Commission Members


Catalina Cifuentes

Commission Chair Catalina Cifuentes

California Secondary Schools Representative

Catalina Cifuentes is an educator who has demonstrated a gift for counseling and advocacy on behalf of all students. 

In her former position as lead counselor at Santiago High School, Corona- Norco Unified School District, Catalina worked with the counseling team to design a successful guidance program which led to Riverside County as well as California Department of Education recognitions for exemplary counseling practices. She worked with her administrative team and staff to transform the school by raising the academic rigor and expectations from students resulting in the highest graduation rate and second highest A-G completion rate in Riverside, Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino County.


Caroline Alvarez
Student Representative

Caroline Alvarez Student Representative

Caroline Alvarez is a third-year student attending California State University Fresno. This is Caroline’s first year as a commission member for the California Student Aid Commission (Commission) and was appointed in November of 2021.


Patrick Day
California State university Representative Governor Appointee

Commissioner Patrick Day

Patrick Day currently serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at San José State University where he is responsible for units focused on co-curricular learning, enrollment management, and a critical array of student services.  Prior to joining SJSU in 2018, his career in higher education spanned 25 years and took him to a diverse set of institutions across the United States.  Most recently, he served as the Vice President for Student Life at University of the Pacific, and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston. 


Juanita Doplemore
General Public Representative Speaker of the Assembly Appointee

Commissioner Juanita Doplemore

In her time as a California Student Aid Commissioner and Youth Advocate, Juanita has gained the perspective on educational systems, policies, and budgets necessary to fight for the students in our schools. As part of her mission as a commissioner, she has become a trainer for Cash for College events and she has hosted several college fair events because college readiness and affordability is essential.


Shannon Gary
Independent CA Colleges and Universities Representative Governor Appointee

Commissioner Shannon Gary

Shannon Gary is the associate vice president of student life and dean of students at the University of San Francisco.

Dr. Shannon Gary is a first-generation college student from Philadelphia, PA.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. He earned both his master’s degree and Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. 


Hal Geiogue
General Public Representative Governor Appointee

Commissioner Geiogue

Hal Geiogue brings to the commission more than three decades of experience in formulating education and fiscal policy for the state of California.

He started his public service in 1965 with the state Department of Finance. From 1967 through 1990 Geiogue then served in the Office of Legislative Analyst where he directed a staff of nonpartisan professionals who were responsible for the program and budget review of K-12 education and postsecondary education institutions and programs in California. In 1979 and 1980 he was the co-chairperson of the Student Financial Aid Policy Study Group which helped reform the state’s student financial aid system.


Guillermo Mayer
General Public Representative Speaker of Assembly Appointee

Guillermo Mayer

Guillermo Mayer is President & CEO of Public Advocates Inc., a nonprofit civil rights law firm and advocacy group committed to challenging the systemic causes of poverty and discrimination. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its advocacy into postsecondary education, with the goal of expanding college access, affordability and success for low-income students and students of color in California.


Debra Maxie
General Public Representative Senate Rules Appointee

Commissioner Maxie Picture

Mrs. Maxie began her teaching career in 1973 in the school district where she was educated Kindergarten – 12th grades, the Chicago Public School system, teaching physical education before moving into the field of counseling.  In 1979, Mrs. Maxie relocated to San Diego where she immediately joined the teaching force of the San Diego Unified School District.


Charles Nies
Vice Chair

Commissioner Nies Picture

Dr. Nies is the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. He has responsibility for areas that create an engaged campus life and that foster student learning outside of the classroom


Steve Ngo
General Public Representative

Commissioner Steve Ngo

Steve Ngo is a partner at Lozano Smith LLP, an education and public agency law firm.  He began his legal career at Minami Tamaki LLP, a San Francisco law firm known for its civil rights work and community advocacy.  


David R. O’Brien
Vice Chancellor for Government Relations

David R. O’Brien Vice Chancellor for Government Relations

David O’Brien has served as Vice Chancellor for Government Relations for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office since April of 2020. In this role, he oversees a division responsible for formulating and advancing the legislative agenda of the California Community Colleges and represents the Chancellor’s Office before the Legislature and executive branch of the state and federal governments.


Leonardo Rodriguez
Student Representative

Commissioner Leonardo Rodriguez Student Representative

Leonardo Rodriguez is a Dreamer, Political Science Major, and a Community Advocate who has promptly forged a platform that allows student issues to be highlighted. Providing a strong voice that is supported by students and student leaders is not only necessary but essential on the California Student Aid Commission.


David Valladolid
General Public Representative Senate Rules Appointee

Commissioner David Valladolid

President and CEO Emeritus, David Valladolid has spent 18 years managing and overseeing all administrative and personnel aspects of Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE). His responsibilities included financial management, fund development, program operations, new hires, and program evaluations. Mr. Valladolid served as the primary spokesperson for the organization and as the liaison to the PIQE Board of Directors.