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Governor Newsom Announces Higher Education Appointments

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced appointments to the governing boards of the state’s public institutions of higher education, including leaders from academia, aerospace, technology, community-based organizations and veteran services to serve on the University of California Board of Regents, California State University Board of Trustees and California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

“These leaders bring a wide array of knowledge and experience from across the state’s diverse regions, including the Central Valley, to our world-class colleges and universities, and share a deep commitment to serving our state,” said Governor Newsom. “California is doubling down on our work to make college more affordable and accessible than ever before, spurring upward mobility and boosting our nation-leading recovery. I look forward to working with our state’s higher education leaders to help students reach their full potential and drive California’s long-term economic prosperity.”

The Governor announced the following appointments today:

University of California Board of Regents

Jose M. Hernandez, 58, of Manteca, has been appointed to the University of California Board of Regents. Hernandez has been President and Chief Executive Officer at Tierra Luna Engineering LLC since 2012. He was President of PT Strategies at PT Capital/PT Strategies from 2013 to 2016. Hernandez was Executive Director of Strategic Operations at MEI Technologies Inc. from 2011 to 2012. He was an Astronaut, Legislative Analyst, Branch Chief and Materials Research Engineer at NASA – Johnson Space Center from 2001 to 2011. Hernandez was Program Manager, Deputy Program Manager, Group Leader and Engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1985 to 2001. He is a Member of the League of United Latin American Citizens and MAES – Latinos in Science and Engineering. Hernandez earned a Master of Science degree in Electronics Engineering, Signals and Systems from the University of California, Santa Barbara. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Hernandez is a Democrat.

California State University Board of Trustees

Maria G. Linares, 36, of Tustin, has been appointed to the California State University Board of Trustees. Linares was a Member of the California State University, Fullerton Associated Students Inc. Board of Directors from 2018 to 2021 and served as Chair there from 2020 to 2021. Linares is a Member of Psi Beta Honor Society in Psychology. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Linares is a Democrat.

Julia I. Lopez, 73, of San Francisco, has been appointed to the California State University Board of Trustees. Lopez was President and CEO at the College Futures Foundation from 2008 to 2017. She held multiple positions at The Rockefeller Foundation from 1992 to 2005, including Senior Vice President, Vice President and Director of Working Communities. Lopez was General Manager at the San Francisco Department of Social Services from 1988 to 1992. She held multiple positions in the California State Legislature from 1980 to 1988, including Chief Consultant, Principal Consultant for the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and Program Analyst for the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Lopez was Deputy Director for Legislation at the Employment Development Department in 1982. She held multiple positions working for the State of New Mexico from 1970 to 1978, including Director of Administrative Services at the Department of Criminal Justice, Deputy Director at the Criminal Justice Council, Grants Manager at the Criminal Justice Council and Analyst at the State Personnel Board. Lopez is a Board Member of The Bridgespan Group, One Future Coachella Valley and KQED; Council Member of California Competes; and Chair of The Christensen Fund, San Francisco.  She earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Policy. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Lopez is a Democrat.

Yammilette Rodriguez, 45, of Fresno, has been appointed to the California State University Board of Trustees.  Rodriguez has been National Trainer and Consultant for the Youth Leadership Institute since 2020. She was Central Valley Senior Director at the Youth Leadership Institute from 2009 to 2020 and Central Valley Regional Director at Latino Issues Forum from 2008 to 2009. Rodriguez was a Governmental Relations Consultant at PG&E from 2007 to 2008. She was Director of Admissions at Fresno Pacific University from 2001 to 2007. Rodriguez was a District Representative in the Office of California State Assemblymember Sarah Reyes from 1999 to 2001.  She is a Member of the Board of Directors at the Vesper Society, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Advisory Board and the Central Valley Latino Leaders Academy Founding Board. Rodriguez earned a Master of Arts degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Fresno Pacific University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Rodriguez is a Democrat.

Romey Sabalius, 58, of San Jose, has been reappointed to the California State University Board of Trustees. Sabalius has been Faculty Trustee for the California State University Board of Trustees since 2017. He has been a Professor at San Jose State University since 1995. Sabalius was an Assistant Professor at Utah State University from 1992 to 1995 and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College in 1992. He was a Guest Professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia in 1999 and 2000. Sabalius earned a Master of Arts degree in German from the University of Southern California, a Master of Arts degree in German from Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in German from the University of Southern California. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Sabalius is a Democrat.

California Community Colleges Board of Governors

Joshua Elizondo, 25, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. Elizondo has been Associated Students President at Santa Monica College since 2021 and was Student Trustee for the Board of Trustees from 2020 to 2021. He has been Commissioner for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Founder and CEO of The Foster Bunch since 2017. He was Summer Intern at Television Academy in 2019. Elizondo is a Member of the Board of Directors for California Youth Connection. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Elizondo is a Democrat.

Irma L. Olguin Jr., 40, of Caruthers, has been appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. She has been Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Bitwise Industries since 2013 and Co-Founder of Hashtag Fresno since 2011. Olguin Jr. was Co-Founder and President at Edit LLC from 2011 to 2016.  She was Co-Founder of 59DaysOfCode from 2009 to 2016. Olguin Jr. was a Professional Geek at Geekwise from 1999 to 2013. She was a Teacher at The Center for Advanced Research and Technology and at Fresno Unified School District from 2006 to 2007. Olguin Jr. is an Advisory Board Member at REDF and a President’s Advisory Board Member at California State University, Fresno. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Olguin Jr. is a Democrat.

Jennifer Perry, 60, of Los Angeles, has been reappointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, where she has served since 2015. Perry has been Executive Director of Children’s Action Network since 1990. She was Director of Public Affairs at ACT III Communications from 1987 to 1990 and served as Director of Special Projects in the Office of Senator Alan Cranston from 1985 to 1988 and as a Staff Assistant in the Office of Congressman Mickey Leland from 1982 to 1983.  She is a Co-Founder of FosterMore. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Perry is a Democrat.

Roy A. Shahbazian, 48, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. Shahbazian has been Academic Senate President and Professor of Math at Rancho Santiago Community College District – Santa Ana College since 2001. He held multiple positions at the University of California, Irvine from 2002 to 2019, including Instructor and Summer Bridge Math Coordinator. Shahbazian was  a Computer Science Instructor at Fullerton College from 2001 to 2003. Shahbazian was a Software Engineer at Odetics Inc. – Gyyr Division from 1998 to 2001. He is a Member of the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Citizen Advisory Committee. Shahbazian earned a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Irvine. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Shahbazian is registered without party preference.

Blas Villalobos, 40, of Lakewood, has been reappointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, where he has served since 2018. Villalobos has been Chief Executive Officer of Centerstone’s Military Services since 2021. He was Director of Veterans Affairs at Chapman University from 2018 to 2021 and served as Manager in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs from 2015 to 2017. Villalobos was Executive Director of Community Programs and Veteran Services at U.S.VETS from 2012 to 2015, where he was a Case Manager from 2009 to 2011. He was an Outreach Worker at U.S.VETS Long Beach from 2008 to 2009. Villalobos served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1999 to 2003, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He served as a Member of the Department of Veterans Affairs Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans from 2017 to 2021. Villalobos earned a Doctor of Social Work degree and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Villalobos is a Democrat.

 

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