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.
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.
Chair, Academic & Student Affairs
Jon Bullock is the executive director of the Redmond Proficiency Academy, a proficiency-based public charter school that he helped found. He is a major proponent of educational innovation, including personalized learning, and he is an advocate for providing all students with a high-quality public education that honors their individuality, background, and strengths and takes them from where they are to where they want to be.
For over 25 years, Jon has worked with young people as a teacher, coach, and administrator. He has combined his passion and skills as an educator with private sector and non-profit experience to develop one of the largest and most successful public charter schools in Oregon.
An employee of SOU since 2016, Katherine Cable is a Registration Systems Analyst, supporting the registrar’s office at Southern Oregon University. Prior to this role, Katherine served SOU as the Academic Records Coordinator.
Born in Aurora, Colorado, Katherine Cable has always lived by the philosophy that experience is the meaning of life. Her journey to Southern Oregon University consists of a long and winding road, but she brings with her a great breadth of experience. Katherine has been a lifeguard, taxi driver, fugitive investigator, fingerprint identification specialist, Arabic Linguist, US Marine, security guard, emergency medical technician, emergency room technician, and network services engineer.
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 graduated from SOU in 2014; he studied business, environmental studies, and corporate sustainability. In 2011, through the SOU School of Business, he studied renewable energy in Germany. In 2012, while director of sustainability for student government, he led the establishment of the SOU Green Fund to invest student dollars in local energy, water, and campus sustainability projects. The fund has helped establish three new solar installations on campus, purchase water offsets, and launch The Farm at SOU. Currently, Shaun is a professional working in the renewable energy industry.
Andrew Kenneth Gay is an associate professor and chair of Communication, Media & Cinema at Southern Oregon University. At SOU he teaches digital cinema courses in storytelling, screenwriting, directing, producing, production management, film festival programming, career design and development, and short film production. He earned the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2021. He is the former board president of Film Southern Oregon, sits on the board of the Oregon Media Production Association, is a programmer for the Ashland Independent Film Festival, and serves on the Teaching Committee for EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media.)
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.
Mimi Pieper is a junior in the SOU Honors College Computer with a major in computer science with a minor in rhetoric and reason. Ms. Pieper has worked in software engineering in many positions, cumulating into a broad range of experience. She has excelled as a Computer Science intern with a nascent startup. Currently, she assists in actively developing plans and policies alongside industry leaders as the current student Board Member of the University Board of Trustees. Along with her Board position, she has maintained a prestigious University computer science tutoring position alongside working as a University IT analyst. Ms. Pieper enjoys learning as much as she can about the world around her.
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.
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