Meet the staff

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Dr Marty Harris

President

Presidential Cabinet Member

PhD, Washington State University 

MS, Washington State University 

BA, University of California, Irvine

Dr. Martin Harris holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Irvine. He received an M.S. and PhD in clinical psychology from Washington State University (APA accredited). After, completing a professional psychology internship at UCLA (APA accredited), Dr. Harris carried out postdoctoral work at Cornell University. While at Cornell he developed a research program for students interested in working with migrant farm workers. Dr. Harris received several university awards for this work including the President’s “James A. Perkins Prize” award for Interracial Understanding and Harmony.

Subsequent to Cornell, Dr. Harris served as a Program Officer for the American Psychological Association. In this role, he managed and wrote grants from several federal agencies including, NIMH, NIA, SAMHSA, CSAP, CSAT & others.

Dr. Harris has served as a tenured faculty member at Vanguard University and Bethany University and has taught and/or served as adjunct faculty at Washington State University, Pepperdine University and UCI College of Medicine. Administratively, Dr. Harris has served in the roles of Department Chair, Graduate Director, Associate Provost, Acting Provost, Diversity Officer and Vice President of Enrollment, Advancement and Student Life.

From 2009-2012, Dr. Harris served as Campus President/Dean of Academic Affairs for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, Westwood and Irvine Campuses.  In this role he oversaw all aspects of campus operations, student services, and academic house including all faculty hires, annual program review, academic program growth, curriculum design, program specific accreditation, regional accreditation issues, implementation and related policy and practice.

For over ten years Dr. Harris has served as a pastor (licensed and ordained) to a homeless church in Santa Ana, California.

Fluent in both English and Spanish, Dr. Harris has carried out research, developed academic partnerships, lectured and facilitated faculty exchanges with universities in Mexico, including CETY’s University in Baja California and La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (Mexico City). He currently teaches counseling psychology (in Spanish) at Azusa Pacific University.

From 1995 to present, Dr. Harris has served on the APA Minority Fellowship Program initial review board. In this capacity, he has helped allocate millions to funding doctoral students specializing in clinical psychology, gerontology, neuroscience and medicine.  Dr. Harris has participated as a presenter, consultant or grant reviewer to several state and federal agencies. Including, the U.S. Department of Justice OJJP & ONDCP, SAMHSA, TCADA, HACU and others. In 2003, he developed and directed the first ever federally contracted conference (CSAP) on the efficacy of faith-based approaches to substance abuse treatment, prevention and education.

A published researcher, Dr. Harris serves on the Board of Editors for the Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture. Dr. Harris has extensive experience in developing, and leading academic programming, including those that require specific accreditation and or state approvals. These include programs for licensing in psychology, marriage and family therapy and applied behavior analysis.

Dr. Harris more recently served as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean, College of Science and Integrative Health, and Professor (full) at Southern California University of Health Sciences.

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Nehemias Romero

Provost

Presidential Cabinet Member

 

MA, Fuller Theological Seminary

BA, Vanguard University

Asc, LABI College

Nehemias graduated from LABI in ‘09, obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Vanguard University in ‘11, and a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in ‘15. He currently works at LABI as Dean of Academic Affairs and as an Adjunct Professor teaching courses such as New Testament, Old Testament, Kingdom of God, and Penteostal Theology. He also oversees the LABI's accreditation progress, as well as LABI's application for federal student aid. He lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles, CA. 

Gabriela Mora-Alvarez

Chief Financial Officer

Presidential Cabinet Member

MBA, Azusa Pacific University (candid)

BA, Vanguard University

Asc, LABI College

 

Gabriel Mora-Alvarez is both an LABI and Vanguard Alumni. Gabriela serves as the Chief Financial Officer, some of her duties include overseeing Human Resources and payroll, as well as student accounts, student payments, accounts receivable and payable, donations, employee hiring, projections, and all departmental budgets.

Gabriela has worked with LABI since 2015. She is passionate about doing business as her ministry and loves being able to not only work within the college operations but also being able to pour out into the students. Currently, Gabriela is an MBA candid at Azusa Pacific University.

Erika Ramirez

Office and Facilities Manager

Presidential Cabinet Member

Asc, LABI College (Candid)

 

Erika Ramirez serves as Assistant to the President and Front Office Manager and has been part of the Staff since 2017. She has a very caring, charismatic, and loving heart that welcomes everyone who steps into the campus. Her administrative, organizational, and detail-oriented persona make her the perfect fit for her role. 

Erika and her husband have served as pastors for plenty of years and planted a church in Maui Hawaii in 2008. Currently, they serve as lead pastors at Centro Cristiano Kairos in the city of Baldwin Park. She has four beautiful daughters and one granddaughter whom she loves dearly.

Steve Valdez

Librarian

Presidential Cabinet Member

MS, Emporia State University

BA, Vanguard University

Asc, LABI College

 

Steve Valdez is the Librarian at LABI College. In this role, Steve manages the library team by providing support to all aspects of the Dr. Simon Melendres Library, including providing support for research resources, and leading the Dr. Joel Torres Writing Center.

A big believer in higher education, Steve supports the LABI College community by maintaining the library. Steve Valdez is a qualified Librarian and holds a Master of Library Science degree from Emporia State University.  

Steve is no stranger to the field of librarianship. Having spent 2 years as a Library Associate at Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, California and 2 years as Library Director Librarian at LABI College where he has grown into the school’s Librarian.

Prior to starting his work in the library field, Steve also has worked in business administration, Steve spent 2 years as a Edward B. Cole Academy public charter school.

Has a Alumni of LABI College, Class of 1999, Steve has a heart for LABI College, the students, and the mission of the school.

Jose Luis Saavedra

Dean of Certificate Program 

Jose Luis Saavedra began his work in Latin American Bible Institute (LABI) in November 2010. planning, organizing, directing, and controlling extension centers. 

He came to LABI with extensive experience in economic and financial areas, working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as Coordinator and Director of the PL-480 program at the agency Project Concern International (PCI) regional area  in Bolivia. The developmental programs that he directed were focused on improving food security in countries of extreme poverty. Prior to that, Jose worked as Chief Financial Officer for Bread of Life, a company distributing Christian literaturenationwide.

Jose received his degree in Financial Auditing from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia. His postgraduate work was in Public Finances with a minor in development and strategic planning, with a specialty in international development. He did his biblical-theological studies at Alberto Mottesi University and Fuller Theological Seminary, obtaining a Master's Degree in Arts, Theology and Ministry.

 

In his newly expanded role, The Dean of LABI Extension provides visionary leadership for all LABI Extension sites, leading the development of a strategic plan that articulates a unified vision for the extension program and contributes powerfully to the fulfillment of LABI’s vision. In addition to strong in-class programs, the Dean will explore and lead the development of alternative deliveries such as online, hybrid, and accelerated programming. The Dean works closely with faculty and staff to assure that students receive first-rate instruction and spiritual formation consistent with the mission of LABI. 

Yvette Robles

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs & Dean of Spiritual Formation

Presidential Cabinet Member 

MS, La Verne University

BA, Bethany College

Yvette Robles earned a bachelors degree in Psychology from Bethany College and a Masters of Science in Leadership and Management from the University of La Verne. Her leadership experiences have ranged from church administration to youth ministries and adolescent probation programs from the juvenile justice system. Her passion is empowering current and future leaders in healthy spirituality to enhance Kingdom work.  In addition to her role as Dean of Students, Yvette also oversees the internship program, teaches practicum courses, and is part of the Pastoral Staff in the Spiritual Formation Department.

Caleb Vazquez

Admissions Specialist & Financial Aid Director

MFT, California Baptist University (Candid)

BA, Vanguard University

Asc, LABI College

 

Caleb Vazquez has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Vanguard University and is currently pursuing his Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy at California Baptist University. Caleb is a Licensed Minister with the Assemblies of God and Southern Pacific District (SPD) and currently in the ordination process. He serves at his church Hemet Assembly as a Youth Pastor and enjoys working with youth. He also serves as Pastors Kids Director for SPD.  His passion for youth and for ministry make him an excellent Admissions Specialist.

Terry Bonfil

Director of Human Resources & Assistant to CFO

Presidential Cabinet Member

BS, California State University Dominguez Hills (Candid)

Asc, LABI College

Terry Bonfil is the Director of Human Resources and Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer at LABI College. As Director of Human Resources, Terry Bonfil helps oversee the management and development of employees here at LABI College. As Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer, Terry Bonfil helps assist in the small-scale operations within the Business & Finance Office, such as overseeing student accounts and the implementation of financial policies, rules, and regulations. 

 

Terry has been part of LABI's legacy since 2016, when she was admitted as a transfer student from Cal State University, Northridge. She became a LABI Alumni in May 2018. During her time as a student, Terry served as Academic Support to the Dean of Academics in 2017. Later in October 2018, Terry was invited to join LABI''s staff once again to work alongside the Chief Financial Officer where she continues to serve to this day. In the near future to come, Terry Bonfil will also serve as the appointed Title IX Officer for LABI College. 

Joshua Escandon

Director of Marketing

Presidential Cabinet Member

Asc, LABI College

Josh is a very passionate creative mind with excellent skills, he takes his creativeness to heart and his work speaks tremendously of his art. He has been part of the LABI Staff as a creative and Director of Marketing since 2015. He also serves as part of the Creative Team at one of the most relevant churches in Los Angeles, Mosaic South Pasadena.

 

Josh is passionate about bettering the aesthetics and branding of the school in hopes that he will continue to inspire others to pursue and express their creativity through the gift they have been given.

Alma Rincón

Spanish Certificate Program Office Assistant

Asc, LABI College