The Southwestern College Governing Board voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint educators Don Dumas and Kirin Macapugay to the vacant Governing Board positions.
Dumas, a U.S. History teacher at Bonita Vista High School, and Macapugay, a social work/human services professor at San Diego City College, had been among the seven finalists interviewed at length Tuesday night. A total of 25 community members applied for the board seats vacated when former Trustees Nora Vargas and Tim Nader won other elected positions.
“We are honored to welcome these incredible student-centered leaders to our governing board,” said Board President Leticia Cazares. “We look forward to continuing the important work of creating a culture of belonging where every student and employee has what they need to succeed and thrive.”
The governing board sets policy and direction for the community college district, which serves approximately 25,000 students each semester. Dumas and Macapugay come onto the board during a pivotal transitional period. Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo is retiring next month and new Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez joins the college Feb. 22.
Like other institutions of higher education, Southwestern College has been working to meet the unique needs of students greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Buoyed by local, state and federal funding, Southwestern College has distributed nearly $4.5 million in direct emergency grants to students, has hired a full-time basic needs coordinator to case manage students with economic, food and housing insecurity and provided technology and free wifi for students to continue their education.
As educators, Dumas and Macapugay have also seen the challenges their students are facing.
Dumas says he sees himself in every young student in the community and has a special affinity for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those determined to be a first-generation college graduate, like him.
He is the co-chair of Bonita Vista High Schools Culture and Climate Committee and sees the efforts Southwestern College has made to create a sense of belonging for all students, employees and community members. He is the advisor of the high school’s Black Student Union (BSU) and serves on a Sweetwater District committee to establish BSUs at all 24 district middle and high schools.
“I am very excited to be a part of the Jaguar family,” Dumas said. “I look forward to bringing a new perspective to the board, and continuing the transformative work already under way at Southwestern College.”
As a professor at a local community college with similar student demographics, Macapugay says she is an organizational administrator, program developer, community organizer and advocate. She believes in eliminating barriers to education and opportunities for students as the way she exercises social justice in her classroom.
A graduate of Southwestern College, Macapugay believes in the process of achieving healthy consensus as a board member. She believes in listening and critical dialogue to understand each person’s concern and how that can be translated into action.
“Southwestern College provided me with a quality education and experiences that prepared me for university, the two-plus decades I spent working in education, human services and civic engagement, eventually becoming a tenured community college professor myself,” Macapugay said. “I am humbled and honored to return to Southwestern College as a trustee to serve our students and communities.”