By KATHERINE ZEHNDER
The appointment of Antonette “Toni” Navarro as the new director of the Behavioral Wellness Department has been approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
Ms. Navarro has a bachelor’s in psychology from UCLA and a master’s in education with an emphasis on marriage and family counseling from UCSB.
She will start her new job Dec. 13.
Ms. Navarro has been managing mental health programs since 2003, most recently at the Tri-City Mental Health in Los Angeles County since 2008. For six years, she served as the Tri-City Mental Health Authority’s chief clinical officer, and for seven years following that as executive director.
As executive director, she oversaw operations of the Joint Powers Authority for providing outpatient specialty mental health services to Claremont, La Verne and Pomona. Her past experience includes a focus on youth and family health and substance use disorder programming with Hathaway-Sycamores Children and Family Services in Pacoima, according to a news release
“Ms. Navarro is an inspiring and experienced leader with a track record of creating innovative programs and developing a dynamic and visionary behavioral system of care. She has a community-focused approach, with expertise in both clinical programs and administrative oversight, and exhibits a heart-felt passion for this work,” said Mona Miyasato, the county executive officer.
Dr. Pamela Fisher has served as the interim behavioral wellness director since the previous director, Dr. Alice Gleghorn, left earlier this year. Dr. Fisher will return to her previous role as assistant director and looks forward to retiring this winter.
Ms. Navarro is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 30 years experience in clinical outpatient services. She also has extensive experience on the state level as a governing board member of the California Behavioral Health Directors’ Association.
“I am honored to be joining the Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness team, and connecting with county staff, residents, Behavioral Wellness stakeholders, and behavioral health providers throughout the county to hear their perspectives on wellness and recovery; and then working collectively to ensure that the department maintains a system of care that supports those needs in an equitable, effective and fiscally responsible way,” said Ms. Navarro.