Frank Chong brings experience in several levels of education to his role as the president and superintendent of the Santa Rosa Junior College district, which comprises the Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses.

Chong was led to a career in higher education after time he spent as a special assistant to California State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown from 1987 to 1991.

"I was working in the legislature with Willie Brown," says Chong. "I wanted a career, and got a job at City College of San Francisco more than 20 years ago, after Willie Brown."

Chong worked to improve Oakland's Laney College and oversaw the facility as it earned full accreditation, one of only five community colleges to do so in 2009.

Before moving on to the SRJC, Chong served as deputy assistant secretary for Community Colleges, Office of Vocational and Adult Education under Arne Duncan, the United States Secretary of Education.

Chong was a member of the San Francisco Children and Families Commission and San Francisco Human Rights Commission, and was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1998.

He served as administrator of nonprofit organizations and worked in Oakland as director of special services for the Asian Community Mental Health Services and executive director of Asian Manpower Services.

"Right now, I want to try and meet the needs of Sonoma County and upgrade our facilities," says Chong, who adds, "SRJC is four years away from turning 100 and some of the buildings have been in continuous use since the 1960s."

Assisting in the effort to fund the upgrades, Chong notes, "We have one of the most successful foundations and we have a very generous group of donors, many of whom are alumni. However, we can always use more help."

His greatest accomplishment, Chong says, came when, "We recently completed a strategic plan to serve as a blueprint for the next five years. We assessed values, goals and how to help our students achieve."

His goal is to, "work on making the JC the best it can be and to meet the needs for education and training of Sonoma County residents."

Describing himself as having high standards, Chong says, "I love Petaluma and my neighbors. I have met so many different and interesting people here, including old-time Petalumans and I love the openness and friendliness."

(Contact Lynn Schnitzer at argus@arguscourier.com)