The Foothill-De Anza Community College District board of trustees elected Patrick Ahrens as its new president and Laura Casas as vice president at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 13.
Ahrens replaces Peter Landsberger as the board's leader. Landsberger nominated Ahrens to the top role, which the trustees supported 4-0, with trustee Gilbert Wong abstaining.
In response to a question from this news organization about his decision to abstain, Wong pointed to a Nov. 28 public Facebook post he made, lamenting his colleagues' decision to pass over him for a board leadership position in the past and saying he wanted to be elected vice president this time around. In the post, Wong also noted that he received the most votes of any candidate in the 2020 board election.
"I have the experience and also support of the voters as the highest voted of any at-large FHDA candidate," Wong wrote. "Hopeless at FHDA!!"
He declined to comment on his abstention beyond his Facebook post.
Wong was first elected to the board in 2016, but has never been chosen by his colleagues to serve as president or vice president. The four other current board members have each served in both roles during that time, according to district records.
The vote for Casas to serve as vice president was unanimous, as well as for Chancellor Judy Miner to be secretary. Board policy calls for the district's chancellor to serve as the board's secretary.
Ahrens was first elected to the board in November 2018 and has served as vice president for the past year. He is a De Anza College alumnus and served as the school's student representative on the district's board during his time there.
Ahrens expressed appreciation for his fellow trustees' support after the vote.
"Thank you to my colleagues for nominating me," Ahrens said. "I hope to do you proud."