Board Member Profiles

Board Member Profiles

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CasasFrier: Laura Casas FrierCasas was elected to the Board of Trustees without opposition in 2007 after being appointed to the board in 2005, and was re-elected in 2012. She holds a law degree from Santa Clara University, and a bachelor's degree in political science from California State University, Northridge. Active at the state and local levels, Casas was elected by her peers in 2011 to the statewide Trustees Board of the Community College League of California, and is past chair of the League's Advisory Committee on Legislation. She is a graduate of the HOPE Leadership Institute operated by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, and serves on the boards of Children Now, a national organization that makes children a public policy priority, and ALearn, a grassroots organization dedicated to underrepresented students' success in college. For the past decade she's mentored students through Puente, an academic preparation program focused on college success. Her past activities include the Foothill-De Anza Foundation Board of Directors, Santa Clara County's 6th District PTA, and the Santa Clara County League of Women Voters' Education Committee. She co-founded a transitional home for domestic violence victims in Los Angeles and has worked as a claims representative for an international commercial liability carrier. Her term expires in 2020. Contact Casas at or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100. 

PEARL CHENG, Vice President

Cheng: Pearl ChengCheng was appointed in 2008 to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees and was elected without opposition in 2009 and re-elected in 2014. Cheng is a resident of Cupertino who served for eight years on the Cupertino Union School District Board of Education and held leadership positions with the the Santa Clara County School Boards Association. She has served on the De Anza Commission, an auxiliary of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation that represents De Anza College in the community. She worked for many years at the NASA Ames Research Center, most recently as associate director for management operations in information sciences and technology. Following her high-tech experience, she worked for a decade in non-profits serving as the education manager at United Way Silicon Valley developing literacy, intervention and parent education programs in east San Jose. In March 2016, she was an invited participant at the College Promise Initiative planning meeting at the White House. She holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor's in engineering from the University of Iowa. Her term expires in 2018. Contact Cheng at or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100. 


Peter Landsberger photoLandsberger was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2016. He has lived in Los Altos since 1978, the year he was named the Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s first general counsel. He subsequently served as district vice chancellor before becoming an instructor and then dean of business and computer science at De Anza College. Now retired, his 30-year career in community colleges includes service as president of the College of San Mateo, senior vice chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, and interim chancellor of the Los Angeles district. He acted as special trustee of the Compton Community College District for four years after Compton College lost its accreditation, appointed by the chancellor of the California Community Colleges. He has served on the board of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation and continues as a longtime board member of UNITE–LA, a nonprofit affiliate of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce that promotes collaborations for developing highly effective schools, promoting business-education partnerships, and expanding college access for underserved youth. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce has begun a similar initiative, Strive San Jose, and Landsberger serves on the board of the chamber foundation. He holds a doctor of law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley, and an associate degree in political science from Santa Monica College. His term expires in 2020. He can be contacted at or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100.


Swenson: Bruce SwensonSwenson was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2005 and re-elected in 2009 and 2014. A math instructor at Foothill College for more than two decades, he subsequently served as dean of the Physical Science, Math and Engineering Division, retiring as vice president of instruction and educational resources. Since his retirement in 1999, he has been a member of the Foothill Commission, one of the two college-specific auxiliary organizations of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation. Swenson earned a doctorate in education from the University of California, Berkeley, a master's degree in math from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor's degree in math from Stanford University. His term expires in 2018. He can be contacted at (650) 326-4288 or


Gilbert Wong photoWong was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2016. He served for nine years on the Cupertino City Council, twice holding the positions of mayor and vice mayor.  After earning an associate degree at West Valley College and a bachelor’s degree at San Jose State University, he began working in his family real estate investment and property management business. He served for three years as a volunteer on the De Anza Commission, an auxiliary of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation that represents De Anza College in the community.  His extensive community experience includes leadership positions in the Rotary Club of Cupertino, Cupertino Chamber of Commence, Cupertino Educational Endowment Foundation, Asian American Parent Association, Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute, and the Organization of Chinese Americans Silicon Valley chapter. He completed the certificate program for senior executives in state and local government offered by the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. His term expires in 2020. Contact Wong at or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100.


Elias Kamal, De Anza College

Kamal is the De Anza College student trustee for 2017-2018. He is a third year student studying political science and environmental sustainability. Kamal has received the Certificate in Leadership and Social Change and is passionate about education policy, environmental issues, and socioeconomic justice. On campus he is employed by the Vasconcellos Institute of Democracy in Action where he is involved in political activism and community organizing. Kamal is also active in the Afghan-American community in his hometown of Fremont. As a second-term student trustee, he is dedicated to working with staff and students to close the achievement gap, provide more accessible campus resources, and to create a more equitable learning environment. Contact Elias Kamal at


Chinwe Idika, Foothill College

Idika is the Foothill College student trustee for 2017-2018. Born as the only U.S. citizen of a Nigerian immigrant family, she has grown up understanding the necessity of equity in education and work, regardless of one’s immigration status or cultural background, and aims to continue her steadfast support of sanctuary campuses and services for undocumented students and refugees on the Board. Starting at Foothill in Fall of 2016, Idika has previously served as the Associated Students of Foothill College Student Rights Officer, as well as the Interclub Council Representative of Black Student Union. When she is not on campus, Idika works part-time and is also a research assistant at Stanford University. Idika is majoring in psychology and aims to transfer to a four-year university, where she will continue to pursue career interests in neuropsychology, biomedical research, and mental health public policy. Contact Chinwe Idika at