The leadership team for Community Council of Idaho, Inc. is composed of the agency’s directors and executive management. Together, along with the CEO, they strive to continue to move the agency forward.
Ruben Lugo, Chief Operating Officer
Ruben Lugo grew up in a very rural area of eastern Oregon but is originally from Houston, Texas. He has been working with CC Idaho for nearly 20 years, and was promoted to Deputy Director in late 2014 before his current position as COO. Before that, he held several positions within the Migrant & Seasonal Head Start and Accounting departments. He has worked in the field of early childhood education and child care for over 25 years in multiple states. Before coming to CC Idaho, Ruben worked for the Maricopa County Head Start in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He attributes much of what he has learned about serving children and the role of families and communities in supporting their growth to his employment there as a Homebase Visitor.
Elisha Suldan, Chief Financial Officer
Autumn Blewett, Human Resource Director
Korene Gonzalez, Director of Employment and Training
Arnold Cantu, Clinic Administrator
Arnold Cantu has been working for the Community Council of Idaho for 5 years. He is now the Clinic Administrator, and prior to that he worked for the State of Idaho for 23 years as a counselor at the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Arnold attended the University of Alabama for three years and completed his degree in Human Resources and Training Development at Idaho State University. He went on to complete his Masters in Counseling at Western Washington University. He recently completed the Executive Training program in Health Care Administration at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Little known fact: He collects antique sports books.
Brandy S. Perez, Staff Attorney
Brandy S. Perez is the Program Director and attorney for Familias Unidas, a non-profit immigration legal services provider located in Caldwell, Idaho. Brandy was born in Santa Ana, California, but moved to the Oklahoma- Arkansas area when she was in middle school. She graduated from Hugo High School in Hugo, Oklahoma in 1997 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in 2002. Until 2010, Brandy worked as a probation and parole officer in Fort Smith, Arkansas, specializing in the supervision of adult sex offenders. As a second-generation immigrant, Brandy already had an interest in immigration law, but her interactions with the immigrant community in Fort Smith pushed her to continue her education so that she could work more closely with them. After moving with her family to Idaho, Brandy decided to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer, graduating with a Juris Doctor from Concordia University School of Law in 2018. While in law school, Brandy participated in the Concordia University School of Law Immigration Clinic and provided pro bono legal services to immigrant families through Project LAURA, a nonprofit serving families seeking asylum through the immigration court. As a third-year law student, Brandy was hired by Community Council of Idaho to start an immigration program, which became Familias Unidas. For the first year, Brandy provided immigration legal services to low-income families in Canyon County as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative until she was admitted to the Idaho State Bar in October 2018. Brandy is a member of the American Immigration Lawyer Association and practices immigration law exclusively. Brandy’s focus is on the reunification of families through direct representation at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or the Immigration Court. She enjoys spending time with her husband and five beautiful children, reading, and knitting.
Merissa Douglas, Occupancy & Compliance Specialist
Merissa Douglas is an Occupancy and Compliance Specialist with over thirteen years of compliance experience while working in the tax and finance arena. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2009. Merissa specializes in affordable housing and housing management with an emphasis in economic and community development and is working on her certifications in Rental Housing Development Finance and Housing Development Finance. Though born in Virginia, she considers herself an Idaho native as most of her childhood and adulthood has been spent in Idaho, particularly the Treasure Valley.
Merissa has been married for over 17 years and has two children. She lives in rural Idaho where she raises chickens and rabbits. She also loves graphic and website design and giving back to her community. She’s always ready for a fundraiser.