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Foundation News

Foundation announces new directors

Isabel Barreras, Dan Noell and James Sargen bring expertise in higher education and philanthropy to board

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—January 11, 2012—The Foundation for California Community Colleges has announced the appointment of three new members to its board of directors. Isabel Barreras, a member of the Board of Trustees of the State Center Community Colleges District; Dan Noell, Executive Director at AT&T and former Chairman of the Board of the Los Rios Community College District Foundation; and James Sargen, a longtime supporter of community colleges and former member of the Foundation’s board, were each appointed to a six-year term on the board after receiving approval from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors earlier this week.

“For over 13 years, the Foundation for California Community Colleges has provided programs and services that benefit and support our state’s community colleges. As we continue in that important work, we benefit from the strong guidance of a board that understands the critical role that community colleges play on our economy and in our society. We are thrilled to welcome these new board members, each of whom brings a long-standing dedication to community colleges and education, and a passion for the role our organization plays in helping colleges achieve their missions,” said the Foundation’s Interim President and CEO, Keetha Mills.

As the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation oversees a number of efforts that benefit California’s 112 community colleges. Activities include supporting colleges and districts in a number of areas and initiatives, managing grants and contracts on behalf of the system, and overseeing the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment, which provides permanent scholarship support to thousands of community college students each year.

Each of the Foundation’s new directors brings to the board significant experience in the education, philanthropic and finance arenas. They join existing board members Janice Dehesh (chair), Patricia Sullivan, Mario Camara and Gary Reed.

About the Board Members

Isabel Barreras
Isabel Barreras, who previously served on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, has served in many capacities for community college and other educational organizations. Her leadership positions have included membership on the Board of Trustees for the State Center Community College District, Executive Director of the Madera Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and first Vice President of the California Community College Trustee Association. In addition, Ms. Barreras was the 2006 Board President of the State Center Community College District Board of Trustees, Past President of the California Association of Latino Community College Trustees and a member of the Diversity Committee of the Association of Community College Trustees. Ms. Barreras received her M.P.A. from National University in San Diego, and her B.A. from California State University (CSU) Fresno.

Dan Noell
Dan Noell, an Executive Director at AT&T, is a community college alumnus who attended both Golden West College and Orange Coast Community College. Mr. Noell has long served community colleges in various capacities, including serving as Chairman of the Board of the Los Rios Community College District Foundation, where he helped to develop the Annual Giving Program that resulted in an increase in donations to the Annual Fund of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In November 2011, he received the honor of Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He currently serves on the Board of Governors of CSU Chico and the Board of Directors of Sierra College in Rocklin. Mr. Noell received his B.S. in Marketing and Business Administration from CSU Chico.

James Sargen
James Sargen, President and CEO of TriActive America, Inc., has rejoined the Foundation’s board of directors after a brief hiatus. For eight years beginning in 2002, Mr. Sargen served in many capacities on the Foundation board, including Chairman, Chair of the Audit Committee and Chair of the Finance Committee. In these roles, he was instrumental in guiding the Foundation to its status as an innovator and leader in increasing resources, efficiency and effectiveness for the California Community Colleges.  He also previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cuesta Community College Foundation and the President's Cabinet at California Polytechnic State University, and was awarded the Network of California Community College Foundations’ “Philanthropist of the Year” in 2001. Mr. Sargen attended the College of San Mateo and City College of San Francisco and earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in urban studies at San Francisco State University.

Read more about the Foundation's leadership team and service areas.  


The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community College system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works with Community Colleges and partner organizations to manage donations, grants, programs, and services that drive excellence in education while saving millions of dollars for colleges each year.  The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation and receives no direct state or public support.

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