With the resignation of Trustee Maria Elena Serna, the San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees is seeking a new trustee to represent the Lodi area. The following is a list of the 10 people who applied by 5 p.m. Monday.
The personal statements are excerpts from each applicant's letter to Board President Steve Castellanos.
Trustees will select candidates for interviews on Tuesday, Jan. 9 and should make an appointment decision by Jan. 20.
Gregory C. Ramirez
Occupation: Business agent, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union.
Education: Associate of Arts, Consumnes River College.
As a former city of Lodi employee, Gregory Ramirez said he knows about working for a large organization that involves some politics. He's seeking a seat on the Delta board, he said, to fill the need for a "non-politician."
View the applications onlineHere are the links to the complete applications:
The documents are in PDF format.
As a community college graduate, Ramirez said he thinks highly of the system and wants it to play a larger role in helping improve students' lives.
"I'm a native Lodian and my family's been in San Joaquin County for many, many years so I have an understanding of the community," he said.
He'd like to see a Lodi campus become reality at some point and said his peopleskills will help with that process.
Ramirez also met a lot of Lodi's leaders when he worked as administrative secretary for Hutchins Street Square. He said he built solid relationships there and that would help make a Lodi satellite campus a reality.
Personal statement: "I offer a varied background of experience and pride myself on a strong work ethic and an ability to communicate effectively with diverse populations at all levels, always demonstrating tact and diplomacy. … I believe that a trustee has an obligation to listen to all sides and information in regard to an issue, to investigate further if necessary and educate, and then to make an educated decision that would benefit a majority of the public. I believe that a trustee (and all government employees) should represent the highest standards of integrity, honesty and compassion in their roles as public servants."
Stephen Paul Mackey
Education: San Joaquin Delta College, Associate of Arts degree; Humphreys College, paralegal certificate; Lincoln Law School of Sacramento.
With negative grand jury and accreditation reports targeting Delta's board of trustees this year, Mackey said he would love to bring new energy and a new way of looking at things to the board. He believes the board's actions in the last few years have been unconscionable and he wants to help get the college back on track.
"I just felt that Delta shouldn't operate in the shadows anymore. It needs transparency. It needs bridges built rather than taken down," he said. "I could help bring accountability and responsibility. Delta has been a vital resource to the community for so long and it has been ignored in so many ways."
Mackey said that communication throughout all levels of the college is critical for it to operate at its full potential. He also said it was hard to see Lodi be promised a satellite campus and then have the board decide not to move forward with it at this time.
"I think it is very important to have Lodi as greater part of Delta College. It was really frustrating to have all this interest in the college and then have it fade away," he said. "Lodi has a lot to offer and should be a part of Delta's future."
Personal statement: "I believe Delta College is a crucial resource of the community. … Ethics are foremost in terms of the position of a trustee. Ethics is such a broad term because it applies to every action and decision. It is about trust and fiduciary duty to the college, the faculty, the staff, the students and the public at large."
Thomas R. Goad
Occupation: Business and financial consultant.
Education: Associate of Arts, Modesto Junior College; Bachelor of Science business, California State University, Hayward.
Attempts to reach Goad on Monday were unsuccessful.
Personal statement: "As a nine year member and two term president of the Lodi Library Board of Trustees, the decline in book usage throughout the greater Lodi area gave me cause for concern. Education is our nation's greatest asset and it is our responsibility to ensure the quality of education for upcoming generations. When this opening was brought to my attention, I saw it as not only an exciting change to instigate changes but also as my civic duty due to what I have seen and understood based on my community involvement: Lodi Library Board Trustee, Lodi Lake Docent, Micke Grove Historic Society and the Kiwanis Club. … Those serving on the board of trustees are public servants, who fall under the same laws and regulations that govern the ethical behaviors of all other public employees. As a member of the board, I would follow these laws set before and agreed upon by the board's governing body and community."
Nicole Alexandra Goehring
Occupation: Government affairs director, Associated Builders and Contractors, Golden Gate Chapter.
Education: Major in music and minor in agricultural and managerial economics, University of California, Davis.
A proud product of the public school system who took advantage of music and sports programs throughout her education, Goehring is eager to give back to the community and she wants to do that through being a trustee at Delta. Goehring is a Lodi Sunrise Rotary Club board member and played piano for the Lodi Community Band presented by the Delta College Fine Arts Division in 2007.
She's hoping to put the students first if she is chosen to be on the board.
"I want to turn the focus back to education and make the county better for everyone," Goehring said.
Goehring said she believes she can benefit the board as she has experience with accounting as well as serving the people and knowing what taxpayers want as the former district director for Congressman Richard Pombo.
Goehring is in favor of Delta building a satellite campus in Lodi, and she wants education to be more accessible. She is also a supporter of Delta's newest mission of building more green and leaving less of a carbon footprint.
Personal statement: "As a product of the public school system, I believe I know the needs of students and young adults and can relate to them. … Everyone has an opportunity to get an education at Delta College for a small investment. I will be an accessible trustee and will be dedicated to further advancing educational opportunities for all residents of San Joaquin County. … As an elected member serving the public, it is my moral duty and obligation to protect the image of the board to represent the college with high moral character and respect."
Occupation: Real estate broker.
Education: Member of the national and California associations of Realtors.
Willey said he admires Delta College. He's not only taken classes there, but taught some as well.
"I am at a point in my life where I would like to give back to the community and the best way to do that is through a college like Delta that serves everyone and provides for the entire community," he said.
As an experienced businessman, most notably as a division president of a large development corporation, Willey said he is very familiar with boards of public agencies. He even currently serves on the board of the San Joaquin Housing Authority.
Willey hopes one day Delta can expand with a satellite campus in Lodi. With lots of issues currently in the works, it's hard to say when, but Willey thinks it could benefit the town.
"I am hoping that will still come to fruition at sometime," he said.
Personal statement: "I believe I have the experience and knowledge necessary to be an effective member of the board during challenging times. I have a close affinity for Delta, having attended classes (there) and taught courses part-time for the last few years. … I have no personal agendas or political aspirations. My personal goal is to contribute to the community in these difficult times, and to help build a vibrant institution for the future."
Margie A. Lawson
Age: Declined to state.
Occupation: Retired teacher.
Education: Associate of Arts, Porterville Junior College; Bachelor of Arts, California State University, Fresno; Masters, University of the Pacific.
After retiring after years of working as a teacher in Lodi Unified School District, Lawson is looking to get involved in education once again. Lawson said she values the importance of colleges like Delta and wants to dedicate her time to making sure Delta continues to serve its surrounding communities.
"I took advantage of the junior college system in my own career and my children did as well, and I fear that we could be losing it which would be a horrible loss to our community," she said.
Lawson volunteers for many organizations and is a member of the Lodi Arts Commission. If selected, she believes she can bring a fresh look to the board and provide new solutions.
Lawson also said she hopes more people can benefit from Delta. Although she's not sure about the best ways to do that, she's ready to "start doing homework" on the subject.
"I would like to see San Joaquin Delta College more available to more people in more ways," Lawson said.
Personal statement: "On a personal level, I want to continue to develop my skills in community affairs and raise my level of activity. My years of committee and community work seem adaptable to trustee position as a direction where I can achieve these goals. … A trustee has to maintain the confidence of the public by adhering to a consistently high moral standard. I used to tell my students, your true moral standard shows when you maintain honesty, responsibility and commitment even when no one is watching."
David L. Dias
Occupation: Product support representative, Papé Material Handling.
Education: Associate of Arts, College of Sequoias, Visalia; Bachelor of Science, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.
Dias said he wants to help the organization in which he took pride. Even after retiring and moving out of state in 1998, he followed news of the college, and that interest increased when he moved back to California a couple of years ago, settling about a mile from Delta's property in Galt.
"I've been following what's happening and would like to get Delta College back on track," he said, adding that he finally decided to stop complaining and instead run for the board position.
Dias said his Delta experience is an asset, since he saw budget concerns during his time there and also helped build the Manteca farm.
As for Lodi, Dias said he'd rather have seen the college buy or lease a building to serve as a satellite extension, rather than invest in property for a full-scale campus that requires more staffing.
He's not sure how or when a Lodi branch will happen, in part because it remains to be seen how much money is left for such a venture.
Personal statement: "My 20 years experience as farm manager at Delta College has given me a strong foundation and understanding of the inner working nuances of the college, staff and its board. … Each trustee should always show good moral character as well as act in the best interest of the taxpayer, not using this position for personal gain, but rather to achieve what is best for the college district and its students."
Adolfo E. Melara
Occupation: Elementary education director, Stockton Unified School District.
Education: Associate of Arts, Delta College; Bachelor of Arts, California State University, Stanislaus; Master of Arts, Sacramento State University.
Melara said his life revolves around education. After attending Delta, Melara choose to be a teacher. As a father of a fourth-grader, he wants to make sure his son, and all current and future students, have the same chance to get a good education. That's why he wants to be a trustee for Delta College, so he can serve and attempt to make the school and the community better.
"I bring the perspective from a former student, from someone that has dedicated his life to education and worked with students of all ages," he said. "I think my background provides me with a perspective to serve the community better."
Melara said he would love to be involved in the school board process and "share his thoughts and visions with the college and figure out what shape would best meet the needs of the students and the community."
Personal statement: "My goal, both personal and professional, is to work with fellow board trustees to steer the district in a direction that will enhance its service to the community. For this work to be productive, our work must remain focused on improving the quality of life of our students through education and providing the best working environment for staff, while maintaining a balanced budget. … A trustee's actions and decisions should be above reproach and they should exemplify servancy, leadership, humility and good faith."
Occupation: Retired engineer.
Education: Engineering degree, University of Karachi, Pakistan; licensed contractor, California; licensed professional engineer, California.
Khan has volunteered for a number of community service and nonprofit groups, and now he wants to continue that work on the Delta board.
His goal is to help the board make the correct decisions, something he said he did for years as an engineer.
"All my life I made decisions - technical and managerial as well as financial - on major projects. Many of the projects ran into tens of millions of dollars, and some, $100 million," Khan said. "A lot of decisions need to be made for the campus and the bond money."
Before Khan commits to further satellite campuses, including in Lodi, he wants to make sure such a venture is the best way to serve the community.
"We need to look at all the data that's presented to the board and then, if it's the right thing to do, we should do it. I should keep an open mind until then, because everything I know, I've read in the newspaper," he said, adding that he has a feeling there is more information to review.
Personal statement: "I can say that I am always impressed by the quality of education as well as the environment provided by the school, the budding scholars, as well as those who want to acquire applied knowledge. … I believe learning is a lifelong process, and community colleges provide one of the best venues for the knowledge seekers. With my background I believe I can help make right decisions for the location of new campuses and future growth of the college."
Christopher D. Maricle
Occupation: Governance consultant, California School Boards Association.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Sacramento State University; Masters, St. Mary's College.
Maricle works with school boards for a living so he figured he'd apply to be on one. As a consultant for the California School Board Association, he said he knows how a school board can most efficiently serve the schools they represent.
Maricle also worked in public education for 20 years and spent time in administration. After working in public education from the two different angles of administration and behind the scenes of boards, Maricle thinks he could lend a lot of experience to Delta's board.
"I understand the administration side and also am accustomed to dealing with questions of ethics," he said. "I have a unique combination of administration, ethics and governance."
Maricle said he would love to see Delta build a satellite campus in town. He believes the board needs to try to understand why the last board made the decisions it did and then prioritize the college's needs and making decisions around that. Finances and values have to be considered and Maricle also knows the reality of make a decision and sticking with it.
"You have to know that whatever you decide, not everyone is going to be happy," he said.
Personal statement: "I am convinced that the future success of the college requires leadership that is highly effective and highly ethical. … I understand the nature of board governance and have a strong track record of helping boards improve their effectiveness. … As public figures, trustees must model the behavior they expect from every member of the system avoiding not only impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety."