|10 Jan 2020|
|School Advancement Q&A|
1. What's your role at De La Salle High School? What does a typical day look like for you?
I am the Director of Alumni Relations at De La Salle High School, where I am responsible for the planning and implementation of programs and projects that strategically engage alumni in strengthening programs and provide tangible benefits to alumni and current students.
My typical day consists of planning for upcoming alumni meetings and events. This includes reaching out and meeting with restaurants, caterers, DJs, and other event vendors to put together one of 30+ networking events, alumni vs. student athletic competitions, class reunions, golf tournaments, casino nights or other events that my office executes each year for De La Salle alumni, students, families and friends. I work with an Alumni Board of 16 dedicated members from various years and backgrounds who give their time, talent and treasure each year to support the De la Salle Alumni Association and make our school more affordable to those in need. We do a good amount of fundraising through phone-a-thons, emails, direct asks, donations and sponsorships.
The alumni office is one of the first places alumni contact when they have questions about De La Salle, need help finding a job, want to connect with other alumni, or want to get more involved and give back their time, talent and or treasure to De La Salle. When alumni stop by after many years and want to see the campus, if possible I drop what I am doing to take time and tour them around campus and welcome them back home. When alumni want to share news about finishing college or grad school, new career, getting married or new babies, they contact our office. When they need to let us know of other alumni or family members passing on, they let us know first as well.
2. What projects are you working on at the moment?
Right now we are working on the next Alumni Board meeting that will meet on January 22. Also the next day we will have our Alumni Wrestling watch party and reunion on the 23rd. We have an alumni after work mixer and dinner at the Colombo Club Italian Men’s Club in Oakland in early February. We are also in process of planning for the class of 1970 50 Year Golden Reunion as well as a multi year reunion with classes of 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010 which will happen in the spring and summer. We are also in process of planning our 36th annual Brother Maris Golf Tournament in the spring. We are working on the process of producing our Spring Union institutional magazine. The alumni section will include articles on alumni in the military, our alumnus of the year winner for 2020, a reunion recap and preview for summer reunions and a Staying in Touch;” What’s Happening” section of the magazine consisting of blurbs about what our alumni are currently doing outside the walls of De La Salle.
3. What are your goals for the school year? What challenges do you face?
Goals for the school year include increasing alumni giving participation percentages each year and also increasing the number of alumni attending each event. Challenges include continuing to find ways to bring alumni back to campus and keep them engaged. Social media platforms are a great way to stay in touch with friends and classmates, but they also make our jobs harder. Alumni don’t need to go back to their high school reunions to reconnect with high school friends and find out how their lives are. That is what Facebook is for now. Trying to keep events fresh and fun and new can be a challenge as well.
Of course fundraising is always challenging. Trying to increase giving percentages is difficult in our field because you are always dealing with a growing population pool of alumni. Each year, more graduates finish up, adding to the pool of potential donors. Finding ways to keep up in a world where everyone has a non-profit and for-profit company and are asking for funds for their own causes can be difficult.
4. How much does your experience as a teacher help with the work you're doing today?
My experience as a teacher helps more with teaching ballroom dance to 7th and 8th grade students and in my tutoring company. Of course patience is needed in working with volunteers who I interact with in my alumni relations positions. My specific teaching skills apply directly to hiring tutors and tutoring students. Teaching dance I use my classroom management skills mostly when interacting with adolescents who often do want to participate and respect their dance partners and the teachers, but also for interacting with students who would much rather be on the soccer or baseball field, rather than in dance class.
5. What is the Diablo Valley Tutoring program?
Diablo Valley Tutoring’s mission is to raise student's achievement levels by giving them a clearer understanding and confidence in the subject matter that they are learning at school. Our qualified tutors will design a custom program using the student's own classroom curriculum, instead of a pre-determined program that may not relate to current class work. We are an academic solutions provider offering a customized learning plan for each and every student. We have learning programs that fit a family's needs and preferences. Our tutors are thoroughly screened and background checked prior to hiring. We go through great lengths to match them with students based on personality, learning preferences, and academic strengths and weaknesses.
6. Is there a lot of activity within the alumni community? What are you doing to keep them engaged?
We have a number of different events for alumni each year to try to engage and re-engage them. We have 30+ events each year including networking socials and mixers, athletic reunions and competitions between alumni and students, class reunions, golf tournaments, phone-a-thons, Athletic Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumnus of the Year ceremonies, casino nights, car shows, game viewing parties, and alumni board meetings, retreats and gatherings.
7. How much have the school & the community changed since you graduated from De La Salle yourself?
The mission of De La Salle and what a Spartan comes out of high school like has not changed. Our motto was “Enter to Learn and Leave to Serve” when I was a student and that is still the case today. I think alumni still graduate from De La Salle with those same values. Although when I was a student at DLS, we had Christian Brothers teaching us along with staff and faculty who were not religiously affiliated. Now all the Christian Brother no longer teach or work at De La Salle, their influence and values and morals, still last today. All of the faculty, staff and coaches still teach in the same Lasallian style of encouraging students to be good people first and good students second. Our staff and faculty take those values to heart and teach our students the same. De La Salle is much more competitive academically and athletically than when I attended, but it is still the same college prep school that does an excellent job fostering boys into the young men who will graduate from De La Salle someday and make a positive influence in their communities.
When I was a student, we did not have social media, so that also brings its positives and negatives as well. But overall I think the rise of social media keeps people much more informed, which is a good thing.
8. Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you do off of work?
I received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Saint Mary's College of California (SMC) in 1998. For ten years, worked in the Saint Mary’s College office of Alumni Relations, completing tenure as the Alumni Director. I completed a Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2004, at Saint Mary’s College. While working at SMC, served as the Chair of the West Coast Conference Alumni Directors, the Chair of the Bay Area Alumni Directors, and was a member of Associated Student Advancement Programs and the Council and Advancement of the Support of Education. I founded the Saint Mary’s College Black Alumni Chapter. I teach ballroom dance to 7th and 8th graders in the Moraga, Orinda, Danville and Piedmont, California areas. In May of 2010, I finished up a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Program at Saint Mary’s College and received a Multiple Subject Credential from the State of California. I am a former member of the De La Salle High School Alumni Board of Directors in Concord and also a former member of the De La Salle High School Board of Trustees. I completed a Master’s of Arts in Teaching program at Saint Mary’s College in 2013 and received an Administrative Credential as well. In March of 2018, I started Diablo Valley Tutoring in the Pleasant Hill, Concord, Martinez areas with my wife. I am currently the Director of Alumni Relations at De La Salle High School in Concord where I graduated from in 1994. I am also a current member of the Civic Action Commission in Pleasant Hill, California. This commission advises the City Council on events and programs that improve the quality of life for residents in Pleasant Hill.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my wife Cri and twin 8 year old boys, Kaleb and Kaden. Most of our time is spent taking our boys to practice, games, matches and tournaments. My boys both swim, participate in Tae Kwon Do and play flag football and baseball. We also find time to and enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends. Other past times I enjoy include cooking, entertaining friends and family and going out dancing.
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