November 27, 2017 - The Record

Communities of Practice:
Solving Problems Together in the Educational Leadership Program

How do you go from leading children in a classroom to directing the entire school? That is the question that Dr. Louise Santiago tries to help students answer as Faculty Chair for the Educational Leadership program in the Graduate School of Education.

“It is a huge shift in focus for educators to come out of the boundaries of the classroom and become a good instructional leader,” says Santiago. “The needs are way more magnified.”

The Educational Leadership program is partnered with the school districts of Vallejo, Napa Valley, Fairfield-Suisun, and Vacaville. It is also preparing a growing number of educators from school districts in Novato and Marin.

Dr. Louise Santiago“You’re called to grow beyond yourself,” explains Santiago. “To lead people, you need to shift yourself physically and mentally to be different so that people can follow you. You can’t let yourself get stuck.”

The master’s program meets every Sunday, 12:30-7:00, and prepares students for leadership roles throughout the entire K-12 spectrum. Subjects span from budget planning, the functioning of school boards, and how to manage teams of adults.

“Last year, we introduced Communities of Practice to our students, based on an external research project that I’m involved in.” says Santiago. “By bringing educational leaders together, they get to share their experiences and find new ways of solving problems within their limitations.”

2015 alumna of the program, Natalie DeBritz, is in her third year as assistant principle at Golden West Middle School in Fairfield. Her current initiatives include Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a program that encourages students for positive behavior. As a two-grade middle school, she says they are constantly building and rebuilding with the incoming and departing classes of students.

“Louise was my first teacher and coach in the Educational Leadership program,” says DeBritz. “Her individualized instruction was a huge advantage.”

Santiago moved to Vallejo from San Francisco in 1991, and her two daughters grew up in the Vallejo City Unified School District. Before coming to TUC, Santiago was a part of a national research study as 1 of 100 high achieving principals and named one of the top 10 from California.

“Before, people looked to leaders to tell them what to do. Now, we want leaders who will figure out problems with us because each problem is different,” Santiago imparts.


Working for Healthier Lives
Mey Saephan, MPH, 
CEHS 2014

During her time as a student, Mey Saephan was the Vice President of Student Affairs and was involved in a number of other clubs and research. She has worked for a broad range of organizations, including a health justice organization focusing on reducing health disparities, a small nonprofit educating elementary students on nutrition and physical activity, and Yolo County as an Emergency Planning and Training Coordinator. Currently, she is with the City of Vallejo as an analyst with the department of Public Works, bringing a public health perspective into her role. 

Mae Saephan, CEHS 2014What brought you to TUC?

Initially, I was headed in the Physician Assistant route and was exploring universities in California that offered the program. Since, TUC has a joint Physician Assistant/Master of Public Health program, I did my research on what Public Health entailed as I did not know much about it. 

I've always wanted to help people heal and live healthier. I falsely believed being a clinician was the only way. Learning about public health broaden my perspective and allows me to do what I've always wanted on a larger scale. 

What do people often fail to consider when they try to prepare their family for an emergency?

Families often forget to plan for emergencies and don’t have a “go bag” of essentials they can just grab and go during emergencies. Some things that I keep in my go bag are: first aid kit, important documents, cash, flashlights, granola bars, and matches. Don’t forget medicine for family members, including pets.

Working locally, what do you find are this area’s greatest needs for public health workers?

Locally, there is a lack of public health workers in all sectors and areas. With an MPH, you are trained in data analysis, program development, and evaluation. With this knowledge, you can branch out to other areas that you might not have considered or think you qualify for, but you do! Currently, I am working in the department of public works, which utilizes many of the skills I learned from my MPH and honed through my other work experiences.


Congratulations to the 2017 CSHP Quiz Bowl Winners!

CSHP Quiz Bowl ChampionsThe Quiz Bowl competition at the annual California Society of Health-system Pharmacists (CSHP) Seminar, the largest state pharmacy event in the nation, is a challenging "Jeopardy"-style contest between California's schools of pharmacy. During the competition, students respond to questions based on a wide variety of topics relating to pharmacy practice, such as cardiology, diabetes, immunizations, and travel medicine, earning a pre-determined amount of points for each correct answer. 

This year's winning team from Touro University consisted of Nick Alonzo, Atoosa Attar, Amrit Bains, Gurjit Bains. Alex Cullum, Ryan Hoh, Nazhia Hussain, Htwe Khin, Cindy Nguyen, Trang Tran, and Gabriela Young.

Congratulations to the Touro University team and all who participated!

For more, visit Dr. Rae Matsumoto, Dean of the College of Pharmacy's Facebook Page.


Our Staff: Robert Mullins, Facilities

Robert MullinsOriginally from Wisconsin, Robert Mullins served in the Army after high school as a field wireman. Afterward, he returned home to the US where he has worked in shipping, hardware supply, and apartment maintenance. He has been in TUC facilities since 2014, and you can see him setting the important pieces of campus life into motion, from lab furniture to event setup.

What was it like to serve in Germany during the height of the Cold War?

At first I was scared to death, but after I got to know the army and the language a little bit better, it was actually a blast. Afterwards, I stayed two and a half years in Europe, working at a shoe factory and learning German as I went. I remember one time I thought I was asking someone to make change with my mark, but I was actually asking them to keep all of my money.

What did you do when you came back to the states?

I couldn’t speak English when I came back. I was still thinking in German. I met my wife in a grocery store where she worked. She’s retired now, but for 17 years, we worked together on apartments in Rohnert Park and then Vallejo. She was the apartment manager, and I did the maintenance. We’re both laid back and get along really well.

What do you like about working at Touro?

The variety. There’s always something different to do. The people too. Everybody always seems pretty happy. And the history of the island.

Can you tell us a bit about your family? How do they shape who you are?

My family instilled in me a sense of respect for my elders, to treat each other how you want to be treated, and to be kind. That’s pretty much how I have tried to live my life. Everybody deserves a chance.

What are you interests outside of work?

Archery, model railroading, or work on my truck. When it’s nice weather during the summer, my wife and I go camping out to the coast, out towards North Jenner Beach and Eureka. I love the coast, that’s one reason I stayed here.