My background: I graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Spanish. I focused mainly on 19th and 20th century latin-american literature. I was a member of the Golden Key, Tau Kappa, Cap and Gown, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Delta Pi honor societies. I started teaching the year following graduation at Littlerock High School in Palmdale, CA. I taught all levels of Spanish, though I mostly enjoyed my Spanish Literature class. The curriculum consisted mostly of peninsular authors, but I would slip in some Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alejo Carpentier, or Mario Vargas Llosa whenever I could.
After receiving my master's degree in Educational Administration, I became a vice-principal at Littlerock H.S. I followed that up with assistant principal positions at Redondo Union and Marina High School, respectively. Between the three schools I gained valuable experience in master schedule, testing, guidance, curriculum, special education, activities, athletics, supervision/discipline, facilities, and budget. This is my 10th year here at Costa, and I cannot say it enough: this is an amazing place to work and to go to school.
My current education: I received my doctorate at Long Beach St. in 2012. I studied the implementation strategy of the iRead program in Escondido Union School District and compared it to the PELP model using a framework of role, strategy, and change theory. The result was the creation of the Emergent Systems Sustainable Change model.
My philosophy: Make school a place where everyone can enjoy success to whatever degree they aspire. I want everyone involved with the school to feel that their effort here matters. Students, teachers, staff, and parents should enter our doors with high expectations, and leave having achieved a high level of success. My hope is that everyone here feels part of our family.
My family outside of school: My wife Michelle is a retired Lt. Col., Air Force. She is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and Test Pilot School. Together we have 4 children. Our oldest son, CJ, is 19, a 2019 Costa Grad and attends the United States Air Force Academy. Katie is 17 and will be a 2021 Costa Grad. She hopes to attend the University of Utah studying GeoSciences. Jake is 14 and is a cadet at the New Mexico Military Institute. He plays the Euphonium in the band, loves Math and Science and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Joe is 9, is in the 4th grade at Pennekamp and loves basketball, art, playing the bass guitar, and the cello. I have an older daughter, Bronwyn, who is 27 and lives in Hollywood and works with Zadig and Voltaire. Michelle and I also have an adopted daughter Christina, who is 29 and she teaches at Torrance High School. She and John live in Torrance with their daughters - Fiona and Briana who call me "Pops." We live in Manhattan Beach.
What I'm reading: The Essential Marcus Aurelius, edited by Jacob Needleman and John Piazza. A series of maxims on living a good life and how to interact with the world in a positive way.
What I'm watching on TV: I just finished Stranger Things 3, and have started my 15th run through of all 7 Seasons of The West Wing. Try and stump me with WW trivia. It's not possible.
Summer 2019 - In that spirit, here are my top 10 favorite episodes from The West Wing:
1. Celestial Navigation - woot canao...this is the best writing of season 1, which is a season that won every Emma during the height of The Sopranos. From Sam and Toby springing Judge Mendoza to Josh's secret plan to flight inflation. So funny and so good.
2. In Excelsis Deo - Mrs. Landingham asking Toby if she can come along to Arlington makes me cry every time. Any WW holiday episode is great, but this one is fantastic.
3. Hartsfield Landing - The President playing chess with Toby and discussing the "Bartlett psychosis" and the President asking Sam if he wants to come inside then telling him someday he will be president and to not be afraid.
4. 25 - The intensity of this episode and the entrance of John Goodman as the Speaker who assumes the presidency. The ramifications of this episode guide the rest of the series.
5. The Supremes - The scene with Evelyn Baker Lang and Christopher Mulready is great writing and acting. Josh's "I love her mind. I love her shoes," and how he (and CJ) court Senator Pierce, and EBL saying to Toby "Josh Lyman is gesticulating wildly," all make me laugh every time.
6. And Surely Its To Their Credit - How the team welcomes Ainsley Hayes to the team at the end of the episode gets every time, and is a fine example of empathy and team work. Lionel Tribbey with his cricket bat is hilarious...Pinafore or Penzance?
7. What Kind of Day Has It Been - There is an unbelievable tension and emotion in this episode. The assassination scene outside the venue is breathtaking. Leo saying the hand signal to tell if the Shuttle lands successfully "looks like a hip hop gesture" is funny every time.
8. Take This Sabbath - This episode is great for many reasons, but Josh spitting out the cold coffee all over himself might be the funniest moment in all 7 seasons. The scene between Toby and his Rabbi is great.
9. The Birnam Wood - Leo's heart attack...enough said. Great cameos in this episode, and a demonstration of courages leadership in believable the Peace Accord could happen.
10. In God We Trust - Again, great episode all around, but goes in my top 10 due to The President and Senator Vinnick eating ice cream scene. Talk about two heavy weight actors going at it. I read somewhere that most of it is ad libbed, which is simply awesome.
Making this list was impossible. I love everything about this show, and dare anyone to stump me anyplace, anytime. As of October 2019, I'm watching it through for the 15th time.
Summer 2018 - My Favorite Songs that have cowbell (in no particular order):
Drive My Car - The Beatles
Are You Gonna Waste My Time? - Zeus
Honky Tonk Women - The Rolling Stones
Make Some Noise - Beastie Boys
Slow Down - Truckstop
Funk #49 - James Gang
Got to Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac
Rock of Ages - Def Leppard
Summer Playlist - 2017
I haven't updated my music information in a while, so here's my summer playlist:
Vancouver - Reckless Kelly
Alabama - Cross Canadian Ragweed
1968 - Turnpike Troubadors
Last Time I Let You Down - Shooter Jennings
Gone To Carolina - Shooter Jennings
Nurse With The Pills - Whiskeytown
Slither - Velvet Revolver
Into The Mystic - Van Morrison
Grindstone - Uncle Tupelo
Volver, Volver - The Mavericks
Sway - The Rolling Stones
Murder (Or A Heart Attack) - Old 97s
Your Time Is Gonna Come - Led Zeppelin
Between Jennings and Jones - Jamey Johnson
Sign of the Times - Jack Russell's Great White
87 Southbound - Hank Williams III
Reach out and let me know what's on your playlist...
Summer of 2015 - the 30th Anniversary
In July of 1985 Bob Geldof organized the first world benefit concert-Live Aid to raise money and awareness to end hunger in Ethiopia. It was held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia and 65 separate acts performed. Some were memorable and some were forgettable, but these to me were the best of the best. I was only going to list my top 10 but two more slipped in.
1. Queen - everyone else on this list is a distant second to what Queen does at Live Aid. If you have never seen it, go now please. Freddie Mercury sealed his place as the best frontman ever with this performance. He's so versatile: balladeer, rocker, provocateur. His vocal range is staggering. He owns the audience.
2. Mick Jagger and Tina Turner - ok if you think you ever want to get on stage and rock it, watch Tina work. That she pushes Mick hard is equally entertaining. She looks like a rock goddess and Mick looks like he was out doing yard work when they called him over to Wembley. You can't not watch fascinated.
3. U2 - this venue and moment was perfect for them, and they deliver a moving performance. Bono is in complete control of the audience. Look at the audience shot right at the beginning of their set. The place was electric. Remember: this is two years BEFORE The Joshua Tree when they become the biggest band in the world. Amazing.
4. INXS - the band is really tight and Michael Hutchence's vocals are eerily compelling. This is at the height of their career. Kick will come out in about 18 months and that's their last big album.
5. Elton John and George Michael - Wham was so over that Elton didn't even introduce Andrew Ridgeley. You can tell he was embarrassed about the oversight but he was right. The world saw George Michael as a solo performer for the first time. He nails the vocal.
6. Black Sabbath - long after their estrangement and Ozzie looked awful but they sound like they've been performing together every night.
7. Run DMC - a card full of rock bands and an entirely white crowd. They show up with a form of art ahead of its time and kill it. "We crash though walls and bust out ceilings..." Transformative moment in music - It’s surreal.
8. Bryan Adams - good energy, good sound and he had to open. Not easy but he understood and brought it.
9. Tom Petty - one of the best live performers of all time and he sounds great here. He starts off the set behind the beat on the vocal but rallies and the Heartbreakers are pros.
10. Hall and Oates with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks - Daryl Hall seems a little too up but dang, David Ruffin during the worst period of his addiction before his death still has that voice...that voice.
11. Duran Duran - the band was on, Simon's vocals are spot on and their energy matches the moment.
12. Crosby, Stills and Nash - not the best and Neil Young ruins it but come on, they were at Woodstock too. That's pretty cool.
1st Wave, New Wave - 2015:
In honor of the 30th anniversary of the class of 1985 of Cleveland High School, here are the most important New Wave bands, songs and albums. If you want to understand the music of that time period, this is a good place to start. These bands are the most influential for the time, although I did not necessarily name their hit song or songs, or their biggest selling albums. These are the songs that new wavers at the time were going crazy over:
The Police - So Lonely (Outlandos d'Amour, 1978)
Devo - Gut Feeling (Q:Are We Not Men? A:We Are Devo!, 1978)
Generation X - Promises Promises (Generation X, 1979)
The Cars - Double Life (Candy-O, 1979)
The Vapors - Spring Collection (New Clear Days, 1980)
OMD - Electricity (Organisation, 1980)
The English Beat - Mirror in the Bathroom (I Just Can't Stop It, 1980)
U2 - I Will Follow (Boy, 1980)
Trio - Boom Boom (Da Da Da, 1981)
INXS - Spy of Love (Shabooh Shoobah, 1982)
Simple Minds - Premonition (Celebration, 1982)
New Order - Blue Monday (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983)
UB40 - Cherry Oh Baby (Labour of Love, 1983)
The Smiths - How Soon is Now? (Hatful of Hollow, 1984)
Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours (Catching Up With Depeche Mode, 1985)
Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Songs From the Big Chair, 1985)
Dead or Alive - Lover Come Back (Youthquake, 1985)
R.E.M. - Driver 8 (Fables of the Reconstruction, 1985)
The Cure - In Between Days (The Head on the Door, 1985)
The Psychedelic Furs - All That Money Wants (All of This and Nothing, 1988)
Songs that changed my life forever the first time I heard them:
For each one I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard the song.
1. Hotel California (Eagles, 1976) - I was listening to bubble gum music before a family friend, Brenda Cox, who was a teenager at the time (I was 10), said "come over here, you need to hear this." She dropped the needle on the hifi turntable and there was those guitars. I was never the same.
2. Roxanne (The Police, 1979) - I was 13 and a friend Mike Dean had the tee-shirt and a cassette. He played it in a car we were riding in to a basketball game. It wasn't anything like we were hearing at the time. We all bought vans and spiked our hair.
3. Sweet Child of Mine (Guns and Roses, 1988) - It came out in 1987 but I was on a LDS mission. It was one of the first songs I heard when I got home. I was driving through Little Cottonwood Canyon the first time I heard it. I grew out my hair and started wearing a bandana under my ball cap.
4. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana, 1991) - I saw it on MTV in my apartment while I was a Texas A&M. I took off the bandana and put on a flannel shirt.
5. If There Was a Way (Dwight Yoakam, 1991) - Unfortunately I did not hear the song until 1993. I was watching a movie and the song was in that movie. I don't remember anything else about the movie except wondering who was that and what was that song? It was time I got back to my Texas roots and I put on the hat and boots, picked up a guitar and started writing music. I'd say that song really changed my life.
Greatest singers ever:
Getting the top 3 in the right order was the hardest part of this list.
1. Otis Redding
2. David Ruffin
3. Marvin Gaye
4. Aretha Franklin
5. Sam Cooke
6. Patsy Cline
7. Percy Sledge
8. Al Green
9. Ray Charles
10. James Brown
11. Scott Weiland
12. Janis Joplin
13. Smokey Robinson
14. Little Richard
Important Pandora stations:
1. Ambrosia - if you are my age, just type it in...you will not be disappointed. You'll get the best band of the 70s by far as well as Little River Band, Seals and Crofts, America, and England Dan and John Ford Coley...etc.
2. Foo Fighters - gives you all their great hits plus Weezer and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
3. Bee Gees - Disco...'nuff said. Mr. Mancilla will scoff when the Air Supply tracks come on, but those are his insecurities, not yours.
4. Bread - you need David Gates in your life, but you will get Gordon Lightfoot on this station too.
5. Howard Jones - you get all the great 80s music: Flock of Seagulls, Urban League and The Cure.
6. Dwight Yoakam - for some reason they play old country on his station, which is great. You get his rockabilly, but don't have to suffer through Rascal Flatts. Johnny, Buck, Waylon, Hank, and Merle are the other artists they play.
7. Tesla - hairbands station with an occasional Metallica song thrown in. Good stuff.
8. Stone Temple Pilots - you get the grunge stuff, but not too many Nirvana songs.
9. The Temptations - they play all the 60s Motown.
10. Tom Petty - Eagles, Neil Young, Aerosmith, and other great American rock bands.
My summer playlist 2011 (albums) is (in no particular order):
Wasting Light Foo Fighters
Twisted Wires Tesla
Honky Tonk Heroes Waylon Jennings
Contraband Velvet Revolver
Make Believe Weezer
Guitars, Cadillacs Dwight Yoakam
Stadium Arcadium Red Hot Chili Peppers
Guitar Man Bread
Abbey Road Beatles
Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane Elvis Costello
Running on Empty Jackson Browne
Exile on Main Street The Rolling Stones
The Guilded Palace of Sin The Flying Burrito Brothers
Ten Songwriters/Bands You Should Know:
I know there's different genres here, but these are 'bucket list' level songs.
Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come
Percy Sledge - I've Been Loving You Too Long (Otis Redding's version is amazing)
Temptations (David Ruffin) - I Wish It Would Rain
Elvis Costello - Alison
Carole King - So Far Away
Jim Croce - I Got A Name
Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road
Dwight Yoakam - If There Was A Way
Merle Haggard - Are the Good Times Really Over
Tesla - The Way It Is
Triumph - Fight the Good Fight
My last movie: Mission Impossible: Fall Out. Got out of it exactly what I expected going in. Fun movie. Alec Baldwin is great.