Steve Ngo was re-elected to the San Francisco Community College District Board of Trustees in November 2012, first winning the office in 2008.
Steve was born in Lexington, Kentucky, received his B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles, his Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He lives in the Richmond with his wife, Tina Lee, a San Francisco native, and alumna of Lowell, City College of San Francisco, Mills College, and Stanford University.
Upon taking office, Steve moved to cut the salaries of the District’s highest paid administrators and voluntarily accepted a similar pay decrease to ensure funding for vital investments, highlighting his efforts to aggressively address structural costs, seek tougher fiscal accountability measures and ethics reforms. His leadership saved the college $2 million annually. While in office he has also fought to shore up the college’s reserves, pay for its long-term debt, as well as streamline governance and administrative structures.
Additionally, Steve spent considerable effort on improving college completion opportunities for all students, confronting the structural barriers that make it harder for students to reach their educational goals. He advocated for funding and practices to better integrate the path from high school to college, pressed for greater efficiencies in the financial aid office, expanded district-based work-study, and created a revolving fund for veterans, which provides temporary aid for housing, books and fees. With 73 percent of incoming students bottlenecked for years in non-transferable basic skills classes, Steve also fought for, and secured, fundamental curriculum reform as covered by the New York Times.
Steve’s commitment to civil rights and education is rooted in his family’s refugee experience. After fleeing Vietnam for the United States, Steve’s mother worked in the service industry as a waitress and nail salon technician in New Orleans, Louisiana. After 20 years, she eventually opened her own nail salon business. His father took jobs as a busboy, roofer, and chef, and later attended community college to become an auto body repair technician. Steve’s mother only had a third grade education and his father only completed the eighth grade, but in America they were able to build a better life through hard work and vocational education. Steve is the first in his family to graduate from college.
Before winning office, he became an attorney, beginning his career at Minami Tamaki LLP, a San Francisco law firm known for its civil rights work and community advocacy. Prior to law school, Steve received the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship, serving as a budget consultant for the California State Assembly Budget Committee. He continued his public service as a law clerk for the California Attorney General’s Energy Task Force, a specially formed group that pursued price gouging and other unfair business practices claims.
Steve continues to practice law at Lozano Smith LLP, representing school and college districts throughout the state, and remains active in his community. He is a member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, having served three consecutive terms as Chair of its Civil Rights Committee, and co-founded Citizen Hope, a community building and service organization. In 2010, he founded the Pham Fund at the Asian Women's Shelter, a pilot fund specifically designated for domestic violence survivors and their children to support them in seeking a vocational certificate or a college degree, and which was created in memory of his mother, who passed away from cancer in 2006. She would have turned 50.