New Members Join CalSWEC Board of Directors

CalSWEC is pleased to welcome four new members to its Board of Directors:

With the exception of Ms. Robinson, they officially start their new terms wth their attendance at the board meetings on April 30 and May 1 in Los Angeles.

Read about the officers and other members of the Board of Directors.

Yvonnia Brown has been the Mental Health director of Merced County since August 2014 after serving as assistant commissioner of Adult and Family Services at the Tennessee Department of Human Services. She brings 20 years of experience in mental health, substance abuse, and child welfare to Merced County. Prior to Tennessee, Ms. Brown served as director of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services for Chatham County. She received her B.S.W. at Benedict College in South Carolina and her M.S.W. from the University of South Carolina. Ms. Brown is one of six representatives from the California Behavioral Health Directors Association to sit on the CalSWEC Board.

Vida Castaneda is currently a court services analyst in the Tribal/State Programs Unit for the Judicial Council of California’s Center for Families, Children & the Courts, where she has worked since 2005. She has expertise in the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and family violence in Native American communities. Her work involves ICWA training for judges, attorneys, social workers, service providers, Tribal communities, and probation officers throughout California. Ms. Castaneda also serves as tri-chair of the Bay Area Collaborative of American Indian Resources (BACAIR) group. Prior to these positions, she was a child protective services worker for the City and County of San Francisco for over five years. Ms. Castaneda received her B.A. in sociology from San Diego State University and M.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was Title IV-E Stipend Program recipient and NASW student representative.

Paul McNeil is the dean of Extension at the University of California, Davis. Previously, he was an administrator in Columbia University's School of Continuing Education (formerly the School of General Studies’ Division of Special Programs), where he began his career in 1986 as associate director. He became director in 1987, then associate dean (1997), senior associate dean (2004), vice dean (2008), and senior vice dean (2013). Dr. McNeil is a native of New York state. He did his undergraduate work at Vassar College and earned his Ph.D. in literature from Columbia University, where he also taught during 1981–1986.

Patty Robinson is dean of the Social Sciences and Business Division at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Davis and taught for several years at Sacramento City College before moving on to College of the Canyons in 1999. While at COC, Dr. Robinson taught sociology before serving as department chair and eventually as dean of the Social Sciences and Business Division. Along the way, she developed a keen interest in aging issues and has also worked on collecting life stories of veterans, especially those who served during World War II and Vietnam. Dr. Robinson is president-elect of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics.