Our 2020 Board of Trustee Candidates

By Colton Webster

Collaborator to The Guardsman


With four seats available, on the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot, San Francisco voters will have an opportunity to elect members of CCSF Board of Trustees. The Guardsman reached out

to each of the candidates running for comments.


Here are the responses of candidates for the City College Board of Trustees:

Photo not available at press time.

Aliya Chisti


Bio: I was born and raised in San Francisco and learned early-on the transformative nature of education. I have over a decade of experience as an educator, working in schools, or on policies that impact schools. While pursuing my MA in Education Policy, I served as a student senator and developed a pro-diversity admissions policy. My thesis paper also focused on the burden of student debt. As a Fulbright Scholar in North Macedonia, I served as an ESL teacher and also drafted a policy paper analyzing the failure of top-down approaches in advancing higher education reform. Currently, I oversee the Free City College Program at the Department of Children Youth and Their Families and led the successful execution of the ten-year MOU for the Free City Program.


Why they want to be a Trustee: I am running for the CCSF Board of Trustees to ensure our college continues to provide increased opportunities for our community, particularly for historically underrepresented student populations. If elected, my first goal will be to have a permanent emergency grant program because we need to take greater steps towards addressing total cost of attendance for students. Research indicates that emergency grant programs can help students remain enrolled in college and during this difficult time, we need to do more to address basic needs for students.


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: If elected, my first goal will be to have a permanent emergency grant program because we need to take greater steps towards addressing total cost of attendance, particularly for our low-income and students of color. Research indicates that emergency grant programs can help students remain enrolled in college and during this especially difficult time, this emergency grant program can support our students in achieving their academic dreams. 


City College trustee candidate Marie Hurabiell. Photo courtesy of Marie Hurabiell.


Marie Hurabiell


Bio: Marie Hurabiell has 22 years of service on academic, community and cultural boards, including Georgetown University and The Presidio Trust, she’s an attorney, small business owner, entrepreneur and a loving mom. Marie received her BA from Georgetown and JD from University of Pennsylvania.  She is the only candidate to have declined all consideration of endorsement by CCSF stakeholders in order to maintain complete independence should she be elected.


Why they want to be a Trustee: I care deeply about education and was heartbroken to discover that CCSF is on the verge of financial collapse. As an 8th generation San Franciscan, I knew I had to do something to turn things around. CCSF is a vital educational institution and economic engine in our community, serving a rich cross-section of students who depend on a financially accessible community college.  My experience as a Georgetown Regent, and as a Trustee of numerous non-profit and corporate Boards, provides me with a valuable perspective as well as an understanding of the massive complexity of running an institution of higher education.


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: Balancing the budget and placing CCSF on solid financial footing will help ensure its future stability. This is, by far, the most important task for the board over the next two years. In addition: 1. Hire a permanent Chancellor.  CCSF has been without a permanent Chancellor for too long, limiting its ability to engage in long term planning and getting CCSF back on solid footing, and 2. Open communication between Board and Students and Teachers and build a culture of trust 

Photo not available at press time.

Anita Martinez


Bio: My name is Anita Martinez. My family roots are in New Mexico where my father was adopted as a young baby by a Hispanic family but never forgot his indigenous roots (Comanche and Navajo); he taught us to be proud of them. We were poor in money but rich in love. I grew up in Nebraska in a two-room house without indoor plumbing until we moved to California gaining access to a free (at that time) community college education, and plumbing. I transferred to SF State and was immersed in discussions about systemic racism; I walked the picket lines during the 1968/9 Student Strike that resulted in the founding of the School of Ethnic Studies. it also resulted in my forty-year higher education career devoted to improving access and success in higher education, especially for Black and Brown students, and a commitment to social justice. I worked at City College for 28 years, as an ESL teacher, Dean of Students, and Vice Chancellor of instruction. As an instructor, I helped win representation rights for AFT 2121 and was elected its president for three terms. I was also Academic Senate president and elected an officer in the statewide Academic Senate. 


Why they want to be a Trustee: I want to share my working knowledge and experience of both community college governance and of City College to inform Board decisions. 


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: My first priority goal is long-term budget reform to balance the budget after three years of overspending under the last chancellor’s administration and a large deficit while seeking to minimize cuts to instruction because CCSF’s future depends on both.


City College trustee candidate Victor Olivieri. Photo courtesy of Victor Olivieri.

Dr. Victor Olivieri


Bio: I’m an immigrant and first-generation college graduate who struggled through the public school system and ESL classes, and went on to become an EMT through my community college. Since then, I have become a decorated US Army Officer, earned a PhD in political science, served as a senior university administrator, and directed workforce development. I will always be a teacher at heart – I’m currently a professor of political science.


Why they want to be a Trustee: The current Board of Trustees has failed our community with year-after-year of poor fiscal management, the politization of the Board, and the privatization of our college. I know how to solve the problems we are facing because that’s what I have done, professionally, for nearly 20 years. I also understand what our students are going through, because I was one of them.


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: My first priority in implementing my 10-point fiscal plan is to enact the sale and leaseback of one of our centers to bring in between $50-$100M while still maintaining full teaching capacity at the center for up to 99 years. This is the only plausible way that City College can avoid the massive class and faculty cuts that will be enacted by the current Board. After that, the focus should be the efficient and equitable delivery of curriculum for our students across the city.


City College trustee candidate Jeanette Quick. Photo courtesy of Jeanette Quick.

Jeanette Quick


Bio: I am — first and foremost — a CCSF student and I am passionate about making sure the College stays viable and affordable for all. I have the experience and background to turn the College around: I have 15 years experience in public policy and financial services as senior counsel to two United States Senators and as a tech attorney. I believe that my skills negotiating among diverse stakeholders and ensuring sound financial management are critical to addressing CCSF’s many issues. I am a lifelong learner, and am passionate about ensuring that quality education is free and accessible to all.


Why they want to be a Trustee: The fact that CCSF is again on the brink of failure and at risk of losing its accreditation is shameful. CCSF leadership needs a complete overhaul to ensure the college survives the pandemic. Whether in English or Vietnamese, my parents gave me the same message: education is key to success.  As lead advisor on student loans and consumer protection in the Senate — and after my own loans from law school — I know how difficult it is to get that education. I have worked at the state and federal levels protecting consumers from financial predators. And I will do the same for CCSF.


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: A top to bottom review of the budget on both the revenue and expenditure side to develop a plan to get City College back on track — including reviewing consultant, marketing, and attorney expenses and existing contractual obligations.

Photo not available at press time.

Geramye Teeter


Bio: Geramye Teeter is an energy efficiency project manager, community organizer, environmental activist, and an active member in the Bayview neighborhood.


Why they want to be a Trustee: Teeter is seeking a CCSF Board seat because “now, more than ever, City College leaders must be laser-focused on providing transparency on Board matters, accountability, and maintaining access to CCSF for students that are displaced by COVID-19”. With ‘Students First’ as his guiding principle, he will appoint a community-oriented Chancellor with an economic vision that achieves financial stability, sustains accreditation, and enhances Academic and Workforce Development. He affirms resolving the budget deficit requires engaging our elected leaders and the future Chancellor to prioritize education by allocating equal funding.


Another one of his priorities embraces the Prop A fund San Francisco voters approved for CCSF infrastructure improvements. He will put the Green New Deal into action. He is developing a Carbon Neutrality plan with the goal of achieving net zero emissions for all campus operations by 2030. According to Teeter, financial, educational, and environmental sustainability are intertwined.


His passion is “borne out of my own life experience. Having grown up in marginalized communities, my opportunities were limited so I pursued college to create a successful path forward.” As a Black man who’s been counted out before, he believes education is a human right. To Teeter, advancing Free City allows our most vulnerable students a chance to make a difference in their lives.


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: No response provided 


City College trustee candidate Tom Temprano. Photo courtesy of Tom Temprano.


Tom Temprano


Bio: Tom Temprano is the Vice-President of the City College Board of Trustees, a legislative aide to San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, a small business owner and a former president of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club.


Why they are seeking reelection as a Trustee: During my time on the Board we have had a number of successes including securing full funding for the Free City program for the next decade, negotiating contracts that raised faculty and classified staff salaries, having our accreditation reaffirmed for 7 years, passing an $845 million bond and crafting the Workforce Education and Recovery Fund to provide stable funding to retain important classes for the College and the community. Despite these successes, City College still faces many challenges that have been made worse by the pandemic. I have experience fighting for City College at the local and State level and want to continue that fight over these next four critical years.


Priority goals if reelected: My top priority if re-elected will be to fight for additional funding to offset the cuts we’ve received from the State. I have been working with College stakeholders to create the Workforce Education and Recovery Fund to provide stable funding to City College and want to make sure it is passed.  Over the last year I worked with students and staff to create the College’s Gender Inclusion Policy to protect trans and gender non-conforming people on campus and, as a gay man, I want to be sure I’m here to see it fully enacted so that we can put an end to the harassment of queer people at City College.


City College trustee candidate Alan Wong. Photo courtesy of Alan Wong.


Alan Wong


Bio: No response provided 


Why they want to be a Trustee: I am running to ensure that working and immigrant families have access to the opportunity and hope CCSF provides. I was born and raised in San Francisco and my entire family attended City College.


After my father immigrated to San Francisco, he was laid off. While my father attended City College to learn English, he also enrolled in the College’s culinary program, which allowed him to become a Local 2 union hotel cook and sole provider for my family for two decades. 


My mother attended ESL classes that helped her talk to family members, integrate, become more self-confident, and social. The City College classes I took as a teenager with a low-income tuition waiver helped me graduate from UC San Diego when I was 19-years-old. 


In my current work as Education Policy Advisor for Supervisor Mar, I was a leader in writing and advancing the ‘Free City College’ legislation at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to secure a decade of Free City College and create a City College Sunset campus. 


Today, my father is laid off again, like many other hotel workers. City College is an institution that can be a lynchpin in the economic recovery of our City and I am running to ensure that we have a College that can provide opportunities for families like my own.


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: Job training and economic recovery is the top issue for me. When COVID-19 hit San Francisco in March, my dad was laid off from his job as a hotel cook along with thousands of service sector employees in San Francisco. City College now has a special role to play to ensure that San Franciscans can get job training, find employment, and recover economically. 


That’s why as Education Policy Advisor to Supervisor Gordon Mar, I spent a year writing the City College Workforce Education and Recovery Fund legislation to ensure that we provide opportunities for our working families. WERF will have 50% of funding support workforce development, 25% fund student support services, and 25% fund social justice studies and lifelong enrichment programs.  The first year of the program, which is funded with over $500,000, will function as a pilot program and potentially lead to even more funding in the future for City College. As Trustee, I will ensure that the college provides an array of programs for the people most impacted by COVID-19. I will partner with employers, labor unions, and workforce nonprofits to improve student employment outcomes.


City College trustee candidate Han Zou. Photo courtesy of Han Zou.


Han Zou


Bio: I was born in Lanzhou, Gansu, China and immigrated to the United States when I was 6 years old. I grew up in Connecticut with my parents and two grandparents, and went through the public school system. I studied at McGill University in Montreal, Canada where and graduated with a degree in Political Science. 


After graduating, I moved to San Francisco to work at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus where I worked to bring services to advocates. I then worked as Field Director on San Francisco’s District 6 Supervisor, Matt Haney’s 2018 campaign. We were the first campaign to ever win every precinct in the District. Following the campaign, I became the first Chinese-American and the youngest ever Executive Director of the San Francisco Democratic Party. I now work in City Hall for Supervisor Haney who represents the Tenderloin, SOMA, Rincon Hill, South Beach, Mission Bay, and Treasure Island. 


I’ve dedicated my career to serving API communities. I’m running for a seat on the SF City College Board to bring my experience and background to make sure that post-pandemic, the immigrant and minority families who’ve been most affected by the shut down, can use City College as an opportunity to change careers and learn new skills in the new economy.


Why they want to be a Trustee: I understand the transformative power of education on people’s lives and believe access to education, especially free education is even more important now. My family would not be where we are today without it. She grew up poor in central China and was the first person in her family to go to college, where she studied Public Health. She applied to the PhD program at Yale on a whim and was accepted and that is how I ended up in the United States. I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to working with Chinese children and families and working to bridge the gap between Black, Brown, and API communities. At the Asian Law Caucus I worked to bring services to undocumented children, students and families as well as to incarcerated immigrants. As the Executive Director of the Democratic Party I worked to bring the Chinese, Latino and Black communities into the Democratic Party and staffed the Committee to Develop the Black Agenda. As a legislative Aide for Supervisor Haney’s District 6 office I’ve been focused on bridging the gap between Chinese children and families and city services. I can tell you as someone who has spent their life organizing Chinese families that City College is hugely important to our community and to all immigrant and working-class families. 


First Priority Goal as a Trustee: Increasing enrollment. We can’t have a school if we don’t have students – CCSF enrollment has dropped dramatically from and with the new funding formula from the state, there is an even greater need to increase enrollment and keep students on track in the classroom. This means CCSF needs to do more to support our immigrants and minority  students outside the classroom with greater wrap-around services, students and teacher housing, and a more diverse staff that represents a student population that’s over 30% API, and nearly 30% Latino. I would like to work with more community based organisations to reach out to our potential students where they’re at. This includes increasing language access, connecting to communities via services like We Chat and ensuring that our focus does not just remain on credit classes because CCSF is more than just a place for learning, it’s a community hub.

I would also like to see CCSF improve its efforts to increase dual enrollment with San Francisco-area high schools. This program allows students to enroll in City College courses while they are still in high school and remains an important resource for students from low income and communities of color. An increase in online course offerings should also help boost enrollment but we need to make sure access to wifi hotspots and devices are available, as well as better language support for low English-proficient students to be able to sign up in the first place. 

The Guardsman