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Board Member Profiles

Board Member Profiles

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PATRICK J. AHRENS, Vice President

Patrick Ahrens headshot Ahrens was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2018. He is a Cupertino resident and Silicon Valley native who has advocated to expand access and affordability for community college students as an education policy advisor and district director for Assembly member Evan Low in California Assembly District 28. An active community volunteer, he served on the board of directors of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation prior to his election. Ahrens became deeply interested in higher education policy as a student at De Anza College when he was elected to serve as student trustee on the Foothill-De Anza Community College District's governing board. He holds an associate degree from De Anza College, a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is currently a candidate for a master of public administration degree from San Jose State University. After graduating from UCLA, he worked in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn of California. His term on the board expires in 2022. Contact Ahrens at ahrenspatrick@fhda.edu or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100.


LAURA CASAS

CasasFrier: Laura Casas Frier Casas 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, 2016, and 2020. 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 2024. Contact Casas at casaslaura@fhda.edu or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100. 

PEARL CHENG

Cheng: Pearl Cheng Cheng 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 2022. Contact Cheng at chengpearl@fhda.edu or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100. 

PETER LANDSBERGER, President

Peter Landsberger photo Landsberger was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2016 and re-elected in 2020. 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. The chancellor of the California Community Colleges later appointed him special trustee of the Compton Community College District after Compton College lost its accreditation, a position he held for four years. He serves on the boards of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation, the Community School of Music & Arts in Mountain View, and UNITE–LA, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that leads collaborations aimed at developing highly effective schools, promotes business-education partnerships, and expands college access and workforce development opportunities for under-served youth. 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 2024. He can be contacted at landsbergerpeter@fhda.edu or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100.

GILBERT WONG

Gilbert Wong photo Wong was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2016 and re-elected in 2020. 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 2024. Contact Wong at wonggilbert@fhda.edu or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100.

 
STUDENT TRUSTEES

Michelle Fernandez, De Anza College

Student trustee Michelle Fernandez photoFernandez was elected student trustee at De Anza College for the 2021-2022 academic school year. It is her first year at De Anza, and she is currently majoring in business. Fernandez is an intern for the De Anza Student Government Legislative Affairs Committee, a new member of the Fund Students First Campaign (FSFC), a volunteer for Higher Education for AB 540 Students (HEFAS), and a volunteer at Operation HOPE, an organization that teaches financial literacy to students in underprivileged communities. As a student who faced economic hardships growing up, Fernandez aims to voice student concerns diligently and on a personal level. As a first generation Latinx college student, concerns of equity, affordable housing and accessibility for students influenced her experience and her decision to run for the position. As De Anza’s student trustee, Fernandez will work to ensure that the student experience at De Anza is understood and being heard. Contact Fernandez at fernandezortegamichelle@fhda.edu or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100.

Rachel Homayonfar, Foothill College

Student trustee Rachel Homayonfar photoHomayonfar is Foothill College’s elected student representative to the Board of Trustees for 2021-22. She is a second-year student majoring in Political Science with a focus on International Relations. At Foothill, Homayonfar is involved in both the Associated Students of Foothill College (ASFC) and the Honors Institute, currently serving as the co-president for the Honors Scholars Club. Outside of Foothill, she tutors and is a team member working on a project in the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) at Stanford. Homayonfar is passionate about social justice, and in her role as student trustee, aims to address and advocate for basic student needs which includes housing and food insecurity, mental health services, and campus safety. As student trustee, Homayonfar will advocate for student needs on a district level and work with the board to create new visions of success for Foothill. Contact Homayonfar at asfc.rachelh@gmail.com or through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100.