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Trustees Appoint Joan Barram to Governing Board Seat

Joan C. Barram has joined the Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees after being appointed by the board to fill a vacancy.

She will complete the term vacated by former trustee Hal Plotkin, who resigned to work in Washington, D.C. as an advisor to U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, the district's former chancellor. Barram's term expires at the end of 2011.

"All of the applicants were enormously impressive, but Joan's 20 years of experience with the district counts for a lot,'' said board President Betsy Bechtel. "She understands the role of a trustee and the importance of participatory governance to the success of our district."

Trustees unanimously selected Barram from among four finalists. After the vote, Interim Chancellor Mike Brandy administered the oath of office and Barram was seated for the board's regular meeting.

"Joan's combination of public sector leadership skills, service to the Foothill-De Anza Foundation and extensive community service have provided her with an excellent skill set to assume the trustee's position,'' Brandy said.

Barram said she sought the position "because I am so impressed by the quality ofFoothill- De Anza." While reduced state funding has compounded the district's challenges, she said, "I am convinced that everyone involved won't let lack of money cut into our commitment to excellence and opportunity for everyone. I will do my best to be part of the way forward.""This is a watershed time,'' she added. "Because community colleges are local, student-centered, low-cost and high-access, they are perfectly positioned to be a key driver in the national economic recovery.''

Barram, a Los Altos resident, served for nearly a decade on the board of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation, which raises philanthropic support for the district's students and the colleges. She was president of the foundation board from 2005-2007 and earlier this year was named by trustees as one of two community representatives on the chancellor search committee. She has served for many years on the advisory council of the Euphrat Museum of Art at De Anza College, including a term as president, and was a member of the "Yes on Measure C" Campaign Committee, which worked for passage of the district's successful bond measure in 2006.

Her record of public service also includes more than a decade on the Cupertino Union School District Board of Education; seats on the boards of EdSource and the California School Boards Association; co-chair of Women of Silicon Valley; and membership on the program committee of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Among the issues Barram will address as a Foothill-De Anza trustee are hiring a new chancellor, decisions about developing academic facilities at the NASA Research Park, and ensuring access to high-quality academic programs and student support services during a period of sharply reduced state support.

At the board meeting Monday, trustees heard about high demand for classes at the colleges, attributed to a combination of students being turned away from the University of California and the California State University, strong demand for workforce training and high school graduates seeking preparation for university transfer. With the start of the fall quarter still three weeks away, there already are waiting lists for many classes at De Anza, and enrollment at Foothill College as of last week was up about 20 percent from the same time last year.

The Foothill-De Anza Community College District serves more than 45,000 students a year at two campuses, Foothill College in Los Altos Hills and De Anza College in Cupertino.


Posted Sept. 1, 2009