (two areas are unopposed), and the candidates for those trustee areas must live within its boundaries. One seat is available in each area.
Trustee Area 3
Includes Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Dana Point and parts of Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, San Clemente and unincorporated areas
Barbara “Bobbie” Jay, Incumbent
Jay was appointed to the board two years ago to fill a vacancy. She has worked as a teacher and business owner for 42 years, and has volunteers with Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College. Her priorities include fiscal responsibility with no new taxes, lifelong learning for seniors, job training, expanding K-12 and community partnerships and improving student access.
Peter J. Espinosa, College Professor
Espinosa touts 41 years of experience in the field of higher education as a professor, counselor and administrator at the college and university level. He served two terms as a school board trustee for Capistrano Unified School District. His goals include cutting the cost of administrators, streamlining financial aid, improving technical and career training and more.
Kimberly Clark, Non-Profit Director/Educator
Clark has 22 years of experience in areas of management, collaboration, staffing and facilitation of programs. She’s served as school-site administrator and counselor, coordinated programs and volunteered as a court appointed CASA advocate. She has a doctoral degree in education and runs an education non-profit organization. Her priorities include fiscal responsibility, improving educational quality and hiring a new chancellor and president for the district.
Gary V. Miller, Retired Teacher
Miller’s focus is on providing students more opportunities. This includes offering meaningful internships by partnering with businesses; offering college courses to high school students; and ensuring the district remains committed to returning students, especially veterans—Miller himself is a veteran. Miller previously serve eight years on the Mt. San Antonio Community College board of trustees.
Trustee Area 4
Includes San Clemente, Ladera Ranch, San Juan Capistrano, Coto de Caza, parts of Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores and unincorporated areas
Terri Whitt, Incumbent
Whitt touts analyzing budgets and carrying out “due processes” in all matters during her time on the board. Her priorities include the Emeritus Program for seniors, supporting K-12 partnerships, expanding veterans’ curricula and supporting the transition program with California state universities. Whitt has spent 40 years at Saddleback College as a nurding professor.
John Alpay, Board Member, Capistrano Unified School District
Alpay touts business experience at Oakley and Samsung, as well as a board position with the South Orange County Economic Coalition. His priorities include increase public-private partnerships between community colleges and businesses. As a CUSD board member, Alpay says he advocated for reducing property taxes, saving residents $61.1 million in Mello-Roos payments. He says he also helped refinance bond obligations in South Orange County.
Jim Leach, Director Community Outreach
Leach served two terms as president of the Saddleback College Foundation Board. During his tenure, he claims growing the Foundation endowment from $500,000 to $5 million, increasing scholarship funding by 157 percent, and increasing the number of students receiving support. One of his foci is on focusing tax dollars on student achievement, instead of getting caught up in bureaucracy.
Trustee Area 6
Includes Lake Forest, parts of Irvine and unincorporated areas
James “Jim” R. Wright, Incumbent
Wright is a current trustee and a former college administrator and chemistry professor. He also served as the Math/Science Dean at Saddleback College. His priorities include ensuring tax dollars enhance student success, maximizing programs for transfer, vocational and life-long students and keeping in line with his “values as a fiscal conservative.”
Mike Dalati, Educator
Dalati is a professor at ORT Jewish College and co-founder of the OC Latino Outreach nonprofit organization. His two kids attend Irvine Valley College. His focus is not on politics, but on “leveraging and maximizing our resources” to meet future educational needs. He says the time is now for an overhaul of leadership on the board.