Dr. Greg Gillespie, Chair

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.

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Dr. César Morales, Vice-Chair

Ventura County Superintendent of Schools

Dr. César Morales was appointed as Ventura County Superintendent of Schools in 2021. As County Superintendent of Schools, he leads the Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE), an agency that employs more than 700 people and provides teacher training and administrative support services to all of Ventura County’s 20 school districts. VCOE also operates schools for students with special needs and at-risk students and provides career education for students countywide. Dr. Morales is focused on meeting the needs of Ventura County’s students, school employees and school districts in the post-pandemic era. He is also committed to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion issues in local schools.


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.


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.


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.


Rebecca Evans

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. 


Henry Dubroff

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.


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.


Jacqui Irwin

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. 

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Stan Mantooth

Trustee, Ventura County Community College District

Stan Mantooth was elected to the Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees in 2020. Prior to that, he served for 12 years as Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. He is also the former Chair of the Ventura County P-20 Council. Mr. Mantooth’s specific areas of focus and expertise include financial systems and budget development, personnel administration, collective bargaining, facilities planning and administration, and risk management. He is a leading local advocate for improving coordination and integration of the educational continuum from preschool through higher education.


Michele Newell

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. 

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Petra Puls

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. 

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Maria Steck

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.


Bruce Stenslie

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.


Lori E. Varlotta, Ph.D.

President, California Lutheran University

Lori E. Varlotta, PhD, became California Lutheran University’s eighth president on September 1, 2020. The first female president since Cal Lutheran was founded in 1959, Dr. Lori E. Varlotta is an established leader in higher education. She arrived to the University with broad experience in change management and curriculum reform, student success and inclusion, strategic planning and budgeting, community engagement, and fundraising.


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.


Richard Yao, Ph.D.

President, CSU Channel Islands

Richard Yao, Ph.D., was appointed as President of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) in January 2022. He previously served as the Interim President in 2021. President Yao initially joined CSUCI in June 2018, where he served as the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Since coming to CSUCI, President Yao has worked to ensure that all campus divisions and programs are fully aligned with the academic mission of the University, and that all members of the campus community understand and embrace their impact on improving student success.

Council Members