A team of talented and committed individuals help lead over 350 employees on eight campuses of the San Diego Center for Children. Each brings an expertise, understanding and personal story to their commitment to making San Diego a healthier and happier community.
Moisés Barón, Ph.D., President and CEO
Dr. Barón, a psychologist with more than 26 years of clinical and administrative experience, joined the San Diego Center for Children as President and CEO in 2014.
Prior to joining the Center, he served for 11 years as the first Assistant Vice President (AVP) Student Wellness at the University of San Diego. Dr. Barón conceptualized and implemented a plan to restructure, expand and integrate health and wellness services, remodel facilities, and established integrated clinical, preventive and educational programs for undergraduate and graduate students. His responsibilities included general oversight of operations, budget and strategic development of the wellness area units, including the Student Health Center (AAAHC Accredited), Counseling Center (APA Accredited Internship Program), Center for Health and Wellness Promotion and Disability Services. He provided ongoing leadership and guidance to university students, faculty and administration on issues related to diversity, inclusion, wellness, health, mental health and crisis response.
Prior to this, Dr. Barón was Director of the Counseling Center from 1997 to 2006 where he managed all of the center’s operations and budget. He has been Adjunct Faculty at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences for over 20 years, and is the Founder of the COMPASS Academic Center at USD where he led a team that developed multidisciplinary and innovative programs to help and support families of children with special needs. He also served as Executive Director of the services arm of COMPASS in the community until 2012.
In addition to his experience at USD, Dr. Barón also worked in private practice as a clinician and in different supervisory and leadership positions in community mental clinics and inpatient facilities in San Diego including: The Center for Counseling at Catholic Charities, Southwood Hospital and Vista Hill Hospital, where he served as Director of Psychology.
Dr. Barón is honored to be part of a team of skilled professionals who are truly committed to serving the behavioral health and educational needs of at-risk and underserved children and youth in our community.
Cheryl Rode, Ph.D., Vice President of Clinical Operations
Cheryl Rode, Ph.D., was thrilled to join San Diego Center for Children’s leadership team in 2010. She is passionate about ensuring that children and families have access to high quality, effective behavioral health care, and to improving the quality of life for children with behavioral and emotional challenges. Dr. Rode brings experience and commitment to developing a clinical workforce that provides outstanding care, using evidence based and proven practices.
Dr. Rode completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at West Virginia University, where she specialized in working with children, teens, and families. She completed her clinical internship training at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry – Veterans Administration Medical Center Consortium; and her postdoctoral fellowship at UCSD and (Rady’s) Children’s Hospital of San Diego. Dr. Rode spent the next 12 years as a member of the Psychology Service at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital as staff psychologist for the child and adolescent programs, and as the Assistant Training Director of Sharp’s APA accredited psychology internship and fellowship programs. Her favorite aspect of working at the Center is to see children and families recover and blossom in our healing environments with the help of truly dedicated staff.
Winston Churchill – “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Roberta (Bobbi) Melgarejo, Chief Financial Officer
Roberta, a San Diego native, is a seasoned financial professional with over 13 years of experience in accounting. Before her current position as the Director of Finance, she was the Controller and Interim Chief Financial Officer for High Tech High charter schools. Roberta started her professional accounting career in the non-profit sector at Community Research Foundation. She also brings valuable experience from roles at St. Madeline Sophie’s Center and Calpine Energy Solutions, LLC.
Roberta leads through encouragement, positivity, accountability, and collaboration. In her current role, she is responsible for the oversight and management of the financial accounting department, including but not limited to accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, budgeting, and financial reporting. Roberta holds a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy, and a master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Management Accounting from National University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and traveling.
Pam Hansen, LCSW, Senior Director of Specialty Clinical Programs
Pam Hansen brings nearly 30 years of experience in the San Diego non-profit and mental health field. Originally from Los Angeles County, Pam moved to San Diego to earn her Masters in Social Work from SDSU. Pam fell in love with the San Diego climate and lifestyle and decided to make the city her home.
Pam has held many key positions at the San Diego Center for Children since joining in 2001 as a Day Treatment Program Manager. As the Director of Children’s Residential Treatment for eight years, she oversaw one of the Center’s largest programs and also developed an expertise and passion for mentoring new managers. She is able to use this expertise in her current role as the Senior Director of Specialty Clinical Programs supervising two diverse mental health programs: Foster Family Agency Stabilization and Treatment Program (FFAST) and North County Academy. Pam also serves as the Center’s Privacy Officer and representative on various San Diego County HHSA committees.
Pam still enjoys all San Diego has to offer, and in recent months, beekeeping with her husband.
Misty Howard, Director of Quality Assurance
Misty Howard has been with the Center since 2004, beginning her career as a Child Development Counselor and Administrative Assistant. She has been in her current role since 2007, providing administrative support to programs to ensure their compliance with all applicable regulations, accreditation standards, contractual obligations, and training requirements. She also chairs the Center’s Quality Council.
Misty is from a small farm town in Missouri and became interested in working for the nonprofit sector while studying Political Science at the University of Missouri. This interest led her to the Peace Corps following college, in which she served two years as an English Teacher in Romania. Since that time, she has lived and worked for various nonprofits on both the East and West Coasts. Today, Misty is a new mom and spends her weekends enjoying San Diego with her family. She is honored to be a part of the Center, an organization that continually works to improve the quality of services provided to San Diego’s children and families.
James McElroy, M.Ed., Principal of San Diego Center for Children Academy
James McElroy, affectionately known as “Mr. Mac”, has served as Principal of the San Diego Center for Children Academy since 2017. Over his 8 years at the Academy, Mr. Mac has held several leadership roles from Special Education Teacher, Program Supervisor to Vice-Principal before assuming his role as Principal.
Originally from New Jersey, Mr. Mac moved to California in pursuit of sunshine and to continue his career in special education. Mr. Mac has a strong passion for education and the mission of the San Diego Center for Children. One of his favorite aspects of working for the Center is the opportunity to build and foster important connections with students, their families and his co-workers.
Mr. Mac graduated from Monmouth University in New Jersey with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, and received his Master’s Degree in Special Education from National University. Outside of his professional and educational pursuits, Mr. Mac enjoys sports, music, and spending time with family and friends.
Ervey Salinas, Senior Director of Residential Programs
Biography coming soon!
Kristi Worley, Director of Philanthropy
Born and raised in San Diego, Kristi Worley has a strong relationship to the San Diego community. Kristi’s successful career in fundraising and development spans over 20 years and within several areas. Over the years, she has developed expertise in annual fund, leadership giving, donor relations and event management within the academic, research and health care settings.
Most recently, Kristi was the Manager of Annual Giving for Scripps Health Foundation. She oversaw the annual fund and leadership giving programs, and worked with the development team to implement the grateful patient program throughout the Scripps hospital system. Prior to this, Kristi worked for nearly 13 years at UC San Diego within the health sciences advancement, and special events and protocol teams.
Kristi is passionate about the mission of the Center and works every day to bring awareness to the community through a multi-channel approach of community outreach, communication and stewardship.