Chancellor, Ventura County Community College District
Dr. Greg Gillespie is Chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District, which includes Ventura, Moorpark and Oxnard Colleges. He is the former President of Ventura College and has worked for more than two decades in the community college system. Dr. Gillespie is focused providing student-centered access to quality and relevant educational programs and support services. He works with employer, education, and governmental partners to address shared educational and community priorities.
President & CEO, United Way of Ventura County
Eric Harrison joined the United Way of Ventura County as the new President & Chief Executive Officer on December 1, 2014. Eric was selected to lead the organization by the United Way CEO Search Selection Committee and the unanimous vote of the Board of Directors after a nationwide search. Eric’s responsibilities include driving the Community Impact strategy for the organization, leveraging personal and professional contacts and relationships into fundraising opportunities, serving as the principle resource for strategic management as well as organizational management, and promoting community leadership.
Stan Mantooth, Chair
Ventura County Superintendent of Schools
Stan Mantooth has more than 40 years of experience in K-12 school districts and the County Office of Education. Beginning in 1996, and until his appointment as County Superintendent of Schools in September 2008, Mr. Mantooth served as Associate Superintendent for Administrative Services with the Ventura County Office of Education. In 2010, 2014 and 2018 he was elected to successive four year terms. Mr. Mantooth has shared his expertise while serving on a variety of statewide committees, including serving as the President of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA).
David Maron. Treasurer
Vice Chair, Ventura County Civic Alliance
David Maron is a Ventura County business owner and leader in the nonprofit community. He is the owner of Maron Computer Services, which develops software for the health insurance industry. He is also the Vice Chair of the Ventura County Civic Alliance, which works to promote the economic, environmental and social equity interests of our region. At the Civic Alliance, Maron oversees the creation of the biennial State of the Region Report, which compiles extensive data on key indicators of the county’s quality of life, including education. He also manages the Civic Alliance’s business intermediary role with the Oxnard Union High School District to promote career pathways for students and he is a member of the IT Guild, which helps prepare local students for careers in information technology.
Executive Director, First 5 Ventura County
Petra Puls is the Executive Director of First 5 Ventura County, the local agency established to distribute money raised through Proposition 10, a tobacco tax approved by California voters in 1998 to support programs for children ages birth to five and their families. Since joining First 5 Ventura County in 2003, she shaped program design and practices in the areas of early education, family support and health, facilitated integration of funded programs, and monitored program outcomes. She earned a degree in Education and a Teaching Credential from the Federal Academy of Education in Vienna, Austria, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Azusa Pacific University, and a Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State University.
Dave Schermer, Secretary
Director of Communications, Ventura County Office of Education
Dave Schermer joined the Ventura County Office of Education in 2014 as the organization's first Communications Manager. Mr. Schermer is a former television news reporter and newsroom manager who has been honored with two Emmy awards. At VCOE, Mr. Schermer has greatly expanded outreach to the community and led countywide efforts to keep the public informed about the impacts to schools of emergency situations including wild fires and the coronavirus pandemic. His work in school communications has been recognized with multiple awards from the National and California School Public Relations Associations.
President & CEO, Economic Development Cooperative, Ventura County
Bruce Stenslie has 30 years of experience in workforce and economic development and has served since 2007 as President and CEO of the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County (EDC-VC). EDC-VC is a public/private partnership dedicated to growing the region’s economy through business technical assistance, training and lending. Stenslie is a frequently invited speaker on policy and practice relating to workforce and economic development and on the economic condition of Ventura County.
Captain Jeff Chism
Commanding Officer, Naval Base Ventura County
Captain Jeff Chism is a native of Tigard, Oregon. He is a 1995 graduate of both Biola University and the University of Southern California where he earned a Bachelors of Science in Physical Science and Civil Engineering respectively. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Graziadio School of Business Pepperdine University and Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. In addition, he completed a Federal Executive Fellowship at the Center for a New American Security as a Senior Military Fellow. Captain Chism earned his commission through the University of California, Los Angeles Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He is a designated a Naval Flight Officer, Prowler Tactics Instructor, and operationally flew in the EA-6B Prowler and the EA-18G Growler.
Editor, Pacific Coast Business Times
Henry Dubroff is the chairman, editor and majority owner of the Pacific Coast Business Times. He has served as the editor of The Denver Business Journal and the business editor of The Denver Post. He is a past president of the Society of American Business Editors & Writers and serves in leadership positions with United Way, Ventura County Economic Development Association, the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, the San Luis Obispo County Economic Vitality Corp., the Central Coast MIT Enterprise Forum and CSU Channel Islands.
Workforce Development Director, Ventura County Human Services Agency
Rebecca Evans has a passion for Workforce Development, which is reflective in her career path prior to coming to the Human Services agency in 2018. She served as the Executive Director for the Ventura County Civic Alliance and as the Workforce and Training Policy Manager with Ventura County Behavioral Health Department. Rebecca brings years of experience committed to workforce development, economic development, board leadership, strategic planning, social equity, designing and implementing programs, and working with a diverse set of partners and stakeholders to drive community, workforce and business needs.
Michael R. Hillis, Ph.D.
Dean & Professor, Cal Lutheran Graduate School of Education
After completing his doctorate at the University of Washington, Dr. Hillis taught at East Tennessee State University for three years before moving back to the Pacific Northwest at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). While at PLU, he served as a faculty member, assessment and accreditation coordinator, and administrator for 18 years. Additionally, in 2000-2001, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Norway where he gave presentations to middle level students and teachers throughout the country. Over the past few years, he served as the President of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education (AILACTE), was a Thrivent Fellow, and is currently a member dean of Deans for Impact.
California State Assemblymember, 44th District
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin was elected in November 2014 to represent California’s 44th Assembly District. Prior to the State Assembly, Ms. Irwin was first elected to Thousand Oaks City Council in 2004 and served two terms as mayor. Before she started a life in public service, Jacqui was an employee of Teledyne Systems. She also worked as an engineer at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
Marcella Klein Williams, Ed.D.
STEM Director, Oxnard College
Marcella Klein Williams, Ed.D. is the Director of Project Acabado at Oxnard College, an HSI Title III STEM grant initiative to enhance student participation, transfer articulation and success in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. An accomplished leader, Williams’ strengths include organizational development, systems design and strategic partnerships. She has led an impressive career in both teaching and administration within the P-20 (Preschool through Graduate level) California education system over the past 26 years. She is also proud to have a son who has chosen a career in teaching.
Dr. Cesar Morales
Deputy Superintendent, Ventura County Office of Education
Dr. Cesar Morales is the Deputy Superintendent of Student Services at the Ventura County Office of Education. He leads VCOE’s Student Services Branch, which operates special education and alternative schools, provides career education programs countywide, coordinates student competitions, and provides services to migrant, homeless and foster youth. Prior to joining VCOE in 2019, Dr. Morales served six years as Superintendent of the Oxnard School District, where he expanded student access to technology, implemented digital literacy and dual-language programs, and hired counselors for every school in the district.
Board Chair, Ventura County Economic Development Association
Michele Newell is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ventura County Economic Development Association and the Public Affairs representative in Ventura County for Aera Energy. She manages Aera's community relations, volunteer opportunities and corporate giving in Ventura County. Through her work with VCEDA, she helps advocate for policies, legislation, and programs that stimulate business and a vital economy as the foundation for a vibrant quality of life in Ventura County.
Ventura County Executive Officer
Mike Powers is the County Executive Officer for Ventura County. With his strong leadership team, he oversees a budget of over $2 billion, and nearly 9,000 employees in 25 agencies and departments. These departments provide a broad range of services to the community including critical safety, social and health care services as well as land use, transportation, water management, libraries, two airports a harbor and animal services. Mike has a degree in Economics and Business from UCLA, and received his law degree from Loyola Law School.
Brian R. Sevier, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Education, CSU Channel Islands
Dr. Brian Sevier is the Dean of Education for the California State University at Channel Islands. Prior to this position Brian was the Associate Dean of Education at Metro State University, Denver and the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Director of Standards and Classroom Instruction. In addition to his work at the state level, Brian was an Associate Professor of Social Studies Education and the Director of the Elementary Education at the University of Northern Colorado, an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina and an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Treasurer, 12th District PTA
Maria Steck is the treasurer of the 12th District PTA. The 12th District PTA is a volunteer organization that services the PTA Units and Councils in Ventura County. It provides support, training and leadership to assist the six Council and 125 Unit PTA's in the District.