People that are around me, find out pretty quickly that I end up doing a lot (maybe even too much sometimes). There are a lot of things that are constantly in motion in my life. The end of the school year season is generally a hectic time. Having my two primary jobs1 be in a school setting means that there is always a lot to do at this time. This year was super chaotic with finishing and finalizing my dissertation. My weekends and evenings are full not only of work, but of doing projects around my house. You would think that because I earned my doctoral degree, maybe I don’t have to work around my house, but I’m rebuilding a patio, which is a ton of hard work. It will look good afterward, and I’m looking forward to having some nice outdoor space to use.

Photo of Jacob in his graduation regalia with Belinda in San Francisco

Last month, on May 14th (yes, on Mother’s Day), I went to San Francisco for my commencement and to celebrate my graduation from CIIS Transformative Inquiry Department. Last weekend I had a second opportunity to wear my regalia as I attended the graduation ceremony at Pasco High School. Just Belinda and I went to San Francisco. It was a fun trip. We went a couple of days before the ceremony to go and do the tourist thing.

While we were in China Town, I probably should have looked at the Yelp Reviews for the Chinatown Restaurant, as it wasn’t delicious. I just got excited to sit on a balcony. We drank islandy drinks at the Pagan Idol Tiki Bar, which had many great little sections and super cool decorations. I also got to remember how much I miss being in vibrant cities as we relaxed in Washington Square Park and watching people talk, practice juggling, journaling, and all kinds of activities. We also ate some great Tapas at Cha Cha Cha and got to wander around Haight Asbury. We danced our hearts out at Temple Nightclub. Overall, It was a great precursor as we are bringing kids on a road trip with a plan for three nights in San Francisco this summer.

Attending my graduation meant I missed my Heritage University students’ commencement, but I am so glad I went. Not just to celebrate my accomplishment, but the ceremony was wonderful. Bayo Akomolafe was presented with an honorary doctoral degree and delivered our commencement address. His message about the shush we sometimes need to listen to find wisdom was deep and powerful.

If you are interested, you can watch a short highlight reel from the event that even includes CIIS’ 55th Commencement Highlights (2023) the lively promenade we took as we went from downtown with a full band. Dancing down the street to the after-celebration reminded me of the progressions I saw in South America.

They have also posted a full rendition of the commencement ceremony. You can find my dissertation title shared, my name called, and getting hooded starting at about one hour and 39 minutes into the video. There was also some great music shared by an a cappella group that got everybody in the stands up and dancing. Even watching the graduates walk across the stage, you can see how countercultural my university is. You can view CIIS’ 55th Commencement Ceremony 2023 (entire).

Earning my Ph.D. in Transformative Studies is the culmination of four years full of personal growth and the development of my scholarship. Like many laborious processes, I sometimes wanted to give up, and I had to find the motivation to keep going. I’m proud to say that of my cohort that I started with, I am the first to have completed my degree. For all of you out there, you can make it too!

I completed the oral defense of my dissertation back in March. I’ve published the slides to my website, which offers a good overview of my research. I also recorded and uploaded the presentation to my YouTube Channel.

It is about two hours long, with about 45 minutes of my presentation describing my research, the process, and my findings. Then were was time for deliberation and questions from observers and my committee. I’m proud of the work that I have done. It was at the end of this video that my chair was able to call me Dr. Campbell for the first time, but I still had a lot of writing to do before I could finalize and publish the actual dissertation. In the next couple of weeks, I will also receive a copy in book form.

Over the last couple of months, I have been going through a rewriting process (just before my defense, I was given feedback by my committee, and I included that in the presentation). I had to add and address that content in my final written dissertation. Then I went through a technical review, which had some back and forth, and finally published it. I have chosen to publish the dissertation under an open-access license. You can read my complete dissertation A Professional Learning Community for Developing Trauma-Informed Practices Using Participatory Action Methods: Transforming School Culture for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities. I would be honored for you to look it over. I hope to start a conversation in the K-12 education system about what content educators can and should discuss in their professional learning communities. I believe there is a need to talk about academics but also to talk about trauma-informed care and social-emotional learning.

When I redesigned my logo for my website to have the version with the ellipsis after my name, I knew that I would be earning my LICSW. Now I can also add the Ph.D. to the end of my name. I’m not sure what is next for me right now. For now, I will stay at the school district and want to start writing a workbook based on some of the material from my dissertation. For now, I’m happy to add a Ph.D. to the end of my name.

  1. My primary job is at Pasco High School, working as a program social worker there. I also work as an adjunct teaching 2 to 3 classes each semester at Heritage University in their social work program. This last summer, I also started doing individual/group LICSW supervision under my Locus of Transformation business name. I have also been a full-time student over the previous four years, working on my Ph.D.