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Includes parts of the cities of Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, and unincorporated county areas of Trabuco Canyon.

Photo of James R. WrightTrustee James R. Wright was elected to serve a four-year term through 2024, representing Lake Forest, parts of Irvine and some unincorporated areas.

Dr. Wright brings a wealth of education experience to the board, most recently at Saddleback College where he retired after serving 14 years as the dean of the division of mathematics, science and engineering with additional responsibilities as acting dean of the division of health sciences and human services for 15 months. Most recently, he supervised 40 full-time faculty, 75 part-time faculty and 12 classified employees and managed a $6.6 million budget for six academic departments serving more than 9,000 students at Saddleback College. He was active on many committees, including accreditation, district-wide planning, curriculum, hiring, budget, facilities, scholarships and others.  He also spent four years in the classroom teaching chemistry.

Dr. Wright was voted Administrator of the Year three times – in 2001 by Saddleback College Special Services Department and Saddleback Associated Student Government; in 2009 by SOCCCD administration and board of trustees; and most recently in May 2012 by Saddleback College’s student veterans. He has won honors and awards from the American Chemical Society, and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, the Air Force Association and Phi Beta Kappa.

Prior to Saddleback College, Dr. Wright retired as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force after 27 years of active duty service including commander of the Air Force Academy Preparatory School where he oversaw an $8.5 million budget and increased the prep school’s Air Force Academy acceptance rate to 90%.  His former experience also includes teaching chemistry at the U.S. Air Force Academy, director of the McClellan Air Force Base Central Laboratory, and engineer at WasteChem/Flour Daniel.

Regarding his involvement on the Board of Trustees, Dr. Wright commented, “Increasing student completions is the most important challenge we face statewide in education. We must put measures in place to help our students complete their goals more efficiently. I look forward to working with the board and other trustees around the state to address these challenges.”

Dr. Wright earned Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry from the University of Idaho. He also completed the Air War College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces and attended Air Command and Staff College for professional training.

He has volunteered as a mentor to youth groups and is active in his church and community. He lives in Trabuco Canyon (Portola Hills) with his wife, Janice. Contact Trustee Wright at:

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