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.”
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 four diverse mental health programs: Foster Family Agency Stabilization and Treatment Program (FFAST); LifeSchool; North County Academy; and Special Families Foster Family Agency. 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.
Diana Landis, Director of Finance
Ms. Landis has more than 30 years of experience in accounting, mergers/acquisitions, divestitures, risk management, treasury and other business operations. She holds a B.S. Degree in Accounting from SDSU and an M.A Degree in Nonprofit Governance and Leadership from USD. Ms. Landis began her career with Deloitte and Touche before moving on to Wrather Corporation, where she supervised the accounting departments for Disneyland Hotel and Inn at the Park in Anaheim and the Queen Mary complex in Long Beach managing the acquisition of the Queen Mary operations. She has also supervised avoidable transfer litigation and Proof of Claim administration for the successor-in-interest to a major mortgage company in San Diego.
She brings her broad experience, education, and servant leadership to this worthy organization. Ms. Landis joined the San Diego Center for Children in 2008. As a foster mother and sister herself, she is a passionate advocate for both mental health and children’s services. She is proud to serve the nonprofit sector here in San Diego County.
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.
Pamela Ross, Director of Human Resources
Pamela Ross is a New Jersey transplant who came to San Diego Center for Children with almost 30 years of experience working for non-profit organizations. She spent the last 22 years with Mental Health Systems, Inc. Prior to joining the Center, Pam fulfilled the role of Human Resources Director. In that role, Pam took the lead in overseeing all functions of their Human Resources Department for well over 800 employees.
Before her transition into HR, Pam served in various direct service positions for social service and behavioral health programs, ranging from residential counselor to program manager and head of service.
Pam is a member of the Local and National Society of Human Resources Management and the Healthcare Human Resources Management Association of California. She has been recognized for exemplary leadership in her field, receiving the 2009 HR Professional of the Year Award from the San Diego Business Journal. She was also a 2010 nominee for the Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award.
She holds a BS degree in Sociology from Arizona State University, has her Human Resources Certification, and is a graduate of the East County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.
She and her husband have 3 daughters and 2 very large dogs that they enjoy spending time with. Her favorite pastime is cooking, spending time with friends and enjoying the outdoors.
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.