The First 5 executive team and staff is made up of dedicated professionals committed to creating a system that ensures every child can thrive and learn. The Board of Commissioners provides guidance and direction to the leadership and staff to implement the Strategic Plan.

First 5 Executive Director

Alethea Arguilez

Executive Director

Alethea Arguilez, M.A. is the Executive Director of First 5 San Diego, the region’s primary organization for promoting the health and well-being of children 0-5 years of age and their families. Alethea has dedicated the past 20 years to the field of early childhood education, starting her journey in the field as an infant and toddler Master Teacher. Her early experience was working to create and support pathways for families experiencing adversity in achieving self-sufficiency through direct services which helped form the foundation for her work. Most recently, she was the Director of Child Development for the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee where her responsibilities included oversight of multiple contracts governing regulations for early childhood programs and working with key community stakeholders. She has been dedicated to program administration to the birth to five community delivering Early Head Start, Head Start and the California Department of Education Preschool Program services and served as a Board Member of the California Head Start Association.

She is presently serving on various Early Care and Education boards: County of San Diego, HHSA Child and Family Strengthening Advisory Board; San Diego State University, College of Education Dean’s Advisory Board; San Diego Child Care Planning Council; co-chair for the County of San Diego Diversity & Inclusion Transformation Team; co-chair for the Child Care Disaster Council; and the First 5 Association Public Policy Committee Member.

Alethea is a native San Diegan and holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership Management from the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences and a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from San Diego State University.

Alethea Arguilez

First 5 Executive Staff

Administrative Support
Karen Hays, Executive Secretary to the Director

Lenette Javier, Program & Evaluation Administrator
Hunter Watson, Program Manager
Alicia Castro, Projects Coordinator
Juanita Garcia, Projects Coordinator

Community Engagement
Adriana Lara, Communications & Community Outreach
Alexa Campos Cruz, Undergraduate Student Worker
Daniel Orila, Undergraduate Student Worker
Marrissa Rosales , Undergraduate Student Worker

Nancy Page, Data and Evaluation Manager

Martin Cherry, Operations Administrator
Fortune Cheng, Fiscal Manager
Diala Marroquin, Fiscal Monitoring
Jennifer Amos, Accounting

Contracts & Grants
Yves Estebe, Contracts Coordinator

First 5 Commission

The First 5 Commission of San Diego is composed of five members including, by legislative mandate, a member from the County Board of Supervisors, the Director of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency, and the County Health Officer.

Additional Information

The Chair of the First 5 Commission of San Diego shall be the member of the Board of Supervisors who served as Chair of the Board of Supervisors in the preceding calendar year.

For meeting schedules, please click here.

Monica Montgomery Steppe

Sandra McBrayer

Sandra McBrayer
Vice Chair

Wilma Wooten

Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH

Dr. Eric McDonald

Eric McDonald, MD, MPH, FACEP

Rick Richardson

Rick Richardson, MA, MMAS, MS

Additional information on County of San Diego Advisory Boards can be found at the links below.

First 5 Commission of San Diego Fact Sheet
County Board Policies A-72 Board of Supervisors’ Agenda and Related Processes
County Board Policies A-74 Citizen Participation in County Boards, Commissions and Committees
Health & Human Services Agency Policy HHSA-E-7 Advisory Boards

First 5 Finance Committee

The First 5 Commission of San Diego County is advised by a Finance Committee.

Finance Committee Members

Ricardo A. Macedo, Chair
Senior Vice President
San Diego Commercial Banking Manager
Banner Bank

Charissa Japlit
Group Finance Director
Health and Human Services Agency
County of San Diego

Tracy Drager
Auditor & Controller
Finance & General Government Group
County of San Diego

Chris Herrera
Investment Officer
Treasurer/Tax Collector
County of San Diego

Alternate Member(s)
Brian Ruehle
Auditor & Controller
Deputy Controller
County of San Diego

Kevin Foley
Investment Officer
Treasurer/Tax Collector
County of San Diego

You can view current and past Finance Committee agendas here.

Roles and Responsibilities

The committee has the following roles and responsibilities:

(Approved by Commission action on March 22, 2004)


  • Budget – review of budget; look at the budget in light of financial priorities to be established; develop policy(ies) on budgeting for Commission approval, e.g., revisiting policy adopted by Strategic Planning Committee to put excess revenue and unspent funds into the sustaining reserve, coming up with percentages going to Initiatives, etc.
  • Administrative costs – a policy that will describe a justifiable administrative rate
  • Accrued savings – a policy on how to manage the sustainability fund (plan for overflow of money beyond the Financial Spending Plan), what a prudent reserve is, etc.
  • Investments – investment advice to the Commission
  • Fixed assets – although the Commission does not own any property at the present time, this is for future policy development as the need arises
  • Long-term financial plan – annual review of the Financial Spending Plan as it correlates with investment; review and make changes to the existing policy, if necessary


  • Financial objectives – setting financial and investment policies and asset allocation strategies
  • Funding strategies and annual allocation plan– financial implications and risks associated with funding strategies and the annual allocation plan
  • Long-term financial plan – same as role under Policy


  • Budget – review the budget prepared by staff taking into consideration that any discrepancies that the Committee sees that staff disagrees with will be pointed out when budget goes to the Commission
  • Administrative costs – part of annual review of budget; see if existing numbers are still reasonable by looking at past administrative expenses
  • Cash flow – review statements of cash flow
  • Investment returns – review returns on investments
  • Annual financial audit – review the audit report and make comments before acceptance by the Commission