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Joan Barram Elected President of Foothill-De Anza College District

Laura Casas Frier is vice president of the board of trustees.

Trustees of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District voted unanimously this week to elect Joan Barram as president and Laura Casas Frier as vice president of the Board of Trustees.

"This is an exciting and challenging time for community colleges," Barram said following her election Monday.

"There is increasing recognition of the importance of community colleges and the transitions from high school to college and the workforce."

Among her goals as president, Barram said, is "reaching out to our communities and school districts, making sure they know what's available at Foothill and De Anza and highlighting the successes our students are having in college and the workforce."

The colleges serve covers Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford, Sunnyvale and portions of San Jose. Enrollment is about 43,000.

As the board's vice president, Casas Frier said she looks forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of students. "Student completion and success are top priorities of our district," she said. "I am honored to work on behalf of our communities to ensure that we protect quality education in our district."

Board members commended outgoing president Pearl Cheng for her leadership throughout 2011. Chancellor Linda Thor thanked Cheng for exemplary service and counsel during a difficult year.

"Despite the challenges, we have accomplished many things in the past year," Thor said. She cited reaffirmation of membership in the League for Innovation in the Community College; completion of the process for reaffirmation of accreditation; identifying a permanent location for the district's education center; and maintaining financial stability in the face of significant budget cuts.

Barram made the following appointments:

  • Trustee Betsy Bechtel will continue as chair of the district's Audit & Finance Committee, which includes two board members and four public members
  • Trustee Casas Frier will join the Audit & Finance Committee
  • Trustees Bruce Swenson and Cheng will serve on the Foothill-De Anza Foundation's Board of Directors and the committee that conducts interviews for the annual Trustee Scholarships.


Barram was elected to the board in 2009 but has been associated with Foothill-De Anza for 20 years. The Los Altos resident served for nearly a decade on the Foothill-De Anza Foundation's Board of Directors raising philanthropic support for the district's students and colleges. She is a longtime member of the advisory council of the Euphrat Museum of Art at De Anza College and was a member of the "Yes on Measure C" Campaign Committee, which supported passage of the district's 2006 bond measure.

Barram's record of public service includes the Cupertino Union School District Board of Education, on which she served three terms; the boards of EdSource and the California School Boards Association; and the program committee of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Barram holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Wheaton College.

Casas Frier has served on the Board of Trustees since 2005. She holds a law degree from Santa Clara University and a bachelor's degree in political science from California State University, Northridge.

In addition to her work with the district, Casas Frier was elected earlier this year by trustees across the state to serve on the Community College League of California's Trustee Board. Previously she chaired the League's Advisory Committee on Legislation.

Locally, Casas Frier serves on the boards of Children Now, a national organization that makes children a public policy priority, and ALearn, a grassroots organization dedicated to under-represented students' success in college. For the past decade she has mentored students through Puente, an academic preparation program focused on college success. Her past activities include service on the Foothill-De Anza Foundation's Board of Directors; Santa Clara County's 6th District PTA; and the Santa Clara County League of Women Voters' Education Committee. She, also, is a Los Altos resident.

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