About the Board
Meet the Trustees
Meet the Trustees
Chair, Executive, Audit, & Governance
After more than two decades of service to four Oregon governors, SOU alumnus Daniel P. Santos most recently served as associate dean for student affairs and administration at Willamette University College of Law. He oversaw student recruitment, student services, placement activities, and administrative duties at the law school.
President Richard J. Bailey, Jr., joined SOU in January 2022, after overseeing the resurgence of Northern New Mexico College during five-plus years as president. He previously completed a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a full colonel and command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours. Dr. Bailey earned accolades on and off campus while at Northern New Mexico College, increasing enrollment by more than 20 percent, cutting student loan defaults by more than 50 percent and more than doubling the college’s graduation rate – all without an increase in tuition rates.
Sachta Bakshi Card,was born and raised in India and moved to the United States to attend Southern Oregon University at 17. Sachta is an honors graduate of SOU where she earned bachelor of science degrees in business administration and economics along with a certificate in applied finance and economics. She also holds a master’s degree in management from SOU.
Brent Barry currently serves as the superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District, a position he has held since 2017. He has worked in the K-12 school district for nearly 20 years in numerous positions – from teacher and athletic director to assistant principal and school principal – and is now, its chief executive.
Iris Maria Chávez is a government affairs, community engagement, and communications professional. With over 15 years of experience working with advocacy organizations and think tanks to advance state and federal policy, Iris Maria is focused on improving outcomes for communities and increasing government accountability.
As part of this work, she has successfully built issue advocacy campaigns with a variety of advocacy and civil rights organizations across the country leading to bipartisan legislation providing critical investments in education, public safety, and child welfare.
Board Vice Chair
Sheila Clough is the chief executive officer of Mercy Flights, a Southern Oregon-based provider of medical treatment and transport services. Prior to this, she served as the chief executive officer of Asante Ashland Community Hospital and has worked as a healthcare executive for nearly 20 years.
Prior to joining Asante, Clough served in a progression of leadership roles from 1998 through 2013 with Ministry Howard Young Health Care in Woodruff, Wisconsin, eventually rising to the role of president and chief operating officer.
Debra Fee Jing Lee was born in Toisan, China. She immigrated with her family to Providence, RI in 1956. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and a juris doctorate from Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C.
Since 1989, Debra has served as the Executive Director of the Center for NonProfit Legal Services in Medford, OR. Prior to this, she practiced as a legal aid attorney in West Tennessee, Central Arkansas, and Jackson County. She has contributed innovative ideas to critical poverty issues, supported diversity, and increased access to justice.
Chair, Finance & Administration
Shaun Franks is a business and residential solar advisor at True South Solar, a local SOU alum-owned solar company. For over 10 years he has been involved with solar projects beginning at Southern Oregon University where he studied business administration, environmental studies, and corporate sustainability. While at SOU, he was involved in student government as the director of sustainability. He led the establishment of the SOU Green Fund which invests student dollars in local water, energy, and campus sustainability projects. The Green Fund has established multiple solar installations on campus, launched the SOU Farm, and continues to fund student projects.
Christina Medina is the Regional Business Manager for Pacific Power. In this role, she serves as a customer and community liaison representing a regional hub for Pacific Power in Jackson County, Oregon, and Del Norte County, California. She provides area representation for local government affairs, economic development, account management, program engagement and implementation, and stakeholder relations on behalf of Pacific Power.
Jason Mendoza is an SOU alumnus, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice seven years ago, and he held criminal justice positions in Jackson and Klamath counties before taking his current position with SOU’s University Housing.
Mendoza is a member of the city of Ashland’s Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee, which assesses and makes recommendations to the City Council on housing and human service needs. He is an advisor for both the SOU Ho`opa`a Hawai`i Club and Samoan Club, and is passionate about helping underrepresented populations – especially the Polynesian community.
An accomplished software engineer and researcher with a deep connection to nature and a passion for sustainability, Mimi is making contributions in both her professional and personal spheres. Born in Mount Shasta, California, she grew up farming, gardening, baking, and creating, which instilled in her a lifelong love for tending to her garden, nurturing houseplants, and immersing herself in a wide range of books.
Garima Sharma is a junior in the SOU Honors College pursuing bachelor’s degrees in pre-nursing and healthcare administration with minors in health promotion and ethics.
She is the chief justice for the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University (ASSOU) where she helps to uphold student body rules and ensure that the student grievance process is ethical as well as prompt. She also works as an office assistant and event organizer in SOU’s Social Justice and Equality Center. Garima previously served as president of the Black Student Union and as a resident assistant in SOU’s Housing Department.
Elizabeth (Liz) Shelby is an experienced public higher education administrator and small business counselor. Before retiring after 25 years of service to Southern Oregon University, she was the chief of staff to three university presidents and she served six presidents as the university’s director of government relations. During her time as director of government Relations, Liz was involved with several significant transformations at SOU including the name change from Southern Oregon State College in 1997, and the change in governance to a public institution with an independent governing Board of Trustees in 2015.
Hala Schepmann is a Professor of Chemistry at Southern Oregon University. Her research interests include natural products in drug discovery and the development of inclusive teaching strategies. Dr. Schepmann graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. She holds an M.S. in organic chemistry from University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry from Rice University.
Julissa Taitano is a graduate student at SOU pursuing a master of science degree in education with a concentration in higher education leadership. She holds a graduate assistantship in SOU’s School of Education. As an aspiring educator, Ms. Taitano recognizes a systemic need for higher education institutions to embrace the urgency of being a catalyst for change.
Barry Thalden and his wife, Kathryn, moved to Ashland to retire in 2012. Almost immediately, they became immersed in making good things happen in the community. The Thaldens previously lived in Las Vegas where Barry was CEO of the architectural firm he founded in 1971 and guided for 43 years. Thalden Boyd Emery Architects, with offices in St. Louis, Tulsa, Phoenix and Las Vegas, specialized in designing large-scale projects, including resorts and casinos, throughout the United States.
Bill Thorndike operates his family business, Medford Fabrication, a custom steel fabrication company that has been in operation for 79 years. Thorndike currently serves on the boards of Southern Oregon University, Oregon Business Council, Crater Lake National Park Trust, Jackson County Economic Development Advisory Committee, and Jefferson Regional Health Alliance. He has served on a number of other boards and commissions, including the Port of Portland, Oregon Community Foundation, Asante Health System, Northwest Area Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, and the Portland Branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.
The Office of the Board of Trustees is located at 1250 Siskiyou Blvd. in Churchill Hall, room 107.
University Board Secretary