Casa Pacifica Staff Spotlight | Veteran Para-educator Teaches Lessons Through Laughter

Casa Pacifica’s Nonpublic School is back in session! For seasoned paraeducator James Thomas, better known as Jay R, it’s a time of year he always looks forward to. “The kids come back from summer and they’ve grown so much!” said Jay R, “It’s nice to reconnect after not seeing the kids for a few months.”

Paraeducator James “Jay R” Thomas

Our paraeducators and behavior specialists are critical in assisting our teachers and students towards their academic goals. Jay R has been with Casa Pacifica for 18 years – starting out in Rainbow Cottage then transitioning to NPS where he has been for the last 14 years. “The kids keep me young! My favorite thing to do with the kids is make them laugh and enjoy the day. I always tell them, it’s okay, we’ll get through it,” Jay R remarked about his day to day activities.

Jay R’s coworkers call him a “breath of fresh air” and say he has the ability to put a smile on anyone and everyone’s face he comes in contact with – and that smile often turns into a laugh! He has the ability to work with our toughest youth using his laid back, yet very effective approach. The mix of his great sense of humor, positive outlook on life, and storytelling ability draws our youth to him and causes them to want to be better people. 

Jay R reflected on some of the most rewarding moments during his time at Casa Pacifica. “I remember this one kid had serious anger problems. He went into the military after he left Casa Pacifica and he just returned to visit a year ago. He’s still in the military, been there 16 years now. It’s so nice to see them make something of themselves,” said Jay R of some of his past students. 

We wouldn’t be able to provide the high-quality programs and services without quality staff like Jay R. A huge thank you to all our staff for the hard work they put in every day!

Casa Pacifica offers adolescent and family services designed to treat victims of abuse and neglect, substance abuse, homelessness, and other behavioral and mental health issues. Our Camarillo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria offices work with more than 2,100 of the most vulnerable children and their families annually.

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