William Thomas

William Thomas, PhD – Co-Founder & Chair

College English Adjunct Professor & Free Lance Writer

San Clemente, CA

Bill is an active member of the San Clemente Beaches, Parks & Recreation Commission, Friends of San Clemente Foundation, and other community groups. With his name on the City’s Wall of Recognition for numerous volunteer services, he was also honored as Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and Volunteer of the Year by the City. He is a former college dean and chancellor, serving as an administrator and faculty member for such institutions as UCLA; CalState Northridge, Los Angeles, and Dominguez Hills; and Johnston College. Currently, he teaches English at Saddleback College. Prior to entering academic life, he was active in television and theatre, both in the U.S. and Europe.

 

Mina Santoro

Mina Santoro – Co-Founder & Past Chair

San Clemente, CA

Mina is past president and honorary life member of the San Clemente Junior Woman’s Club and received the Junior of the Year award. Her involvement in the Junior Woman’s Club led to the inception of the Courtney’s SandCastle universal playground project. She is a founding member of the Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation and has dedicated over 10 years to the Courtney’s SandCastle project, bringing the first universally accessible playground to South Orange County for children with special needs. She has a Masters Degree in Health Administration from Loma Linda University (1994) and a BA in Biology from the University of California, Riverside (1992). She has 7 years experience with the Veterans Administration helping to establish community-based clinics. She is happily married to a physician and a proud mom of three children. She has a passion for helping the community and those that are underserved.

 

Jim Nielsen

Jim Nielsen – Co-Founder & Treasurer

San Clemente, CA

Jim is a retired federal law enforcement agent. Upon retiring, he ran a successful forensic accounting and investigations business. He has been declared an expert witness in both federal and state court relative to investigative accounting. More recently, he has devoted his life to his family and to his five grandchildren. He is active in the area of recreation in San Clemente and is Treasurer of both the Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation and the Friends of San Clemente Beaches Parks and Recreation Foundation. He is also bookkeeper for the San Clemente Ocean Festival. He has been intimately involved in the recent opening of the Vista Hermosa Sports Park and Phase I of Courtney’s SandCastle universal access playground.

 

Dr. Andrea Lynn Sinkking St. John

Dr. Andrea Lynn Sinkking St. John, CCC-SLP – Secretary

San Clemente, CA

Andee has been a speech-language pathologist for Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) since 2004. She currently assesses CUSD preschool age children whose parents have concerns regarding their child’s oral communication skills. She was previously employed as a speech-language pathologist in Austin and Georgetown (Texas) public schools for 29 years, providing assessments and therapy for preschool through high school students. Andrea is a 20 year member of SERTOMA (Service-to-Mankind) International, a philanthropic organization which assists children and adults with speech and/or hearing disorders. Academic credentials include Doctorate in Education from University of La Verne (2012), Master of Science in Communication Disorders from University of Redlands (1975), and Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology from La Verne College (1973).

 

John Bandaruk

John Bandaruk

San Clemente, CA

John Bandaruk is a retired teacher/coach. He taught Biology / Chemistry / Marine Science at San Clemente High School for 35 years. John also coached swimming, water polo, cross country, football, basketball and track. He is now in his third year as a commissioner on the San Clemente Beaches, Parks and Recreation Commission , where he first became associated with Courtney’s Sandcastle as the Commissions liaison the Courtney’s Sandcastle Foundation. John and his wife Rita have lived in the Marblehead area for almost 28 years. His children Brandy and Adam both graduated from San Clemente High school. For fun, John enjoys swimming, body surfing, skiing (former member of the Mammoth Mountain ski patrol 1973-77).

 

Edward Doll

Edward Doll

Irvine, CA

Ed is a Licensed Landscape Architect and has worked on many master planned community projects that incorporated varied interactive recreational elements. Ed graduated from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo in Landscape Architecture and Planning, and has enjoyed over 38 years of working with key professionals and clients in the public and private sectors. Originally working with city staff on the design and implementation of the Vista Hermosa Park facilities, Courtney’s SandCastle was a natural transition to be able to work with the CSC Founders to help make the universally accessible playground and sensory garden a reality. Ed continues to provide landscape architectural consulting services of all types and sizes. One of Ed’s goals is to assist the Foundation in broadening the reach of the ideas and experiences now available at Courtney’s SandCastle to other facilities wherever possible.

 

Grace LeRoy

CHOC Hospital Family Support Liaison

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

 

Elizabeth Strother

San Juan Capistrano, CA

 

Board Chair Emeriti

Don Glasgow – Co-Founder & Past President

San Clemente, CA

Don completed a long career as a senior executive in the department store and special store retailing with focus on merchandising, marketing and sales promotion. He was President of May Company in Cleveland, Associated Dry Goods in New York, and Barker Bros. Furniture in Los Angeles. He owned and operated a Minuteman Press printing and copy franchise for ten years. He is past President of the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce and Co-founder and Chairman of the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District. He has been awarded the San Clemente Community Volunteer of the Year twice and has led numerous events for the San Clemente Friends of Beaches, Parks and Recreation Foundation. Don is co-founder of Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation, volunteer to Habitat for Humanity, Fish for Life, and a volunteer for Camp Pendleton Marines Support.

 

Lori Donchak – Co-Founder

San Clemente, CA

Lori is committed to community and youth and has been involved with Courtney’s SandCastle universal playground since 2006. She has deep roots in the St. Margaret’s Episcopal School community in San Juan Capistrano, having recently retired from teaching middle school English there. Lori is a board member of the South Coast Boys & Girls Club. She is a former San Clemente mayor and is completing her second term on the San Clemente City Council. She is a member of the Orange County Library committee. Academic credentials include an MBA from Northwestern University (1980), a B.S. in Linguistics and Education from Northwestern University (1977) and an urban planning credential from Harvard University (2005).

 

Advisors to the Board

Betsy Aasland, MS, OTR/L

Beach Kids Therapy Center Director/Owner
San Clemente, CA

Betsy is a pediatric occupational therapist with over 14 years experience working with children and their families. She started Beach Kids Therapy Center after recognizing the need for a family-centered pediatric therapy clinic in South Orange County. Her holistic approach to the health and well-being of children is at the heart of her work. Through Beach Kids, Betsy is committed to supporting and educating families in an environment that is safe and inviting. SIPT Certified.

 

Justin Alderson

San Clemente, CA

Justin is well known for his commitment to children and childhood development. He is co-founder and president of Hope for Hannah, a philanthropy dedicated to advocacy for kids with autism. He is lead ambassador and advisor for Talking about Curing Autism (TACA) and also a board member of the Maddie James Foundation which is committed to seaside learning for children. You may recognize Justin’s voice from sports broadcast. He has been the main play-by-play baseball voice for Cal State Fullerton since 2005. He is known for his basketball (NCAA D-1), volleyball (Big West Conference) and football sports announcing credentials. Justin is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton. He is married and has two children.

 

John R. Anderson

San Clemente, CA

A resident of San Clemente since 1976, John is a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel. He is a graduate of San Clemente High School, Cal State Fullerton and has a MBA from Webster University.He is currently a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones. He is a member of the San Clemente Exchange Club. John has been married to his wife Tanya for 22 years, and they have a 10 year old autistic son.

 

Melissa Echelberger – Co-Founder

San Clemente, CA

Melissa graduated from the University of Southern California (1989) with a degree in International Relations and Journalism.After marrying husband Dave and moving to the San Clemente area, she has held many volunteer positions, including newsletter chair for the PTA of her children’s school, committee chair of her son’s scout pack and district recruitment chair for the Boy Scouts of America. She was team development chair for the last 5 years for the Relay For Life of San Clemente, and administrator and team mom for Alliance Water Polo.Melissa served many years with the Junior Woman’s Club where she earned district-level recognition and is now honorary life member. Melissa is a founding member of the Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation.

 

Mike Mortenson

San Clemente, CA

Mike is a Senior Attorney with Theodora Oringher where his practice focuses on all aspects of business litigation and sports law. Prior to joining Theodora Oringher, Michael was an associate with Bingham McCutchen, LLP. Before joining Bingham, Michael helped start an investment firm that specialized in distressed corporate acquisitions, and prior to that, worked for the former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, J. Dennis Hastert, and for the former Governor of Virginia, James S. Gilmore. Michael is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he served as the President of the student body. A long-time resident of coastal Orange County, Michael is married and has a son and two rescued dogs. Michael is a lifelong surfer, enjoys all sports and is a die-hard Virginia Cavalier, Anaheim Angels and San Francisco 49er fan.

 

Denise O’Donnell

San Clemente, CA

Denise was an IT Executive for over 30 years, leading international development teams on major software infrastructure projects for companies like Sony, Toshiba and HID Global. She is a successful small business owner and currently owns Three Dog Bakery. Denise is a member of the San Clemente Downtown Business Association. In addition she participates in numerous children and animal foundations. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UC San Diego.

 

Pam Patterson

San Clemente, CA

Pam is currently a Saddleback College Adapted Kinesiology instructor. She has a 25 year background in health, fitness, sports, recreation, and therapy. Pam has taught adapted swimming, adapted water exercise, adapted fitness and strength conditioning, adapted stretch, adapted sports, and adapted outdoor education and recreation in the Adapted Kinesiology department for 6 years. Currently she teaches Adapted Outdoor Education and Recreation, Adapted Fitness Conditioning, and Adapted Stretch.Pam also coordinates the annual Junior Athletic Wheelchair Sports Camp (J.A.W.S.) held at Saddleback College and teaches Adapted Sailing Clinics at Westwind Sailing at Dana Point Harbor. Pam is Executive Director of the International Coalition for the Advancement of Neurology Foundation (www.icantoo.org).

 

Sharla Pitzen

Executive Director, Special Education

Capistrano Unified School District

Sharla is the executive director of special education for Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD). She provides oversight, coordination, and supervision to all major aspects of the infant through elementary special education programs, and also oversees the autism program, which received a Golden Bell Award from the California School Board Association in 2007. She was the President and Founder of Autism Social Videos & More. Prior to administrative positions at CUSD, she was a special education teacher and program consultant for school districts in San Diego, where she was awarded “Teacher of the Year” by the Community Advisory Council. Sharla holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education.

 

Judy Price

San Clemente, CA

Judy is a graduate of Minot State in Minot, ND (1969). She has a major in special education and social science with a minor in psychology and English. She was employed by the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in the field of special education for approximately 40 years. For the last ten years of her career, she was the special education high school advisor and department chair at Los Altos High school coordinating and moderating special education meetings, and doing guidance, college, career and social emotional counseling with the special needs populace. During that time, the department graduated to a full inclusion model for curriculum. Students were mainstreamed for the majority of their graduation requirements with a special education, general education and often times an aide in each classroom. Judy has served on various boards for school baseball, football, soccer and band teams.

 

Past Board Members

Laura Ferguson

City of San Clemente – Assistant to the City Manager/Public Information Officer

 

Angelica Hurtado

San Clemente, CA