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PRESS RELEASE November 14, 2016

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California Community Colleges Board of Governors Elects Officers for 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Community Colleges Board of Governors today elected Cecilia V. Estolano to serve as president and Thomas Epstein to serve as vice president for 2017. The board, appointed by the governor, nominates and elects its president and vice president each November.

“I couldn’t be happier or more honored to be elected as board president by my colleagues,” said Estolano, who served previously as board vice president. “This is a very exciting time for our system, as we prepare to welcome a new chancellor. I’m very much looking forward to working with the board, in partnership with the governor and the Legislature, to help our 2.1 million students to accomplish their educational goals.”

More on the two officers:

Cecilia V. Estolano of Pasadena, was appointed to serve on the board in 2014. She is co-founder of Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors, which provides consulting services to public agencies, foundations, business associations and other stakeholders looking to grow vibrant communities. Estolano previously served as chief executive officer of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA). Prior to joining CRA/LA, Estolano was of counsel at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher. Her career also includes service on the California Coastal Commission.

Estolano is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and holds a master’s in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her bachelor’s degree in social studies with honors from Harvard- Radcliffe Colleges.

Thomas Epstein is vice president of public affairs at Blue Shield of California, a statewide not-for-profit health plan based in San Francisco. Prior to joining Blue Shield, he was vice president of communications for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and served in the Clinton White House as a special assistant to the president for political affairs. Before moving to Washington, Epstein was deputy commissioner for consumer protection and communications in the California Department of Insurance. He earned a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a senior fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He is a member of the California Bar and serves on the board of trustees of the Coalition for Clean Air, Enroll America and the Blue Shield of California Foundation.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 113 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit,, or