Roxan McDonald was one of the first students to graduate from The YES Recovery High School in 1992. She spent a combined total of fourteen years on the management team of two recovery high schools including the YES School--where she was Program Director for seven years, Escuela Quetzal--a recovery high school that primarily serves Latino youth, and Tyler House--a long term residential adolescent treatment program. Her experience working with youth and young adults in crisis (including gang-affiliation, substance abuse, dual-diagnosis, and self-harm) spans across 25 years. She is co-founder of The Implicit Curriculum, a consulting firm for professionals in education and the healing arts.
Roxan's leadership can be best described as equal parts practical application and intuitive fortitude. She established the YES School's five essential values: Gratitude, Integrity, Kindness, Honor, and Service, which served as the framework for creating a sustainable school-wide culture of consciousness. Roxan skillfully employed a combination of storytelling, transparency, and humor to facilitate meaningful conversations about values clarification in a way that was palatable to young people. Lead by a fierce devotion to the spirit of YES that catalyzed her own personal transformation as a teenager 25 years prior, she employed a revolutionary approach that challenged the way most people see counseling, community and staff partnerships, and systems management. At YES, she co-founded The Excellence Academy, a thriving alumni enrichment program that emphasized community service.
Roxan has worked in close partnership with a number of Santa Cruz County institutions, including California Children's Mental Health Services, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, the Santa Cruz County Probation Department, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and was a valued member of Leadership Santa Cruz. She was keynote speaker at several Alternative Education graduations, and at the Juvenile Court, Community, and Alternative School Administrators of California (JCCASAC) convention in 2013.
Roxan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integral Education from the California Institute of Integral Studies. In addition to consulting, she is an international writing coach and teaches at California State University, Monterey Bay through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Roxan is currently working on her memoir, and is an alumnus of both the Breadloaf Writers Conference (Italy, 2014), and Squaw Valley Community of Writers--two of the most competitive and respected writers' conferences in the world. She has facilitated workshops at Esalen Institute alongside her mentor Ellen Bass, one of the most highly regarded poets in the country.
Roxan has been to thirteen countries on three continents, and once owned and operated a restaurant in Antonio Manuel, Costa Rica. In 2003 Roxan came in third in the National Jitterbug Championships Amateur Lindy Hop Division (Lindy Hop is arguably the happiest dance in the world). Having spent part of her youth in the Alaskan wilderness, she knows how to (but would prefer not to) butcher a moose and protect herself from bear attacks. She can also fold a fitted sheet.