The Merced Community College District board of trustees picked a replacement Tuesday for the Area 5 trustee, who represents Los Banos.
Insurance agent Joe Gutierrez of Los Banos will replace Eugene Vierra in January.
Vierra is set to retire in December.
"I'm happy to represent the Westside," Gutierrez, a State Farm Insurance agent for 24 years, said Wednesday.
Gutierrez, 50, is a former Merced College student and a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock with a bachelor's in liberal studies with an emphasis on bilingual cross-cultural Spanish.
After college, Gutierrez taught elementary school in Winton, Atwater, Livingston and Planada before teaching three years of Spanish for Merced College, Los Banos Campus.
"Being a part-time teacher for three years was kind of cool," he said. "It was different than teaching second-graders or third-graders."
Gutierrez has also served on the Los Banos Unified School District personnel commission as a representative for classified employees.
The father of three daughters said his oldest recently started at Merced College, and said that gives him an additional interest in the school.
"I'm just excited to be on the board," he said. "Whatever issues are pending, we'll take care of them as they come."
Gutierrez said he opened his insurance business in Los Banos in 1988.
The board of trustees are elected positions. Robin Shepard, director of institutional advancement for Merced College, said after Vierra announced his plans to retire the board of trustees decided to appoint a replacement rather than hold an election.
"The board thought it was more prudent," he said.
Shepard estimated the cost of an election to be between $10,000 and $15,000.
Gutierrez's term is scheduled to end December 2014; trustees serve four-year terms.
Vierra started as an adjunct professor for Merced College, Los Banos Campus, in 1972 and served as a trustee since 1994.
Gary Arzamendi, Area 2; Wayne Hicks, Area 3; and Jean Upton, Area 6, also raised their hands and took the oath of office during Tuesday's meeting. The trustees join Les McCabe, Dennis Jordan and Cindy Lashbrook.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.