Board of Trustees
Elizabeth “Libby” DowneyBoard Chair | Community Member
Elizabeth “Libby” Downey, a retired nurse with a long history of public service in Monterey County, has joined Natividad’s Board of Trustees. Downey has been deeply involved in the community for more than 50 years. She brings a lifetime of experience as a public health nurse, business professional and community advocate to Natividad’s Board of Trustees. Downey is from North Carolina, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1960. After moving to Monterey in 1963, Downey spent much of her career in hospital nursing, public health, nursing school instruction, the Child Health, and Disability Program, and served as a Conservator of the Person appointed by the Superior Court. Downey is an avid volunteer and served on boards across Monterey County including Planned Parenthood, the Visiting Nurse Association, Rotary Club of Monterey, Hospice Foundation for the Central Coast and the Monterey County Grand Jury. She also served as a Monterey City Council Member from 2004 to 2016. Downey and her husband Wayne have lived in Monterey for 56 years. They have three adult children, Scott, Heath and Paige, and seven grandchildren.
Fernando R. Elizondo, EdDBoard Member | President & CEO, Elizondo Educational Strategies, Inc.
Fernando Elizondo brings to the board 38 years of education experience as a classroom teacher, school site principal, central office administrator and 15 years as a superintendent of schools. Additionally, he served two terms on the Ventura Community College Board. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State, a Master’s Degree from Baylor University and Doctorate from the University of Southern California.
Upon retirement as the Superintendent of Schools of the Salinas Union High School District Fernando formed an all-inclusive consulting firm Elizondo Educational Strategies, Inc. which specializes in working with school boards in the implementation of strategic planning and conducts executive searches at all levels ranging from principal to superintendent.
Fernando’s involvement in the community includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Monterey County Literacy Coalition, a Commissioner on the Monterey County Community Action Commission and a member of Marina Redevelopment Agency Successor Oversight Board.
Manuel OsorioBoard Member | Board Vice Chair, Community Member
Manuel Osorio has dedicated most of his life to public service. Committed to further enhancing community college education programs, Osorio spent 34 years serving Cabrillo Community College. There, he served as the vice president/assistant superintendent of student services, dean of student services, and as a counselor. Osorio holds a bachelor’s in psychology from UCSC and master’s in counseling education from San Jose State University. His passion, combined with his extensive experience, has given him a deep understanding of the needs of the students, staff, and community members. Osorio has served on numerous educational boards, most recently the Hartnell Community College Board of Trustees and previously the North Monterey County Unified School District and Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees; as well as on the community boards of United Way, Cultural Council, YMCA, Rotary Club and North County LULAC.
Marcia V. Atkinson, CPA, MSTSecretary and Treasurer | CPA & Shareholder, Jeffrey Wriedt & Co.
For over 23 years, Marcia Atkinson has been a CPA and shareholder with Jeffrey Wriedt & Co., a local company with a concentration in accounting and tax services for small businesses, individuals and non-profits. Marcia received her Master of Science degree in Taxation from San Jose State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an Accountancy Option, from California State University, Fresno. Her professional affiliations include memberships in the California State Board of Accountancy, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, California Society of Certified Public Accountants, and Cal Society of CPAs as technical reviewer of educational materials. Marcia has an exemplary record of volunteer service to our community. Her current community service includes Entre Nous Society, Gathering for Women, Loaves and Fishes, San Carlos Cathedral and SpectorDance.
Simón SalinasBoard Member | Community Member
Simón Salinas is a former Salinas City councilmember, Monterey County supervisor representing Salinas and South County and a former state assemblymember. Before his public service career, he was a professor at Hartnell College and a sixth-grade teacher. In 1989, Salinas was elected as the first Mexican American to serve on the Salinas City Council. During his tenure, he served as mayor pro tem and was elected to represent District One on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, where he became the first Mexican American to serve on the board in over 100 years.
In 2000, he was elected to the California State Assembly as the representative of the 28th District. His impressive record in the Assembly included passing legislation that addressed public safety, affordable housing, agriculture, healthcare, government transparency, education, transportation and local government. Raised on the Central Coast, Salinas understands the unique challenges the agricultural community members face. Salinas has one son, and advocates for all children to have access to first-class public education from kindergarten through college.
Bettye J. Saxon, EdDBoard Member | External Affairs Regional Director
Dr. Bettye J. Saxon currently serves as External Affairs Regional Director on the Central Coast for AT&T California. Dr. Saxon is primarily responsible for community and government relations in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties, where she has been developing and strengthening relationships with various community advocates, elected officials, community organizations and business professionals.
A resident of California for over 20 years, Dr. Saxon has worked in telecommunications for GTE and Network Solutions and the State of California, Dept. of General Service Telecommunication Division. Before joining AT&T, she served as an Education Advocate and Technology Specialist to K-12 education communities for Pacific Bell/SBC Telecommunications Inc.
Dr. Saxon has served on the boards of many community-based and educational organizations, including the American Heart Association, Junior Achievement of Northern California, and Hartnell Community College STEM programs. In addition, she currently serves as Board Chair for the California State University Monterey Bay Foundation Board. Most recently, Dr. Saxon was voted to the board of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy.
Dr. Saxon received her Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management, her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and her Doctorate in Education from the University of San Francisco in Organizations and Leadership with a focus on Technology in Education. Dr. Saxon is the proud mother of two adult children: Elisha Wilson, a graduate of Seattle University, and Andre Carpenter, a Senior Technology Specialist with Apple Inc.
Mitchel L. WinickBoard Member | President and Dean, Monterey College of Law
Mitchel has served as President and Dean of the Monterey College of Law since 2005. Over the past 10 years, he has engaged as a community leader in the improvement of higher education in the Monterey Bay area. Prior to coming to the Central Coast, Mitchel served in a variety of administrative and education roles for several statewide professional law offices in Texas. Mitchel received a Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of the Pacific and Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center.
Sonia M. De La RosaEx-officio Member | County Administrative Officer for County of Monterey
Sonia M. De La Rosa stepped into the CAO position in January 2023 following a long-standing career with the County of Fresno, where her hard work brought forward many improvements to services which have enhanced the lives of the residents there. She has extensive experience working with challenging issues such as homelessness, supporting victims of crime and law enforcement. The first Latina County of Monterey CAO, De La Rosa was raised in Monterey County and has maintained her roots in the community. She is the product of parents who worked in the fields of the Salinas Valley who instilled in her a deep value of hard work and dedication. De La Rosa has a track record of strong leadership both inside and outside of government and brings her love of public service to her role. She received a dual Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology and Chicano Latino Studies from the California State University Fresno in 1998.
Charles “Chad” Harris, MDEx-officio Member | Chief Executive Officer, Natividad
Dr. Chad Harris is the CEO at Natividad. He has served as Chief Medical Officer – Quality Assurance at Natividad, Chief Medical Information Officer and Chief of Staff. He is a family medicine hospitalist and an HIV clinic provider. Dr. Harris is board certified by both the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Preventive Medicine in Clinical Informatics. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University and completed his family medicine internship and residency at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center.
Chris LopezBoard Member | District 3 Supervisor for Monterey County
Chris Lopez is the Supervisor to the constituents of the Third District of the County of Monterey. Lopez replaces the Trustee position previously held by longtime supervisor Simon Salinas, who retired last year. Lopez was a staff member for Salinas’ office before being elected in June 2018. Supervisor Lopez was born and raised in southern Monterey County. An alum of Claremont McKenna College, he has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics. After starting as an intern with Supervisor Salinas’ office, Lopez was promoted to Board Aide and then to Chief of Staff, a position he held for more than seven years before being elected to the District 3 seat when Salinas retired. Lopez has served on the boards of Youth Orchestra Salinas, Hartnell College Foundation, the Arts Council for Monterey County, the Redevelopment Oversight Boards of the cities of King City, Greenfield, Soledad, and Gonzales among many others. He currently lives in Greenfield with his wife Jazmin.
Marc Tunzi, MD, MMEEx-officio Member | Chief of Medical Staff, Natividad | Associate Program Director, Natividad Family Medicine Residency
Dr. Tunzi grew up in the small town of Spreckels, about five miles from Salinas. After graduating from Santa Clara University and the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, he completed residency at the UCSF-Fresno program. Together with his family physician wife, Dr. Danielle Acton, Dr. Tunzi spent two years at the Indian Health Service Hospital in Crow Agency, Montana, and four years at a community/migrant health center practice in Twin Falls, Idaho, before returning to Salinas to join the faculty at Natividad, where he was our Program Director from 2000-2005 and 2007-2011. Dr. Tunzi’s special medical interests are medical ethics and behavioral health. You can find him attending on the inpatient family medicine service, caring for patients at Natividad Medical Group and at Dorothy’s Place, a local homeless services agency, and doing ethics and palliative care consults in the hospital. He speaks Italian and Spanish. He has three grown children—a lawyer who does hospital compliance work, a PhD student in Education, and an internal medicine resident with the Air Force –and two young grandsons. He tries to amuse himself, the residents, and the rest of the staff by whistling his way around the hospital.