ELA Advisory Board

Alex Gonzalez, Ph.D.

President and Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento – Sacramento, California; President Emeritus, California State University, San Marcos –San Marcos, California

In 2012, the Mexican government recognized Alex Gonzalez with the Ohtli Award, its highest honor for leaders of Mexican descent. It recognized his efforts to pave the way for and improve the well-being of new generations of Mexicans in California.

George Blumenthal

Director, Center for Studies in Higher Education

George R. Blumenthal is formerly UC Santa Cruz's 10th chancellor. He joined the campus in 1972 as a faculty member in astronomy and astrophysics and was named chancellor on September 19, 2007, after serving as acting chancellor for 14 months.

Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, Ph.D.

President Emerita, Antioch University – Seattle, Washington; Former President, Diné College – Tsaile, Arizona

Chosen as president of Antioch University Seattle, Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet became the first Native American woman to ascend to the presidency of an accredited university outside the tribal colleges.  Prior to her presidency in Seattle from 2007 to 2013, Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet served as the first woman president of Diné College, a tribal college with 8 campuses located on the Navajo reservation situated in Arizona and New Mexico.  

Ding-Jo Currie, Ph.D.

Distinguished Faculty, Higher Education Leadership California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California; Former Chancellor, Coast Community College District – Costa Mesa, California

Dr. Ding-Jo H. Currie’s career includes 30-plus years in the California Community College system with eight additional years in the California State University system.  Ding-Jo retired in 2011 from Coast Community College District where she served as Chancellor. She also served as President of Coastline Community College prior to her Chancellor role.  Currently, Ding-Jo is serving as Distinguished Faculty at CSU Fullerton and devotes herself in full-time leadership development work.

Dorothy Leland, Ph.D.

Chancellor, University of California, Merced – Merced, California; Former President, Georgia College and State University – Milledgeville, Georgia

Dorothy J. Leland was appointed the third chancellor of the University of California, Merced on May 18, 2011. An accomplished institution builder, Leland is playing a significant role in providing educational and economic opportunity to one of the fastest-growing regions of the state as she leads the next major phase of development for the newest University of California campus.

Elñora Webb, Ph.D.

CEO/Principal, Signature Solutions Corporate Results Executive Coach & Strategic Planner Former Executive Vice Chancellor of Strategic Planning, Partnership and Advancement, Peralta Community College District – Oakland, California

Elñora Tena Webb is an Executive Coach and strategic planner, leading a leadership firm, Signature Solutions Corporate Results. Previously, she served as an higher education executive, working with teams of faculty and staff to secure over $50 million in grants and gifts integral to building the enrollment and student success capacity of institutions.

Horace Mitchell, Ph.D.

President Emeritus, California State University, Bakersfield - Bakersfield, California; Vice Chancellor- Business Affairs Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, California

Dr. Horace Mitchell became the fourth President of California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) in July 2004 after thirty-six years of experience in higher education. Under Dr. Mitchell’s leadership, the   university achieved national recognition for its efforts to extend the excellence and diversity of the faculty and academic programs, enhance the quality of the student experience and strengthen community engagement.

Johnnella E. Butler, Ph.D.

Professor, Comparitive Women's Studies, Spelman College - Atlanta, Georgia; Former Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Spelman College; Founding Executive Leadership Academy Alumni

Johnnella E. Butler, Professor Comparative Women’s Studies, Spelman College, served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Spelman from 2005-2014. Prior to Spelman, Dr. Butler held appointments at the University of Washington, Seattle as Professor of American Ethnic Studies with appointments in English and Women’s Studies, and Associate Dean and Associate Vice Provost of the Graduate School. At the UW, she prepared 25 Ph.D. students in African American and American Ethnic literary studies. Prior to the UW, Dr.

Joseph Castro, Ph.D.

President, California State University, Fresno – Fresno, California; Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs, University of California, San Francisco – San Francisco, California

Joseph I. Castro has served as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno since 2013. He is the first Californian and first Valley native to serve in this position. In 2017, Fresno State was ranked Number 17 in the nation by Washington Monthly and recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s leading public universities for graduation rate performance. Dr. Castro is a Professor of Educational Leadership in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.

Karen Biestman, J.D.

Associate Dean and Director, Native American Cultural Center, Stanford University – Stanford, California

Karen Biestman is the Associate Dean and Director of Stanford’s Native American Cultural Center, with teaching appointments at both Berkeley and Stanford Law Schools, and Stanford’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity. Previously, she taught at Berkeley in Native American or American Studies since 1983, and held Student Affairs appointments on both campuses, with a year hiatus to serve as Director of Indian Education for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, in San Francisco.