Title IV-E Stipend Program Director Christine Mathias Reflects on Her Career at CalSWEC

Who: Christine Mathias, B.A., Fresno State University; M.S.W., San Francisco State University

Milestone: Ms. Mathias is retiring from CalSWEC after 15 years to become the Assistant Director of the Bay Area Academy, hosted by CSU Fresno, effective July 6. At CalSWEC, she led the Regional Training Academy Coordination Project for one year before becoming the Director of the Title IV-E Stipend Program. In 2009, she assumed the additional leadership role for the Aging Initiative

More about Ms. Mathias: Prior to joining CalSWEC, Ms. Mathias worked for 15 years at the Edgewood Center for Chldren & Families in San Francisco, where she progressed from child welfare worker to the Director of Campus Operations. Previously, she also was a group home supervisor at the St. Nicholas Group Home and a relief counselor at San Francisco Juvenile Hall,  

RELATED: Leadership Changes in CalSWEC Title IV-E Stipend Program 

CalSWEC News: Tell us about your proudest accomplishment at CalSWEC.

Ms. Mathias: My proudest accomplishments are the development and implementation of the Pathway Program, the implementation of the new IV-E Field Model, and fact that the [Title IV-E Stipend] Program has continued to grow and flourish over the past 15 years. When I started, we had 15 schools in the consortium. I had the privilege of shepherding seven new schools into the CalSWEC consortium. We now have over 7,000 students who have gone through or are going through the program. This is so amazing. 

I am also proud of the articles that I have published with the Pathway group and most recently, with CalSWEC staff, a university agency partnership article that will soon be published in the Journal of Social Work Education.

There are so many other things I have done over the years, but the common thread for me has been a continuous striving for meaningful partnership that renders benefits for all members and the clients we serve. 

CN: And your greatest challenges?

Ms. Mathias: My greatest challenge has been how to get the word out about all the good work that CalSWEC has done over the years. 

I also think one of my greatest challenges was managing the large IV-E budget. With the new fiscal team now in place, it gives me great joy to leave knowing [management of the budget] is in good hands. 

CN: What will you miss most about working at Berkeley and at CalSWEC?

Ms. Mathias: Of course, I will miss my team. They are a fantastic group of people. Talented, smart, and innovative. I have so very much appreciated how they have taken on the challenge of some very large projects recently and have come out on the other side with intact relationships with our constituents.I am very proud of them—[Assistant Director] Carolyn [Shin], [Workforce Development Coordinator] Donna [Thoreson], [Curriculum and Policy Analyst] Elizabeth [Gilman], and [Distance Education Specialist] Tim [Wohltmann].

I will miss all of the working relationship with members of our Board of Directors and Project Coordinators group. I hope to continue some of these working relationships in my new role.

I will miss our Executive Team and especially “the coven.” You know who you are!

CN: What’s the best advice you’d like to give to those you’ll leave behind?

Ms. Mathias: Remember that we are in this for the children and families. Act with integrity always, and take the time to build meaningful relationships with those you work with. 

CN: Tell us about what your new position and what your work will involve at the Bay Area Academy. 

Ms. Mathias: I will be leading the Bay Area Academy. In this role I will have oversight for training and professional development for 12 Bay Area county child welfare services agencies. I am looking forward to putting all that I have learned about collaboration, workforce development, program development, professional development, and research and evaluation into action in partnership with our 12 counties.