top of page



John Paul Tabakian, Ed.D.


WestCal Academy®


Dr. Tabakian has an extensive background in public and private industry that allows him to incorporate career pathways in all forms of academic instruction. He has a fervent belief that a key element for student success is academic entrepreneurialism. This gives students the ability to connect their major with a lucrative career pathway. His study, "The Academic Entrepreneur" is the foundation for WestCal Academy® career pathway programs.

Craig Smith, Ph.D.


WestCal Academy®


Dr. Smith has served as a consultant to CBS News and as a full-time speechwriter for President Gerald Ford, Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca and as a consultant to President George H.W. Bush. He is the founder and president of the Freedom of Expression Foundation. Dr. Smith continues to teach communications, and has served on the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing, Statewide Academic Senate, and is a former CSU Trustee.

Joseph P. Lopez

Chief Operating Officer

WestCal Academy®


Mr. Lopez graduated in 2016 from California State University, Long Beach with a BA in Political Science and Los Angeles Harbor College with an AA in  Liberal Arts in 2014. As the State Student Ambassador, Mr. Lopez coordinates WestCal® Career Pathway Programs with college campuses throughout the State of California and supervises ten Regional Ambassadors.

Michael J. Wheeler, MA

Chief Research Officer

WestCal Academy®


Mr. Wheeler was a Dean of Research and Planning at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, facilitating a more data driven culture within the campus community and led the college's strategic plan. He is the co-founder of L.E.A.R.N., a non-profit community based organization that served over 5,000 students daily in thirty schools across five districts. Mr. Wheeler has nearly twenty years of experience as the principal investigator for federal, state, and private grants. 

Dianne Philibosian, Ph.D.

Student Advancement

WestCal Academy®


Dr. Philibosian is the former Director of the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing at California State University, Northridge, and a veteran of 40 years in the field of higher education. She is a member of the Board of Regents at the University of the Pacific, and formerly served as Chair of the Board of Regents. Dr. Philibosian serves on the national board of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She is a nationally known expert in the care and education of children.

bottom of page