Welcome! Here is a little background on my education and academic experience. I grew up in California in the San Francisco Bay Area with my four brothers, attending both public and private schools. I was slow to warm up to academia and took advantage of an offer to work overseas when I was 18. One of my older brothers got me a job working as a Life Support Technician for deep-sea divers. I spent the next four years working on North Sea oil rigs and spending my shore time traveling around Europe. Not exactly college, but a wonderful education nevertheless.
When I returned from Europe I began work in Special Education while attending night school. I graduated from San Francisco State University and I obtained my graduate school education at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, receiving both my MA and PhD degrees in Philosophy and Religion. The great thing about this school was that they had a wonderful program where you studied the subject not just academically, but experientially as well. If I took a class in Buddhism it was taught by a Buddhist monk, a class in Taoism was taught by a practicing Taoist, etc. Being able to study under people who did not simply know all about their faith or philosophy intellectually, but actually lived it as well, was a real privilege. These were a rich four years, an intellectual feast.
My experience as an educator includes six years in Special Education, mostly with autistic adults, as well as a few years with high school students. I found my niche in the community college setting in 1998 when I started teaching evening classes at Foothill College. I currently teach online classes for Foothill and other community colleges throughout California. I have been teaching philosophy classes in person at Monterey Peninsula College since 2004 and California State University of Monterey Bay since 2012.
My great passion philosophically is in the field of Integral Philosophy, a philosophy that is both universal and inclusive. I also have a great interest in the contemplative spiritualities found in the world’s religions, especially Buddhism and Christianity. One of my favorite authors is Thomas Merton, the late Roman Catholic Trappist monk who pioneered Christian-Buddhist dialogue in the 1960s.
During my years in Special Education I met my wonderful wife Cheryl. We married in 1988 when my stepson Ben was 8 years old. Ben graduated from Cal and Boston University and is currently working as an attorney in the SF Bay Area, where he lives with his wife and child. Cheryl and I moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 2003, where she continues to work in Special Education, now as a Principal for the Monterey County Office of Education. We love Monterey and enjoy the beauty and the culture of the Central Coast!
Photo: Ben, Cheryl & John