As the Dean of Students I have the opportunity to shape the student experience and help facilitate Simpson's goal of being a Christ-centered learning community. I work with a caring and committed staff that provide direct support for students and student leaders. Some of my other responsibilities include serving as the Title IX Coordinator, a member of the President’s cabinet, and leading the retention committee.
Some of our goals in student development are to: (a) support the mission of the university, (b) promote learning outside the classroom, and (c) challenge and support students to grow and learn holistically (intellectually, spiritually, socially, and emotionally). These goals are accomplished through a variety of programs and services led by a terrific group of professionals that interact with students on a daily basis. In the end, we want to see students not merely survive their university experience, but truly thrive, to come to a deeper understanding of who they are in Christ, understand the gifts, talents, and strengths they possess, and leave Simpson prepared to lead as a member of their community and God's kingdom.
I am a proud Simpson alumnus and also completed a MA degree in Houston, TX. I started my career in higher education at Simpson, where I worked in Spiritual Life from 2002 until 2007. After Simpson, I moved to Houston and worked in Residence Life at a Christian liberal arts university from 2007 until returning to Simpson during the summer of 2015. I love working with college students and am happy to have the opportunity to give back to a University that gave so much to me during my time as a student.
I spend most of my free time with family. I am married to Amy, who is also a Simpson alumnus. We have been married for 16 years and have two children, Haley and Aden. I was born and raised in Nor Cal and am excited to be back in Redding. I enjoy visiting local coffee shops and drink way too much coffee... or just enough. I also enjoy reading, mostly books about faith and theology. I spend as much time as possible outdoors and am always looking for new adventures with my family.
As the Associate Dean of Campus Life, I oversee the student experience outside the classroom, including: Residence Life, Housing, Campus Life programming, Spiritual Formation, Career Services, Student Government, Commuter Life, Intramurals, and Clubs. We seek to provide a hospitable community through meaningful experiences, genuine relationships, and transformative spiritual opportunities.
Sarah is a wife, mom, mentor, author, leadership coach and Simpson alum trying to offer others the grace to be and the room to become. Holding different roles within higher education, she has lived, worked and journeyed alongside college students for almost two decades. With master’s degrees in Christian Ministries and Spiritual Formation, she values developing whole persons, finding creative pathways for connection, and building authentic leaders. She has the market on developing teams, cultivating belonging and living wholeheartedly.
As the Director of Spiritual Formation, I am a member of the Campus Life and Student Development Staff. Our Office provides services that encourage student participation in missions, community service, and campus ministries. Our programs and activities are intended to encourage Christian faith exploration and nurture spiritual formation and maturity as disciples of Jesus Christ.
I joined the Simpson University team in April of 2018 and bring over twenty-seven years of experience serving in the fields of education and Christian ministry. During those years, I served at three Christian universities, one state university, and one PreK-12 Christian academy—a combined thirteen years as a university chief student affairs administrator and four years as a school superintendent. In addition to serving in numerous lay ministry roles over the years, I also served as an Interim Associate Pastor at the Vineyard Church in Stafford, Texas before moving back to California in October of 2015. In partnership with Simpson University, I continue to serve on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), a world-wide sports ministry that ministers to coaches and athletes.
During my undergraduate years at Azusa Pacific University, I was active on campus, played football, sang in the male chorale and a quartet of football players, served as a Resident Assistant in the freshmen residence hall, and participated with the on-campus FCA organization. I graduated with my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology (’81), and later returned to APU to complete a Master of Arts in Student Development (’90) and a Doctorate in Education with a focus on Higher Education Leadership (’10).
As Chapel Worship Coordinator, I oversee student leaders and musicians who lead the student body in worship during chapel every week and special events around campus. Worship is an integral part of our Christian faith and a unifying act we engage in together. We strive to create a sense of belonging and excellence thru this creative expression of worship thru music. Our heart is to include and represent every facet of our student body, and to honor and glorify our Creator thru our giftings and skills.
Melissa is a disciple of Jesus, wife, mother, coach, singer, worshiper and a leader with over 20 years experience in the local and global church working with teams in the areas of worship, leadership, and personal development. She values authentic expression and the pursuit of sincere faith in the midst of our human experience. She is committed to creating opportunities for growth and walking alongside students as they discover their inherent worth and purpose.
As the Area Coordinator, I oversee our amazing team of Resident Assistants and the residence halls, and work as a part of the Residence Life team. I am here to serve our student body and to help to create a student residential experience that is both memorable and impactful for our residents. My desire is to see students grow into who they were created to be, and to foster a culture in which this is possible.
Having been born and raised in Redding California, I chose to spend my undergraduate years at Simpson University studying Youth Ministry and Spanish. After my years at Simpson I worked as a Worship Coordinator at Little Country Church in Redding, where I helped to oversee the worship teams in the youth and young adult ministries, mentoring leaders, coordinating teams, and leading worship.
When I’m not with students, I love being outdoors hiking, running, climbing, and enjoying the goodness of God’s creation with my friends and family. If I’m not outside, you will likely find me reading, creating music, or sipping an americano at one of our local third-wave coffee shops.
As the Assistant Dean of Women, I help in overseeing the Resident Assistants and residence halls. As a part of the Residence Life team, I get to serve the student body and facilitate a campus living environment that is engaging, transformative, and God-honoring. My hope is to further encourage, equip, and enable students on their journey of holistic growth through their residential experience at Simpson.
I was born and raised in the Seattle area, where I attended Northwest University to study Cultural Psychology. I am currently halfway through my M.S. in Research Psychology and Data Analysis remotely through Azusa Pacific University. My research topics of interest include both positive and religious psychology, and my thesis focused on quantitatively increasing hope in the lives of others.
The activities I enjoy in my spare time heavily reflect my upbringing in Seattle: coffee and nature. An iced latte is the way to my heart, and I am always down for a walk, hike, or picnic. Cooking and reading are also favorite pastimes of mine, and I love sharing and suggesting things for others to try. I’m an open book, just ask!
Student Development Administrative Assistant and Missions Coordinator
As the Administrative Assistant in Student Development, I have the privilege of working closely with our chapel services and all of Spiritual Formation. Having served with the Christian and Missionary Alliance for 11 years in Taipei, Taiwan, I have a great deal of experience with missions and hosting short-term missions teams in order to lead the missions program at Simpson University. I also have a great deal of experience in church administration as I now serve with Student Development and Spiritual Formation.
I grew up in Tennessee as a home-schooled Pastor’s kid. I spent much of my time hiking the mountains in our backyard and as much time as I could outside. During high school, I clearly felt God call me into full-time missions while on a mission’s trip in Chile. From that time on, I learned as much as I could about preparing to go overseas. Going to Toccoa Falls College in Georgia, I continued growing in my love of the outdoors as I spent most weekends backpacking, rock climbing, hiking, and chasing waterfalls. I studied Intercultural Studies in preparation for going on the mission’s field. I graduated in May of ‘09 and moved to Taiwan in July, two months later. I spent the next 11 years serving as a missionary in Taiwan, learning Chinese, helping to plant a church, starting and managing a coffee shop ministry, and finding ways to continue pursuing my passions of the great outdoors while in a city of 7,000,000 people. In 2017 I completed my master's in business from Crown College. And in 2020 God sent me back to America to serve as the IWIR at Simpson University. I now work at Simpson as the Missions Coordinator and Administrative Assistant in Student Development. My passion is now to send students on missions trips in order to give them the chance to have the same calling on my life that I received on my first missions trip.
As IWIRs we are members of the Spiritual Formation Department. Jessie will serve as the mentor for Campus Ministries and Gene for Community Service. Additionally, from our fifteen years of overseas experience receiving student interns in the Middle East and Europe, we will support Simpson's WorldSERVE program. We desire to see people grow and deepen their spiritual lives and for Simpon to continue as a Gateway to World Service. We are both northern California natives and Simpson alumni ('99). Our four children join us as we go for hikes, play board games, and share meals with others.
As the Associate Dean of Student Services I hope to provide a one stop shop for our entire student body. When they see us, they will find a space for academic support, collaborative experiences, mental health strengthening, career services, and much more. I may be new to the role of Associate Dean, but supporting a diverse group of students is old hat. I have spent over a decade in education and am well versed in strategies to empower students to succeed.
My wife Morgan and I relocated to Redding a few years ago with our daughter Elise. We are a family of educators, with my wife being an elementary teacher and myself a high school social science teacher. My educational journey began with an AA degree at Columbia Community College in Sonora, CA (where I met my wife). I then graduated from San José State with a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Business Administration. Finally, I attended Santa Clara University, in which I earned a single-subject teaching credential and Master's in Interdisciplinary Education. I was originally brought to Simpson in May of 2019 to develop the new tournament bass fishing program. During this time, I got to know the staff, students, and overall culture of Simpson. I am now excited to deepen those roots by being on campus full time as Associate Dean.
As the Director of the TRIO SSS Program Keith's job is to work with first generation college students and low-income students making sure they have all the resources they need to be successful in college. This ranges from choosing a major, advice and assistance with selecting classes, completing and understanding the financial aid process, career selection, internships, counseling on personal matters and much more. His goal is to ensure that every student who participates in the TRIO Program graduates with a Bachelor's Degree and is prepared for life after college including a career that meets their needs.
Keith Obilana originally grew up in Nigeria and moved to Oregon as a teenager. In his late 20's he moved to Redding to finish his Bachelor's Degree in Business and HR Management through Simpson's ASPIRE Program. After completing his undergraduate degree he moved to Los Angeles where he completed an MBA at Pepperdine University, focusing his studies on Entrepreneurship. Keith went on to be an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine’s Seaver College and also developed an entrepreneurship program at Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business. The program worked with individuals transitioning out of homelessness, helping them develop small businesses to supplement their income. Keith is excited to return to his alma mater and to continue working with students pursuing their academic goals.
Keith is married and has three daughters. As a family they enjoy spending time at the lake and enjoying all the natural beauty Redding has to offer.
As one of the Trio Advisors I have the joy of supporting students and helping them continue their success into their college years. We work with first generation and low-income college students supplying them with all the resources necessary to help them through. I am here to help students in a variety of ways such as choosing a major, advice regarding time management and homework completion, and mentorship. Our goal is to make sure the students under our program graduate with their degree and are prepared to make a difference in any career of their choosing.
Andrew graduated from Simpson University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology; he also earned an associate’s degree in Intelligence Operations from Cochise College. After graduating, Andrew proudly served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Analyst for the Joint Special Operations Task Force before becoming an instructor for the Intelligence Analyst school at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. While serving, he helped create new materials for the Intelligence Analyst training program as well as training protocol for new instructors.
Andrew continues to serve military veterans and families to provide sustainable growth and success in the veteran community.
As the Academic Support Specialist, I meet with students who are struggling academically and help them develop a game plan for success. I also help facilitate mentoring and test proctoring, as well as provide students with disabilities the tools they need to succeed. After graduating from Simpson in 2018, I returned last year to provide the support that I found so helpful myself when I was a student.
Before moving to Redding, I lived in Nashville, Tennessee, where I developed a love for music and performance (you can't escape the city without it!). When I'm not playing music, I like to spend my time outdoors hiking in the beautiful Nor Cal area, reading, embroidering, and drinking way too much coffee.