GCCA Board of Directors


Meet our Board of Directors & join us at our upcoming Board Meeting!

Click GCCA Board Meeting Info! for dates and times

Dr. Joan Wells,  President

Former RCCD Vice President for Planning and Development

Dr. Wells is a former RCCD Vice President for Planning and Development, and senior associate with Michael G. Dolence and Associates, a higher education consulting firm specializing in learner and curriculum-centered strategic planning, enrollment management, and institutional effectiveness. As vice president, Joan provided leadership and oversight for planning, institutional research and effectiveness, grant development and management, workforce preparation programs, and economic development services. She worked closely with Dr. Shelagh Camak during Riverside’s early efforts to replicate the Gateway model. Prior to becoming vice president, Joan served as RCCD’s Director for Institutional Research. Dr. Wells holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and History from Illinois State University and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She joined the Gateway Board in October 2013.



Debra Postil, Vice President

Deputy District Attorney, Riverside District Attorney’s Office

Debra Postil is the Co-Founding Executive Director of Women Wonder Writers, a mentoring non-profit organization, and veteran county prosecutor in Riverside. Her current assignment is Countywide School Attendance Review Board Prosecutor where she works with school districts to implement early prevention measures to combat truancy and chronic absenteeism. Previously Debra has handled parole hearings and cases involving sexual assault and child abuse, domestic violence, political corruption, group home fraud, gang crimes and homicides. Debra has won numerous awards, including ‘Community Hero,’ ‘Prosecutor of the Year’ and ‘Bulldog: Stick It To Em’ award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and a law degree from Loyola Law School. Debra is also the author of the legal thriller The Mamacita Murders, which tackles gang violence, sex trafficking and domestic violence, and author of the children book It’s This Monkey’s Business, tackling domestic violence and divorce. Debra’s mission is to break the cycle of victimization and abuse and transform the criminal and juvenile justice systems.



Mark Pederson, Treasurer

President and CEO, Cannery Row Capital Funding, LLC

Former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Altura Credit Union

Mr. Pedersen has extensive experience working in the financial services industry. In his current position with Cannery Row Capital Funding, he assists clients in the development and implementation of innovative financial solutions. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Altura Credit Union and was responsible for the finance, accounting, enterprise risk management, compliance and information technology areas. He was the key executive behind the credit union’s financial turnaround and led the effort to restructure and strengthen the company’s internal control environment, credit function and corporate governance structure. Mr. Pedersen is strongly committed to providing a wide range of educational opportunities to the low-income and underserved population. He’s committed to making a difference within the Riverside community and helping Riverside provide better educational opportunities to those in need. Mr. Pedersen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and is a Certified Public Accountant.



Michele Gracia, Secretary

Core Program Director, Aspiranet Transitional Housing Programs

Michele M. Gracia is a long-time resident of Riverside County. As the daughter of community activists, Michele was exposed to the importance of serving others at a very young age. Throughout her career, Ms. Gracia has served on numerous youth-focused boards and committees, both professionally and as a volunteer, due to her passion to promote and foster transformation in youth across the county. Ms. Gracia has worked with juvenile offenders, foster youth and low-income populations for more than 15 years. Ms. Gracia is currently the Core Program Director II for Aspiranet’s Transitional Housing Programs for emancipated and non-minor dependent youth for Riverside County and has served in many capacities on the Gateway to College/Gateway College & Career Academy Board since 2007. Ms. Gracia has a degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Work from California Baptist University.


Ruth Adams, Member

Ms. Adams retired in 2015 from the Riverside Community College District (RCCD) as its in-house general counsel. Responsibilities included: the development, review and revision of all board policies; legal consultant for personnel matters; coordination of the District’s legal affairs, including the handling of civil litigation and administrative hearings; providing legal support to all District and College administrative departments, drafting and/or review of all contracts for the District and Colleges; business negotiations; and worked closely with the compliance officer on discrimination and sexual harassment claims filed within the District. In addition, Ms. Adams worked with the RCCD Department of Risk Management on all aspects of that department’s responsibilities. In 1991, Ms. Adams received her J.D. from Citrus Belt Law School (now California Southern Law School). During her time at RCCD, Ms. Adams served on the Board of the United Way of the Inland Valleys for several years.