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Meet our Faculty/Staff


Blake Beecher, PhD, LCSW, MSW

Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Social Work

Dr. Blake Beecher received his MSW from The University of Nevada, Reno and his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. His practice experience includes mental/behavioral health, addictions, child welfare, aging, and healthcare. His research interests are community engagement research in behavioral health with at risk populations and international social work. 


Jeannine E. Guarino, LCSW, MSW
Director of Field Education

Ms. Guarino earned her Master's in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.  She holds a clinical social work license (LCSW), with over 15 years’ direct practice experience working with a range of populations including severe and persistent mentally ill and dually diagnosed individuals, homeless adults and families including foster and other at-risk youth, and work with individuals on conservatorship and other restricted settings. As the Director of Field Education, Ms. Guarino brings to the role extensive administrative social work experience that includes non-profit social service management, as well grant development, administration and evaluation of federal, state and local grants and contracts including National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the U. S. Department of Education. Ms. Guarino’s capacity as Field Director involves active collaboration with community-based agencies including child welfare, adult protective services, probation, prisons, hospitals, non-profits and K-12 schools. Ms. Guarino also provides evidence-based trainings for social work field supervisors and implementation of best practices in field education, and teaching MSW students how to actively translate social work theory into practice in the field practicum setting.


Lorene Ibbetson, MSW
Title IV-E Project Coordinator

Ms. Ibbetson earned her Master's in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach. She has 20 years of experience working in a variety of settings including child welfare, schools, mental health, nonprofit and private practice.   Her experience includes working with severe and persistent mentally ill and dually diagnosed individuals; homeless adults, children, and families, foster youth, and veterans. She also has experience with the terminally ill, at-risk youth, and adolescents.   Ms. Ibbetson's passion is to increase resilience, compassion and empathy in the social work field.  Her focus is to support graduate students to successfully fuse academics and their field internship experiences.


Madeline Y. Lee, PhD, MSSW
Assistant Professor

Dr. Lee earned her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a National Institute of Mental Health Pre-Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Fellow. Inspired by her practice experiences, Dr. Lee’s broad research interest is in improving services for vulnerable children and families involved in the intersection of the mental health, child welfare, and special education systems. 


Jacky Thomas, PhD, LCSW, MSW
Assistant Professor

Dr. Thomas received both her MSW and PhD from the University of Kentucky.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has over 25 years of clinical practice experience in community mental health, hospital, residential care, employee assistance, and private practice settings.  Her research interests focus on professional wellness and resilience, empathy, and the application of mindfulness practice in social work education and social work practice.


Jimmy A. Young, PhD, MSW, MPA
Assistant Professor

Dr. Young received his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University, an MSW and MPA from Eastern Washington University, and a BSW from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Prior to joining the faculty at CSUSM, he was an assistant professor in the department of social work at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Dr. Young has a range of practice experience from mental health to program evaluation and nonprofit administration. His research interests include nonprofit organizations and administration, social work education, community engagement and digital activism, and the use of technology such as social media social work education and practice.


Leandro Galaz, MSW, PPS
Full-time Lecturer

Mr. Galaz earned his MSW degree from San Diego State University, his administrative credential in educational leadership from Cal State University San Marcos, and his B.S. in psychology from UC San Diego.  He is a credentialed school counselor, and has spent the majority of his career working as a secondary school counselor with a focus on students’ academic and personal/social needs.  He started his career in social work working directly with people with developmental disabilities, both as a behavior therapist and a case manager.  Mr. Galaz specializes in community change, and has specifically worked on closing the achievement gap in education through changing community culture.


Lynn Amabile, MSW
Child Welfare Instructor

Ms. Amabile received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of San Diego and her MSW from the University of Pittsburgh.  She has always worked with children and Families and for the last 30 years worked as a Social Worker, Supervisor and Program Manager for San Diego County Child Welfare Services.  Lynn specialized in the area of Child Abuse Investigations and had the opportunity to work in all areas of Child Welfare including the Child Abuse Hotline and Adoptions.  She is particularly interested in preparing new Child Welfare Social Workers for the rigors of working in the field.  This includes understanding the impact of secondary trauma and the importance of self-care.


Jessica Wilson
Administrative Support Coordinator, Master of Social Work program


Lisa Carmosino
Administrative Coordinator, Title IV-E Stipend program