Three Southwestern College Governing Board Members Sworn In

collage of 3 governing board members taking oath of office
Governing Board members taking oath of office: (L – R) Don Dumas, Corina Soto, Robert Moreno.

New Governing Board members Robert Moreno and Corina Soto joined returning Board Member Don Dumas in a swearing-in ceremony last night.

In the first trustee area election for the college, each board member now lives within the community they represent. Moreno represents area 1 which includes National City and northern parts of Chula Vista. Soto represents area 4 which includes large portions of Chula Vista east of Interstate 805 and south into Otay Mesa and to the eastern portion of the district. Dumas represents area 5 which includes the northeastern portion of Chula Vista, including the area west of the Otay Lakes.

Each expressed appreciation for the opportunity to serve on the Southwestern College Governing Board.

“I am so thankful and happy to be elected by the South County community,” Soto said. “I hope I am able to do an honorable and honest job.”

Moreno was as gracious.

“I want to thank the voters of National City for trusting me and placing me here,” Moreno said. “I want to do great things.”

Dumas begins serving his first full term and expressed gratitude to his outgoing governing board members Leticia Cazares and Kirin Macapugay for giving him the confidence to continue.

“I am grateful that you all showed me it was okay to tell my story and advocate for my community,” Dumas said.

Moreno, who works for the Better Business Bureau, received his associate’s degree in journalism from Southwestern College before receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Diego State University. He was a long-time general assignment reporter for the Star-News.

Soto retires as a counselor from Southwestern College to transition to her role on the governing board. A 32-year employee with the college, Soto also is a product of the California community college system.

Dumas was appointed in February 2021. He is a teacher at Bonita Vista High School and also serves as the school’s boys’ varsity basketball head coach. Dumas was a Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College student before earning his bachelor’s degree in history and masters in teaching, both from San Diego State University.

Retiring Board Members

2 governing board members holding printed resolutions
Retiring Governing Board members Kirin Macapugay (L) and Leticia Cazares hold resolutions honoring their service.

Before the swearing-in ceremony, community members thanked retiring Governing Board members Leticia Cazares and Kirin Macapugay. Cazares served one four-year term and Macapugay served one year in an appointed position.

It was an emotional farewell for Cazares, who spoke of the importance of second chances.

A person who was justice-impacted, Cazares has been a strong advocate for the district’s Restorative Justice program and demonstrated the importance of seeing students where they are now.

“When you provide students with the support they need… When you take time out of your hectic day to see and hear someone who is struggling… This is why I ran for the Southwestern College board,” Cazares said.

Macapugay, who is a tenured faculty at San Diego City College, wore her native Filipino dress to honor her mother at the ceremony. Her mother, who had received a fourth grade education, was Macapugay’s inspiration, she said.

“That I’m a college professor… this is the universe’s way of saying this is where I belong,” Macapugay said. “Higher education is a pathway to hope and knowledge.”

At the conclusion of the recognition ceremony, each of the outgoing governing board members received proclamations and resolutions from the Southwestern College Governing Board, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, State Senator Steve Padilla, Assemblymembers David Alvarez and Tasha Boerner Horvath and County Supervisor Nora Vargas.

The December Governing Board meeting is also the board’s organizational meeting where they elect officers and establish their meeting schedule for the upcoming year. The board members selected Roberto Alcantar to continue serving as Governing Board President and Dumas as Governing Board Vice President.