While it is no secret that I am a survivor of clergy abuse, it is the journey of integration, transformation and application that is most telling about my accomplishments and the life that I celebrate. Growing up in Northeast Los Angeles meant living in a rough neighborhood and contending with all manners of violence and abuse, but despite my neighborhood, or perhaps because of it, I have gone beyond surviving to thriving.
Attending Loyola High School led to college, and in 1981, I earned a degree in history from Stanford. After three years preparing for ordination at St. John’s Theologate, I took what I thought would be a one year leave of absence before returning to seminary studies. I landed at St. Bernard’s High School teaching Social Studies and Ethics instead. A job with the Los Angeles Unified School District as an ESL / Bilingual Social Studies teacher came next as I completed my teaching credential at Mount St. Mary’s College and then my Master’s degree in education with an administrative services credential from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1988.
My wife and I moved to San Diego County, where I continued to teach in middle school and then went on to work as an administrator in the Sweetwater Union High School District, later moving to the Vista Unified School District. During that time I began my doctoral studies at UCLA, which I completed in 1998 at the University of San Diego in Educational Leadership, while teaching at National University in the Teacher Education Department. I continued to build upon my multilingual, multicultural and spiritual background in the Department of Learning and Teaching at the University of San Diego, where I prepared outstanding teachers for service in the complex international San Diego/Tijuana region.
As a professor, I participated in a week long summer program for Catholic University faculty. At this time, the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal was in the news daily and as a result, I started experiencing flashbacks. More abuse memories were triggered as my sons approached the age I was when I was abused. My involvement with healing, education, and writing related to abuse in schools, churches and other organizations grew from my desire to integrate my personal, professional, and spiritual experiences. At that time, my personal journey made me the subject of numerous radio and newspaper interviews, magazine articles, and one of the subjects in the book, Crosses: Portraits of Clergy Abuse, by Carmine Galasso.
While I list some of my academic publications that illustrate the specialized research skills I bring to understanding individual and organizational change, a workbook I have written probably speaks most directly to the integration of my experiences, abilities, and values. Healing the Sexually Abused Heart: A Workbook for Survivors, Thrivers, and Supporters, is integration of various disciplines that led me to become a certified Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) facilitator, and soon to be certified TIR facilitator trainer. I make use of all of this background through individual, group and organizational education and transformation in academic and non-academic settings.
I am currently an active member and leader at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, California, which has become known nationally for its active work in building and a safe church environment. As a Commissioned Minister related to Healing and Healthy Church Environments, I lead trainings for parents, volunteers and employees in the Safeguarding God’s Children curriculum, safe church and healing community practices. I also sing and play guitar for special occasions. Husband, father, educator, survivor and thriver, I am privileged to help others through the educational and integrative processes that lead to individual, group and institutional wholeness and transformation.
Consultant 2008 – Present
My role is to help people see and solve individual and systemic problems, and become transformational leaders and followers
- Design and lead customized workshops for university faculty, staff and administrators related to increasing individual, group and institutional multicultural competency and excellence.
- Coach pre and post-tenure faculty to achieve and integrate productivity, self-care and purpose.
- Lead curriculum and assessment design consultant for Child Friendly Faith Project education and training program, a national, interfaith, social change effort to abolish child maltreatment and increase faith based organizational coherence and vitality.
- Develop printed and on-line psycho-educational resources for victims of sexual abuse and other trauma, transforming negative impacts of trauma.
- Facilitate Trauma Incident Reduction sessions for trauma survivors, relieving individuals of PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms.
- Provide Trauma Informed Care technical assistance for Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Agency, leading to improved healing services and effective strategic planning
Educator 1984- 2008
I have prepared leaders to serve in complex international, local and global communities.
- Led collaboration among subject matter experts at the University of San Diego to re-write credentialing process and become an early adopter of the California Standards for the Teaching Profession.
- Created and taught 12+ undergrad and graduate innovative, action oriented teacher education courses in two university settings, fostering culturally and linguistically inclusive teaching and learning
- Guided and oversaw statewide curricular and instructional alignment among satellite campuses for program accreditation at National University, leading to program integrity and expansion.
- Provided curriculum leadership for social studies, physical education, foreign languages departments at middle school and high school levels, promoting equity, inclusion and academic success for at risk students.
CV or additional information available on request.