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The LACC Emeriti Association

Board Member Bios

Ren Colantoni

Ren ColantoniRen retired from the CTEL department in June of 2007. He served 37 years at Trade-Tech and LACC, after starting in 1967 as an hourly instructor. He was department chair for four years, then served as Director of Academic Computing, during which time he was responsible for bringing the Internet to LACC, and, working with Roberta Holt in Staff Development, provided equipment and training for instructors in the use of technology in the classroom. Ren enjoys fishing and off-road exploring, old hobbies like amateur radio and painting, and new ones like photography. He is married with five children and eight grandchildren. His wife Mary teaches Creative Writing at CSUN. 

Raoul Dela Sota

Raoul Dela SotaRaoul De la Sota studied art at Los Angeles City College and then at UCLA where he earned his Master of Arts degree. Soon after graduation, he received the first Fulbright Fellowship ever awarded to a Chicano artist for a year's study in Peru. De la Sota has shown his work in solo exhibits at The Museum of Man in San Diego, in Mexico at galleries in Oaxaca, Morelia and Valle de Bravo. He has had one-man exhibits at the SPARC Gallery in Venice, the David Zapf Gallery in San Diego and the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, along with many group exhibits. He has been commissioned to do paintings and sculptures by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Hyatt Corporation in the Bahamas and by the writer Victor VillaseƱor for the cover of his book Wild Steps to Heaven. He has created four murals in Los Angeles and in Cuernavaca, Mexico in private residences. He has designed a poster for the Metro Neighborhood program and created a 20' high mural for the Metro Division 9 headquarters in El Monte. Prizes include an Arts America Grant for a series of lectures on Chicano Art in Colombia. His work can be seen in the two-volume book Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art published by the Arizona State University Press and at In 2007 his work was seen in the exhibit "Skyscapes" in Terminal Three at the Los Angeles International Airport and at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in the exhibit "Spirits of LA". He and his wife Leticia Garcia-De la Sota have been collecting art since their marriage 22 years ago.    

Merrill Eastcott

Merrill EastcottMerrill retired from a six month stint back in the classroom for the Math department at LACC in December, 2012.  Prior to that he served eleven years as Dean of Academic Affairs and two years as Vice President, Administrative Services, all at LACC.  He finally received his doctorate from UCLA in 2002 after nearly four years ABD (all but the dissertation).  During his 26-year career with the US Air Force, he was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Air Force Academy.  Merrill spends a lot of his time volunteering as a docent at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying, and as presidents of his Experimental Aircraft Association chapter and his Corvette club.  He and his wife Jean spend a lot of time traveling and enjoying seven grandchildren.  He has always been a great supporter of LACC faculty and students.

Ann Gallagher

Ann GallagherAnn’s arrival into this world was announced at an LACC faculty meeting by her father, Ralph Webb, who taught in the Life Science Department.  For most of Ann’s time at LACC, she had an assignment in two areas on campus: the Counseling Office and the Earth Science Department where she taught Honors Geography and Honors Anthropology.  She feels it was a wonderful combination and especially suitable for our international student population, for she has been in the home country of many of her counselees.  She was able to meet them with an anthropologist’s perspective of cultural differences and a geographer’s knowledge of their country of origin.  One of the most outstanding features about her anthropology class is that she has been to the places about which she is lecturing.  For example, she has been to the volcanic sands of the Solo River in Java where the first Homo erectus was found; the limestone caves outside of Beijing where more of these fossils were found; caves once occupied by Neandertal and Cro Magnon; Tanzania’s site of fossils at Olduvai Gorge; and the extremely remote site, Koobi Fora, in N. Kenya on the east side of Lake Turkana, where one of the most significant fossils in east Africa was found.  In contrast to these exotic places and subjects, in Counseling, part of her assignment was Academic Advisor to the athletes.  Offices held: President of the Los Angeles Geographical Society; President of the Society of Woman Geographers for the Southern California region; and Vice President and Secretary of the formerly existing LACC Faculty Women’s Association. 

Roberta Holt

Roberta HoltRoberta retired from LACC in 2001 after a 35 year career at LACC. The first 25 years she spent as a member of the CAOT Department and served as Chair for 10 years. In 1991 she became Coordinator of Staff Development and spent the last 10 years in that position where she also was the Director of the Teaching-Learning Center. Roberta became president of the Emeriti Association in 2004, when Dr. Lou Hilleary stepped down at President. She is only the second president the organization has had in its 15-year life. Roberta states that one of the joys of being active with this organization has been working with the Emeriti Board, a dedicated group of Emeriti without whom our organization would not exist. Roberta is also an ex-oficio member of the LACC Foundation. Since retiring, Roberta works as a volunteer at the Center for Healthy Aging in Santa Monica as a peer counselor and co-facilitates a woman’s support group. She has also traveled to Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Peru and Mexico. She loves cruising and her four timeshares as well. Roberta has two grandsons who she travels to Seattle to see as often as possible. Roberta stepped down from the Presidency of the Emeriti Association in the Fall of 2011.

Susan Matranga

Dennis Mitchell

Vaughn Obern

Vaughn Obern retired in January of 2012 after over 30 years in the Cinema/Television Department, 25 of them spent as Department Chair.  He is a graduate of Principia College, and holds an MFA in Film Production from UCLA.  Throughout his entertainment-industry career he worked on many different film projects, and was a co-partner of Ramsgate Films, a successful documentary and educational-film production company.  It was he who oversaw the growth of the Cinema/TV Department to a first-class film and television program.  Among the Department’s distinguished alumni are Albert Hughes (Dead Presidents), Mimi Leder (Pay It Forward), Tamra Davis (Grey's Anatomy), Karen Moncrieff (Six Feet Under), Maggie Greenwald (Songcatcher), Tarsem Singh (Immortals ), and Academy Award winners Robert Elswit (There Will be Blood) and Kevin Tent (The Descendants).  Vaughn continues to teach a film production class at LACC as an adjunct professor. 

Maria Reisch

Maria ReischMaria Reisch retired from the Dance Discipline in July 2013. She taught at Los Angeles City College for 40 years introducing Ballet, Choreography to the program besides other courses and started the Dance performances held every semester. Maria also served two six year terms as Department Chair of Women’s Physical Education and eight years as Vice President of the Academic Senate and the Curriculum Chair. She successfully transitioned the college into using the course on-line format ECD. As she tries to figure out her retirement life, Maria is volunteering with Curriculum.

Laura Schoor

was born in Albany, New York.  She received her BA in History from SUNY at Binghamton and then went on to get a Masters in Education   from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She taught Montessori Education in Cleveland, Ohio and the Westside of Los Angeles.   In 1987 she became a part time and then full time teacher in the LACC Child Development Center.  These were the happiest days of her career because she loved the mission of the center and the important work the school and teachers did to encourage the parents and give them support in their pursuit of higher education and career goals.  The many cultures the school, children and teachers  experienced were and continue to be a "real" high for her.  She retired in 2011 and still misses the Child Develpment Center.  Her hobbies include Zumba, pilates, cooking, traveling (to Europe) and reading.  She looks forward to serving on the Emeriti board to begin her volunteer work to give back to the LACC community which nourished her for so many years.

Myra Siegel

Myra SiegelMyra began her career with the LACCD in 1976 at West Los Angeles College as assistant to the Financial Aid Director. From 1978-1982, she worked in the Budget Branch at the district office. After four years at the District, she longed to return to college life, and was thrilled to do so when a position opened at Pierce College. After a year in Pierce’s Admission’s Office, she was offered the position of Associate Dean of Admissions and Records at LA City College. In 1990, she was selected to substitute for the CSSO (Chief Student Services Officer) when he took a sabbatical and a few years later, when he left, she accepted the position on a full time basis. She served as Dean and then Vice President of Student Services until her retirement in August 2009. Myra introduced the annual professional development program for Admissions and Records staff in the district; led the charge to re-open the Health Centers district wide; chaired the taskforce to develop a new student identification number system; served as a regional representative on the executive board of the statewide CSSO organization, and, in her last year on the board, coordinated the statewide leadership program for potential CSSOs and CIOs. In her newly found spare time, Myra enjoys traveling with her husband, practicing yoga…and most of all, spending quality time with her eleven grandchildren.

Martha Sklar

Martha SklarMARTHA was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to Detroit, MI when she was eight and a half years old. She attended public school in Detroit and graduated from Central High School in their Centennial Year Class. She went back last fall to celebrate her 50th year reunion- Central's 150th year. She received a BA in Mathematics from Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL, an M.A in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Martha taught mathematics at the high-school level and then at Los Angeles City College for about 20 years. Later she entered administration and was Transfer Center Director and then Dean of Academic Affairs. She retired in January 2004 and has been traveling (Italy, Baltic, etc.) as well as involved in the Emeriti Chapter, League of Women Voters - LA, Santa Monica Emeritus College, and her Temple. Currently she is the Treasurer of LWV - LA. She has two sons, Benjamin who lives in the Seattle area and Jonathan who lives in Los Angeles.

Andrea Smith

Andrea SmithAfter an illustrious career with Los Angeles Unified School District for thirteen years in a variety of positions, Andrea began her career  at LACC in 1986 as a Learning Disabilities Specialist with the Office of Special Services. For twenty-four years she was instrumental in the development of a substantial and successful support services program, which in her words is, "The best CCC support services program in California"  assisting students with disabilities gain access to their academic accommodations as well as educating the campus community about the academic rights of student's with disabilities and methods of providing academic accommodations until her retirement in June 2010. Along with practicing yoga and traveling, Andrea continues to volunteer in OSS by tutoring and by participating in programs disseminating awareness to the community at large about disabilities issues.