Shawna Morris has been named the new CEO of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families.
Ms. Morris, the president and CEO of Phoenix House of California and Texas, will start her new role at Casa Pacifica in mid-July.
Casa Pacifica, which has its headquarters in Camarillo, serves vulnerable children in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Ms. Morris succeeds CEO Steve Elson, who was a fixture at Casa Pacifica while it was under construction in 1994. Dr. Elson will retire after 25 years.
“We are confident we have picked a talented leader in Shawna Morris for our next chapter. Shawna is the ideal person to take over the reins from Steve,” board president William Powell said. “We searched the nation for the best CEO and found her right here in our own backyard.”
Dr. Elson will stay on at Casa Pacifica for a year on a part-time basis to participate in the transition.
“I am quite humbled and blessed to be taking over from Steve,” said Ms. Morris, a Simi Valley resident. “When I interviewed for the job with board members, I asked each one of them a question: ‘Why are you here?’ All of them said we are here to advance the well-being of our youth. Every single board director said, ‘I am here for the kids.’ I said, that’s where I want to be.”
Dr. Elson described his successor as “bringing with her the kind of passion, commitment and heart we need and that has been characteristic of our leadership team over the years.”
Morris is a Kansas native who earned her master’s of public administration at the University of Kansas. She was senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Menninger Clinic for 18 years before taking over as president and CEO of the Phoenix House California and Texas.