Gene Howard, Executive Director for Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Gene Howard’s entire career has been spent working in the area of child abuse and neglect. His first job out of college was as a live-in houseparent for emotionally disturbed teens who were victims of abuse and neglect. Over the next 40 years he has served as the head of child protection services for the State of Arizona and for the County of Orange. He has also worked in the private non-profit sector serving as the CEO of the Orangewood Children’s Foundation for 12 years and most recently is serving as the CEO of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County. During this time he has also served on numerous state and local committees dedicated to improving the lives of abused children.

Michael Matsuda, Trustee for the North Orange County Community College District

Michael Matsuda is an award winning educator and administrator who currently oversees professional development for the Anaheim Union High School District. He is additionally on the board of trustees for the North Orange County Community College District and co-chairs the state Partnership for 21st Century Education. Mr. Matsuda is also the president of Californians Together, the largest advocacy consortium for English Learners in the state. He is a founding board member of the Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA); and the co-editor of two important k-12 curricula: the Vietnamese American Experience curriculum, and the Mendez v Westminster Civil Rights curriculum. Mr. Matsuda holds an MPA from USC, a BA from UCLA, a teaching credential from Chapman, and an administrative services credential from CSUF.