Skip to main content

JO ELLEN CHATHAM, PH.D. (LAY VICE CHAIR)

Jo Ellen Chatham, Ph.D. (Lay Vice Chair)

Lay Trustee, Member of the Board of Trustees, PBS SoCaL, Los Angeles, California

Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham is a Member of the Board of Trustees and Former Chair of PBS SoCaL, which also governs the KOCE-TV Foundation. PBS SoCaL is the second most-viewed of more than 340 PBS stations in the United States. Jo Ellen recently retired as Director of Public Affairs for the Southern Region of Southern California Edison (SCE) where her team of Region Managers was responsible for managing the relationships between SCE, the County of Orange and more than 50 cities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. She recently was selected as Director of the Center for Public Policy at Concordia University.

Jo Ellen is currently the Lay Vice Chair of America's Public Television Stations (APTS), a member of the Executive Committee of the the Board of Directors of the Pacific Symphony and a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Forum. 

For nearly 15 years, Jo Ellen was an Associate Professor of Political Science at West Los Angeles College where she also served as an administrator and officer in the Faculty Senate. Prior to joining SCE, Jo Ellen was president of Eagle Forum of California, a public policy organization. She was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to the Board of Governors of the California State Bar Association and the Narcotic Addict Evaluation Authority. She was a member of the Board of the Henry Salvatori Forum at the University of Southern California and served on the Orange County Commission on the Status of Women and on boards of numerous organizations, including the Orange County Business Council (Past Vice Chairman), the World Affairs Council of Orange County (Past Chairman), the Orange County Forum (Past President), Red Cross of Orange County (Past Secretary), the Orange County High School of the Arts Foundation Board, the Leadership Council of the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California at Irvine, the Board of Visitors of the Chapman University School of Law and Orange County Taxpayers Association.

Jo Ellen was the Republican nominee in the 69th State Assembly District in 1992 and was an alternate delegate to the 1996 and 2004 Republican National Conventions. For 15 years she served as the First Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County and is First Vice Chairman Emeritus. She has chaired the Education Committee, Speakers' Bureau and the Political Education Committee for the California Republican.  She is currently a member of the California Republican Central Committee and is vice chair of its Resolutions Committee.

In 1987, Jo Ellen authored “A More Perfect Union: The Constitutional Convention of 1787” which received official recognition by the United State Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution. She is listed in the Eighth Edition of World's Who's Who of Women and was named "Woman of the Year" by the California Legislature in 1987. In 1993 she was awarded "Woman of the Year" by the Women's Coalition. In 2011, Jo Ellen received the "Visionary Award" conferred by the Coast Community College District and was awarded "The Golden Orange" award by the Orange County World Affairs Council. In 2013, she received the David J. Brugger Award for Grassroots Advocacy’ from APTS.  In 2015, she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Jo Ellen received her B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from California State University at Northridge and a second M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Southern California. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled “Constitutional Interpretation: Views of the Early Congresses Concerning Judicial Review and Original Meaning”. She also studied Consumer Economics in the UCLA graduate school.

For two years Jo Ellen was a panelist on NBC's Emmy Award-winning public policy program "Free 4 All" and a frequent guest in television and radio, including appearances on such programs as CNN and Company, The Tom Snyder Show, The Today Show, CBS's News Makers, Live in L.A. and many others. She was a political columnist for the Daily Pilot and has organized and taught seminars in effective political action and media relations. She is a co-founder of the Alpha Political Campaign School and has authored The Political Campaign Manual, the Citizen Action Manual and is currently writing a book on the Magna Carta.