Hi, I'm Ernesto.



Like many East San Jose families, my life has been tested by adversity, forged in resiliency, and defined by achievement. Rooted in the Alum Rock Community for over 40 years, I learned the value of integrity, the importance of trust, and the significance of leadership. We call it, being real.  When I was 3 years old, my Dad got a job “working the line” at the Pepsi Plant in Sunnyvale and we moved to East San Jose. My father worked hard and my mother knew how to stretch a dollar like most parents.  My education began at Ryan and McCollam Elementary Schools, and then Joseph George Middle School. I remember committed and compassionate teachers who instilled the priceless tenets of active learning, collaboration, and respect.

At James Lick High School, I studied hard, excelled in sports, and developed my leadership skills as Student Body President.  In spite of these successes, high school was not easy. I experienced family instability combined with peer pressure. Drugs and gangs had devastating impacts on my family, friends, and neighborhood. With a focus on my future, I graduated from James Lick and left my beloved East Side for California State University Humboldt.  I persisted and excelled even though the odds were stacked against me. As a young Latino from East San Jose, Humboldt was a long way from home and did not look or feel like anything I had ever experienced. 

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After earning my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a Minor in Criminal Justice, I came back home to Alum Rock, yearning to empower my community.  I began working for the County of Santa Clara to protect children, serve families in crisis, and support those suffering from substance abuse.  As I focused on helping others, my family wasn’t immune to challenges. My wife, Yesenia and I purchased our first home and saw our equity grow.  We dreamed of our family’s long term goals and purchased a second home, and then a third. Then, the unimaginable happened, the housing market collapsed and we lost all three to foreclosure. Dealing with a tax lien and the heavy burden of debt, many suggested I claim bankruptcy “to make all of this go away.” We worked with creditors and the IRS, and eventually climbed out of a place we never thought we would be. ​ I kept my word with debtors, and demonstrated personal integrity to my family. 

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Always determined to better myself through education, I earned my Masters Degree in Social Work from San Jose State and a Certificate in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University.  Beyond my professional accomplishments, I am proud to have volunteered for our community on the County’s Human Relations Commission fighting against prejudice and discrimination.  I also served on the City of San Jose’s Parks and Recreation Commission advising on safe, fun places for our children to play and programs for preschoolers to seniors. I also gained valuable experience on the Board of Directors for CET - Center for Employment Training and contributed to their mission of increasing self-sufficiency and meaningful employment to those seeking a brighter future.  

Today, my wife Yesenia and I are proud of our daughters who attended Russo/McEntee Elementary and Sheppard Middle Schools. We restarted the PTA at Russo and served on the SPARC, School Site Councils and Campus Collaborative. Family, service, and education are important to me, as they are to the Alum Rock community.

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  • Appointed Commissioner, Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission

  • Appointed Commissioner, City of San Jose Parks and Recreation Commission

  • National Board of Directors, Center for Employment Training (CET)

  • Chair Strategic Planning  Committee, CET

  • Co-Chair Audit Committee, CET

  • San José-Evergreen Community College District Chancellor’s Community Advisory Group

  • Alum Rock School District, School Site Council

  • Alum Rock School District, Campus Collaborative

  • Founding Member, Russo Mc-Entee PTA

  • Sheppard Middle School PTA

  • Alum Rock Union School District, Superintendent's Parent Advisory Committee

  • Los Dichos Literacy Program, Project Cornerstone, YMCA


  • ASB President, James Lick High School

  • Chair, MEChA, Humboldt State University

  • Bachelor's Degree, Sociology - Minor Degree, Criminal Justice, Humboldt State University

  • Master's Degree, Social Work, San Jose State University

  • Certificate, Center for the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University

  • San Jose State University Research Project of the Year Award 2012

  • Senior Fellow Latino Board Leadership Academy

  • Latino Leadership Alliance, Cohort 4


  • Child Protection Social Worker

  • Certified Career Coach

  • Certified Personal Development Coach

  • Certified Change Management Coach

  • Certified Conflict Resolution Coach

  • Educator - Psycho-Social Education for Children, Youth, and Adults

  • Certified Parent Educator, "Basic Parenting"

  • Certified Parent Educator, "Parenting Without Violence"

  • Certified Parent Educator, "Family Wellness"

  • Certified Facilitator, Men's 52 Week Domestic Violence Program

  • Santa Clara County Youth Program Coordinator - Mayfair Improvement Initiative

  • Santa Clara County Social Services Agency Evaluation and Analysis Coordinator

  • Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Management

  • Drug and Alcohol Prevention Analyst

  • SEIU 521 Union Steward

  • Grant Writer/Grant Monitor

  • Developer, "Social Work Mentor" Website & Android App