The Peralta Community College District’s Board of Trustees, at its annual organizational meeting held on December 11, 2012, elected new officers for 2013. A newly elected Trustee, Meredith Brown, and three reelected Trustees, Nicky González Yuen, Cy Gulassa and Bill Withrow, were also sworn-in to serve for the next four years.
Cy Gulassa, representing Area 6, was elected President of the nine-member board, and Abel Guillén, who represents Area 7, was elected Vice President. Dr. José M. Ortiz, Chancellor of the District, was elected Board Secretary.
Meredith Brown, elected in November to represent Area 2, was sworn-in by Peralta Trustee Linda Handy. Nicky González Yuen, who represents Area 4, and Cy Gulassa were sworn-in by State Assembly Member Nancy Skinner.
Bill Withrow, who represents Area 1, was sworn-in by Joseph Bielanski, a member of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges and also the Institutional Effectiveness Coordinator at the Peralta Community College District.
Student Trustees serving on the Board are Sharon Clegg and Brian Cervantes.
A graduate of UC Berkeley with a M.A. in English, Cy Gulassa has taught at institutions such as Frostburg State University in Maryland and the Philadelphia College of Art, as well as teaching English at De Anza College for 30 years. He served as president of the Foothill-De Anza District Faculty Association for fifteen years and founded the Bay Faculty Association. He lectures on community college reform and governance issues and has published over 150 articles. In 1994, Gulassa was named Faculty Member of the Year and was honored by State Assembly and Senate resolutions and a commendation from President Clinton.
Abel Guillén is vice president of Caldwell Flores Winters Inc., where he has advised on the issuance of $2 billion in general obligation bonds for schools and colleges throughout California. In 2000, Guillén was a policy analyst for the Gore/Lieberman campaign. He has also been a research associate for the United States Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund in Washington, D.C., and in the 1990s Guillén was in the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and a Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow. The first in his family to attend college, he has a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Management from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Sociology, also from UC Berkeley.
Meredith Brown has over 20 years of experience in complex litigation and representing public agencies. From 1989 to 1994 she practiced construction and business litigation on behalf of nationally recognized public and private clients with an Oakland law firm. From 1994 to 1999, Brown worked for a major San Francisco law firm representing a number of large and small public entities in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2000, Brown established her own law firm, where she has continued to represent public and private clients She received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in 1983 and was a member of the Quill and Dagger Honorary Society. Brown received her Juris Doctor Degree from Boston University School of Law in 1988. She served as a clerk for United States Magistrate Joyce London Alexander, First Circuit in Boston, Massachusetts in 1988.
Brown’s community involvement includes service as a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, President of the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club, Vice President and past President of the Montclair Soccer Club, past Executive Board Member of the National Women Political Caucus – Alameda County North and a volunteer Judge Pro Tem for Alameda County.