TCC Welcomes J. Manny Santiago to the Board of Trustees

TCC Welcomes J. Manny Santiago to the Board of Trustees

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee appointed J. Manny Santiago to the Tacoma Community College (TCC) Board of Trustees effective Oct. 31, 2022.

Santiago replaces Trustee Bob Ryan, who has served on the TCC Board of Trustees since November of 2010. Ryan completed two terms.

Santiago currently serves as the inaugural Executive Director for the Washington State LGBTQ Commission. Prior to his gubernatorial appointment to this role, Santiago was Executive Director of Tacoma/Pierce County’s Rainbow Center.

Santiago earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Puerto Rico -- Mayagüez Campus, studied Public Administration at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and earned a Master of Divinity (Theology) degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts. In 2007, Santiago became the first openly queer Latino to be ordained a minister in the American Baptist Churches, USA. Since then, he has served progressive congregations and ministries in Boston, New York, Seattle, and Madison. He took part in Washington’s campaigns for marriage equality and to ban conversion therapy.

Santiago has served on TCC’s Multicultural Advisory Committee and as a member of the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Tacoma Community House, on the Board of Trustees for the Tacoma Art Museum, and on the Board of Trustees for the Tacoma Public Library. He also volunteers as a mentor to local BIPOC and LGBTQ emerging leaders in Washington.

At the international level, Santiago has been invited to lead workshops and speak on LGBTQ rights by organizations and governments in Cuba, Honduras, Panamá, México, El Salvador, and Canada. His writings have been featured by The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and several theological journals and books. In 2022, Manny was one of the recipients of the National Latino Leadership Awards from The Council for Latino Workplace Equity for his work to advance Latino/a/x leadership in the United States.

Santiago currently lives in the ancient lands of the Puyallup people in Tacoma with his husband Ferneli Hernández, a member of the Maya Yucatec people of southern México. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, and reading works by Latin American women writers.

“Access to high quality, affordable education is key for community development. Our community colleges play a crucial role in ensuring that our communities have access to economic opportunities through their many varied educational and training programs,” Santiago said. “I am honored to be appointed to the TCC Board of Trustees, where I can offer my perspective as a queer Latino Tacoman to ensure our beloved community college continues to offer families here and everywhere our students come from equitable opportunities for success in learning, life and work.”

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