Class Notes, Winter 2008


Gretchen Janson is assistant principal of Zela Davis Elementary School in the Hawthorne Unified School District.

Rebecca Puebla (Robertson) is interim assistant principal, Los Angeles County Office of Education in the juvenile courts at female institutional settings.

Benjamin Roberson is dean of students at Pacifica Christian High School in Santa Monica, California.

John Zimmerman was elected to the board of directors and as chair of the audit committee for Integrated Silicon Solution, Inc., a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: ISSI) with significant operations in China, Taiwan, and India. He has also been selected as a participant in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Bridge to Business Program at the University of Florida, a program for postdoctoral work in business education. He currently teaches at the University of Southern Nevada in their newly launched MBA program.


Sabina Chopra was married to Binu Vaidyan on August 24, 2007.

Robert Martellacci, president and publisher of MindShare Learning—Strategic Learning & Technology Solutions, publishes the online magazine The MindShare Learning Report. In June 2008, the MindShare Learning team was honored with a nomination for the Mississauga Technology Awards in the “Best in Technologies” small business category for the innovative use of technology in launching the national e-newsletter.


Rene Hernandez-Cardenache is assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and neuropsychiatry at the University of Miami Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He is the clinical coordinator of the Clinical Psychology Service at the UHealth Psychiatry at Coconut Grove Clinic and the Neuropsychology Assessment Clinic at the mental health hospital.

Jose Lopez is currently a therapist (marriage and family therapist intern) for Starview Community Services in Long Beach, California, working as part of their Full-Service Partnership program, an intensive mental health service program that works with children and their families. Jose noted that he was the only bilingual (Spanish) therapist on his team and there is great need for Spanish-speaking therapists.


Juliet Ballard has recently published her dissertation titled Factors Affecting Retention of First-Year Science and Engineering Students at the University of Michigan. It is available through Ballard is with the University of Michigan Health System Cardiovascular Center (CVC), where she serves as CVC marketing and communications specialist.

Tod A. Burnett was appointed in September 2008 as the ninth president of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California.

Angela (Balsiger) Kahn is now a fully licensed marriage and family therapist working in private practice in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in treating adults and teens with self-injurious behaviors. She gives presentations to schools, counseling centers, PTA s, and organizations to help educate the public about this psychological issue.

George Douglas Warriner sadly passed away recently. He was a member of Cadre 8. He is survived by his wife, Pam.


Don Barthelmess gave the 29th annual Faculty Lecture at Santa Barbara City College. He discussed the diving technologies that emerged in Santa Barbara during the 1960s. The lecture is considered the highest honor for a Santa Barbara City College faculty member and is based on a scholarly subject of general interest.

Brian J. Brady has been named general manager of the Imperial Irrigation District.

Sarah Stuchell (’01, MA ’04) opened her own counseling practice with locations in Malibu and Newport Beach, California. She is finishing her Ph.D. at Loma Linda University.

Jennifer Trubenbach was featured in People magazine for her humanitarian efforts. The seven-page article, included in the September 12, 2008, edition, highlights Trubenbach’s work with Operation of Hope, of which she is executive director. Operation of Hope has performed more than 2,000 free facial reconstructive surgeries for kids in need in Ecuador and Africa.


Stefanie Bernritter, a personal life and business coach, has published her first book and was recently interviewed about it by Artist Interviews magazine. She is giving 20 percent of proceeds to Save the Children (a nonprofit organization that helps children in the U.S. and around the world). Although the book is titled She, it is a collection of verse for both sexes. She offers an insightful look into the complexities of women as well as the discussion of human emotion.

Terri Warren Dobrofsky married Richard Scott Dobrofsky on May 28, 2006.

Leola L. Oliver is assistant principal of Global Education Academy, a Los Angeles Unified School District Charter School.

Nova Reed opened a second office location for Step Stones for Life in Fashion Island, Newport Beach. Step Stones for Life is a life-coaching business dedicated to helping you live with vitality, achieve your highest potential, and create satisfying, healthy, and loving relationships. Nova continues to serve clients at her office in Coto de Caza in Orange County.


Amy Levy launched Amy Levy Public Relations as a full-service communications and public relations practice to help organizations grow through strategic and creative methods.


John Gillham, Ed.D. Organizational Leadership candidate (’09), is the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) coordinator in beginning teacher programs. He goes to LACOE after 10 years in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District.

Cynthia Mauzerall and her husband Brad welcomed their second child Ellie Marie in November 2006. Cynthia is currently a counselor at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho, and also works at the Lee Pesky Learning Center one day a week as a counselor for persons who learn differently.

Dale J. Mitchell is superintendent of Fallbrook Union High School District.


Edward Fiszer released an updated version of his third book Daily Positives: Inspiring Greatness in the Next Generation. He and his wife Asela also welcomed Alexander Peter Fiszer into the world on July 29, 2007.

Mauri-Lynne Heller contributes regularly to the OC Register. In the June 12 issue honoring Father’s Day, the newspaper published a touching story submitted by Heller. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and doctoral candidate at Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, where she is also a member of the Writing and Research Task Force. Her Web site is at


Byron Mello has been named Maryknoll School boys’ basketball program coordinator and varsity head coach in April.


Michael McCambridge was granted tenure at California Lutheran University as associate professor of education.


Tom Johnstone is superintendent of Wiseburn School District serving students in Hawthorne and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Lori Strother became licensed as a psychologist in March 2007. She also gave birth to a beautiful baby boy the same month.


Ned Doffoney, was selected as chancellor of the North Orange County Community College District beginning July 1. Doffoney was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus.

Stan Mantooth, is superintendent of Ventura County Schools.


Marilyn Simpson (MA ’89, PsyD ’95) was awarded the California Psychological Association’s (CPA) Silver Psi Award. The Silver Psi is given to “psychologists who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the association”. Simpson has been active in the San Gabriel Valley chapter of CPA for many years. On a personal note, Simpson was married to Bill Wright in June and has relocated to the Bay Area.


Leanne Neilson (’85, MA ’88, PsyD ’92), associate provost for graduate/adult programs and accreditation at California Lutheran University, became interim provost on April 1.

Dennis Palumbo recently published a new book of short stories called From Crime to Crime. Most of the stories are narrated by a California therapist, which would make this an interesting read for GSEP alumni. Palumbo is a former screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), now a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in counseling creative people. His last book was Writing from the Inside Out (John Wiley), and he also writes for numerous magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Lancet. He also provides commentary for NPR’s All Things Considered.


Charles Helmers who sadly passed away, was the focus of an article published in The Signal-Santa Clarita Valley, on May 8. The article titled “For Helmers, a Short Tenure, Lasting Legacy” focused on his enduring contributions and impression as an educator. Helmers earned a doctorate degree in education from GSEP.


Marilyn Korostoff was honored as the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Award at California State University, Long Beach, given for sustained excellence in teaching.


Gary Bowers retired after 35 years teaching history and U.S. military history in 2007. He spent the last 27 years at Los Alamitos High School where he was recognized seven times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. His career was inspired by Pepperdine professor Diana Hiatt-Michael.


Phillip L. Alvarado has been selected by the Board of Education of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District to as Superintendent-Elect to take the helm of the 19 school district in January 2009. He has served as the assistant superintendent of instructional services since 1998 and has worked with the district since 1979. He is a native of Santa Maria, California, and attended schools in the district.


Richard Newton published his first children’s book titled One Bat- Two Bats in 2007. The publisher was Tate Publishing.


Shirley Renee Roozen (’53, MA ’75) sadly passed away in October 2007. She taught math and science for the Palos Verdes Unified School district for 28 years. She is survived by her husband of 37 years, Keith Roozen, four children, and 11 grandchildren.

Faculty and Students
Faculty member, Susan Hall, assistant professor of psychology, and GSEP alumna ’08, Meghan Owenz, gave a presentation titled “I Didn’t Go to Graduate School for Research! Assessing and Bridging the Research-Practice Gap,” at the American Counseling Association Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii in March.

Reyna Garcia-Ramos, associate professor of education, and GSEP student Khoa Ngo (’10) presented their paper, “Constructing New Futures: After-School for Parents, Students, and Teachers,” at the 14th Annual International Roundtable on School, Family, and Community Partnerships in March in New York City, New York.

Thema Bryant-Davis, assistant professor of psychology, and graduate students Shaquita Tillman (MA ’07), Heewon Chung (’15), and Sheila Shervey (MA ’08) presented at the annual Association of Women in Psychology Conference in San Diego, California, in March.

Former faculty member Terence R. Cannings is retiring as dean of California Lutheran University. Cannings served as associate dean of education at GSEP for nine years.

Kongit Farrell (’10), current master’s candidate in clinical psychology, debuted an original stage presentation providing a framework of postmodern narratives not given a voice in contemporary media. The play was staged at Two Roads Theatre in Studio City, California.

Daniel Ibarrondo (’11) was named the director of corporate, foundation and government relations at Southeastern University. Ibarrondo is completing his dissertation for a Psy.D.

Current Psy.D. student, Rogelio Serrano (’14), LMFT, started a private practice business in Orange, California. He specializes in psychological services for men of all ages and offers therapy for children and families as well in English or Spanish.

Grant John Hagiya, current student in organizational leadership, has been named bishop of the N.W. Methodist Churches.

Megan Stang (’12), current doctoral student in organizational leadership was awarded the Leadership Award for her service to the Division of Student Affairs at Cal Poly Pomona.

Kanika White, doctoral student in education administration, leadership and policy, is principal of Abraham Lincoln Elementary School is Compton Unified School District.

Don St. Clair, doctoral candidate in organizational leadership, was chosen as the chairman of the Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC) Board of Directors. VEDC is the largest nonprofit business development corporation in the region. He has served on the board for three years. He is vice president of marketing for Woodbury University.

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