The Ventura County Taxpayers Foundation
November 30, 2022
Ventura County Taxpayers Foundation
County of Ventura Board of Supervisors
State of the County 2022 Presentation
Sevet Johnson, PsyD.
County Executive Officer
County of Ventura
2020-21 Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate
Dr. César Morales
County Superintendent of Schools
Ventura County Office of Education
Chief Executive Officer
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families
Chief Executive Officer
Women’s Economic Ventures
Event Photo Gallery
State of County 2022 Guest and Panelist Biographies
Angelina Leaños is the 2020-2021 Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate and a student at California Lutheran University. In high school, she won the “Poetry Out Loud” competition at both the school and county levels and has since returned as a recitation coach for Ventura County. She is a board member for the Ventura County Arts Council and is also the youngest poet in California Poets in the Schools’ history on their Board of Directors
Dr. César Morales was appointed as Ventura County Superintendent of Schools by the Ventura County Board of Education in 2021, becoming the first Latino and first person of color to hold the office since it was created in 1873. In June of 2022, he was elected by voters to a full four-year term.
As County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Morales leads the Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE), an agency that employs more than 700 people and provides teacher training and administrative support services to all of Ventura County’s 20 school districts. VCOE also operates schools for students with special needs and at-risk students and provides career education for students countywide.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Morales played an instrumental role in helping school districts respond and in securing timely vaccinations for educators. He is now focused on meeting the needs of Ventura County’s students, school employees and school districts in the post-pandemic era. He is also committed to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion issues in local schools.
Prior to his appointment as County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Morales served as the Deputy Superintendent for VCOE. He first joined VCOE in 2019 as Associate Superintendent, Student Services. Before that, he served for nearly six years as the Superintendent of the Oxnard School District. He has held leadership roles in the Lawndale and Lennox School Districts in Los Angeles County. He also has experience in the classroom as a middle and high school teacher.
Dr. Morales received his Doctor of Education degree from UCLA and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Morales serves on a number of local nonprofit boards, including the First 5 Ventura County Commission and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin’s Education Advisory Committee. He is also a past President of the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators.
In 2022, Dr. Morales was selected as the recipient of the 2022 Marcus Foster Memorial Award for Administrator Excellence by Region 13 of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). He is also a recent recipient of the El Concilio Latino Leadership Award and was named a “Leader to Learn From” by Education Week magazine in 2017.
Shawna Morris, Chief Executive Officer at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families, is the second CEO since the agency’s inception in 1993. Since joining Casa Pacifica in 2020 in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, she has successfully led the organization through a strategic planning process that focused the agency on meeting the growing needs of the local communities. Throughout the pandemic, Casa Pacifica did not miss one day of providing life changing services – a true testament to the commitment of Casa Pacifica’s amazing team, Board of Directors, agency leaders, community donors and partners.
Her commitment to ensuring access to education, prevention and mental health services is fueled by her life experience of being a child of an addicted parent. Her daily mission is to reduce the pain and suffering of those suffering from mental illness and homelessness.
Prior to joining Casa Pacifica, she was senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Menninger Clinic for 18 years before taking over as president and CEO of the Phoenix House California and Texas for 4 years. The Menninger Clinic is an internationally known psychiatric hospital that treats adults and adolescents with complex mental illnesses, and Phoenix House is a non-profit that is a nationally recognized and accredited behavioral healthcare provider, specializing in the treatment and prevention of substance use disorders and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.
Morris is a native of Kansas who earned her MPA at the University of Kansas. She is a half-marathon and marathon runner and can be found running the hills and streets of Simi Valley in the early morning. Along with her husband, Andrew and their two Labrador pups, she loves spending time outdoors with family and friends.
Kathy Odell is CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures, a 501(c)3 dedicated to the economic empowerment of women. Kathy joined WEV as CEO in 2019 after a rewarding career as a medical technology entrepreneur. As a serial entrepreneur, she has experienced firsthand the challenges of business, and the need to educate the public on the contribution of small business to our economy and their essential role in creating and sustaining vibrant local economies. Kathy is personally committed to advancing women’s entrepreneurship and financial empowerment, locally and globally.
Kathy began her entrepreneurial career in 1985 as co-founder Medical Concepts, which over a five-year period became the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of video systems for minimally invasive surgery, resulting in its acquisition by Karl Storz Endoscopy GmbH, a $2B market leader in rigid endoscopy. Following the acquisition, Kathy served the Storz organization as Managing Director of Karl Storz Imaging and President of Karl Storz Veterinary Endoscopy America until 2000 when she elected to return to the entrepreneurial realm.
From 2002 to 2008, Kathy served as CEO of Inogen, Inc., a Goleta based manufacturer of advanced therapy devices for treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). During Kathy’s tenure, Inogen received over $53M in venture capital. Today Inogen is a public company with a $500M market cap (NASDAQ:INGN).
From 1998 to 2012 Kathy was a director of Pacific Capital Bancorp, N.A. (NASDAQ: PCBC), a regional community bank with $6.5B in assets, where she served as Chair of the Compensation Committee and as a member of the Enterprise Risk and Governance committees.
Kathy presently serves as a board member of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project and the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce, and as a Managing Director of Annovium Products LLC. She is a former board member of Pointe Conception Medical (sold to Arthrex, Inc.) and RVM Scientific (sold to Agilent Technologies).
Kathy is a graduate of Stanford University. She resides in Santa Barbara, with her husband, Charles (Chuck) Bischof. They are the parents of four sons.