Office of the President

Board of Trustees


Bradford Newton, Chair

Bradford Newton is the executive secretary of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Before accepting his current position, he served as the president of Nevada-Utah Conference and director of religious liberty for the Pacific Union. He has pastored congregations in California and Illinois. Newton earned a B.A. in theology, an M.Div., and a D.Min. from Andrews University.


Jana Aagaard

Jana Aagaard is an attorney specializing in health care law, with emphases in health information privacy and technology and clinical research. She graduated from Pacific Union College in 1976 (BA, English literature) and earned an MA degree in English literature from the University of California, Irvine, in 1977. She received her JD degree (magna cum laude) from the University of San Diego in 1992.

She was an associate at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego, CA before becoming in-house counsel at Sharp Healthcare (San Diego) in 1999. Since 2002, she has worked for Dignity Health (formerly named Catholic Healthcare West) both as in-house counsel and of counsel. Dignity Health is the largest nonprofit health system in the western United States, with 39 hospitals in California, Arizona and Nevada. Ms. Aagaard is currently the lead attorney at Dignity Health for all health privacy issues; she advises Dignity Health on all aspects of state and federal privacy compliance requirements, health information exchange, the federal “Meaningful Use Incentives” program and emerging health technologies.

Ms. Aagaard is married to Victor F. M. Aagaard (PUC 1978) and has two children and two grandchildren. She is an active member of the Carmichael Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Leon Brown

Dr. Leon B. Brown, Sr., is currently the President of the Nevada-Utah Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He received his undergraduate degrees in Theology and Business Administration from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, going on to receive a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and a Masters of Business Administration from the School of Business, both at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He has also earned a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA.

Dr. Brown has served the Seventh-day Adventist church in various capacities for 19 years, recently serving in the Northern California Conference of SDAs just before coming to the Nevada-Utah Conference of SDAs.

He is happily married to Julie F. Brown. They have two adult sons, Leon II and Lawrence. He has a passion for community and a heart for people. Pastor Brown believes that his single greatest earthly achievement is that Jesus Christ is Lord of his life.


Ramiro Cano

Ramiro Cano is president of the Central California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He began ministry as a lay pastor in New Mexico, until the Texaco Conference called him to a full-time pastoral position in 1993. He later moved to California, where he served as the senior pastor of the Milpitas Church and eventually as the executive secretary of the conference. He was elected to his current position in 2010. Before joining the ministry, Cano worked in corporate technology as manager of systems and programming for ARCO Transportation Company and director of information services for Syncor International. He also taught at Western New Mexico University.


Ruth Chung

Dr. Ruth H. Chung is Professor and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at the University of Southern California where she has been teaching for over 23 years. She graduated from PUC ('84) with a B.S. in Psychology summa cum laude.  She then went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Award to South Korea and continues to teach globally in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai as part of a global executive doctoral program in educational leadership.

She is married to David Yoo, a historian and Vice Provost at UCLA, and have 2 sons, Jonathan and Joshua. They currently live on the campus of USC as a Faculty in Residence of the Cale and Irani Residental Colleges.


Ricardo B. Graham

Ricardo B. Graham, is president of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Graham received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oakwood College, a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Graham became executive secretary of the Pacific Union Conference in February 2006, after serving as president of the Northern California Conference since February 2001, and as executive secretary of that conference since 1995.


Steven Herber

Steven Herber, MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon and medical director of the St. Helena Institute for Plastic Surgery. Herber earned a bachelor of science degree from Pacific Union College in Angwin, Calif., and a medical degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He completed a general surgery residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center, plastic surgery residency at Yale University, as well as a fellowship in maxillofacial and pediatric plastic surgery at Akron Children's Hospital Medical Center in Akron, Ohio.


Bonnie Hernandez Comazzi

Bonnie Hernandez Comazzi is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Sonora, Calif. She is a 1975 and 1999 graduate from PUC’s department of nursing, and completed her M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2007. Bonnie and her husband Jim Commazzi, M.D., ’75, are active volunteers, philanthropists, and leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In recognition of their leadership giving to Pacific Union College, part of the renovated library was named the Comazzi Family Learning Commons in their honor.


Esther Herold

Esther Herold is an attorney in Washington, D.C. She graduated from PUC magna cum laude with honors, with a B.S. in government and history and a minor in business administration in 1998. She then went on to earn her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2001.


Sheila Hodgkin

Sheila Hodgkins is the programs chair of the National Auxiliary to the Alumni of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. She is also the founding member and chief development officer of XRtainment Zone/MedPlay Technologies, and an active member of the San Bernardino County Medical Alliance. She holds a degree in behavioral science with an emphasis in psychology from Pacific Union College, and a Master of Science degree in marriage and family therapy from Loma Linda University.


Kristine Johnson

Kristine Johnson is a speech language pathologist at the Howell Mountain Elementary and Pope Valley Elementary schools. Starting her education at PUC in 1984, she studied speech pathology at Loma Linda University’s School of Allied Health, earning a B.S. in 1988 and an M.S. in 1989. In addition to her roles in elementary education, Johnson serves on the board of the Archie Tonge Education Foundation, which provides grants and scholarships to worthy PUC students.


Dwayne Leslie

Dwayne Leslie is the director of legislative affairs for the Seventh-day Adventist world church and the denomination’s liaison to the U.S. Congress and the White House. He graduated from Andrews University with a B.A. in economics in 1988 and then went on to earn a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. His legal career has spanned the realms of corporate law, health care, media production, and pharmaceutical development.


Stephen Mayer

Stephen Mayer previously served as undertreasurer of the Pacific Union Conference since 2013 and has worked in the Pacific Union Treasury department in various roles since 2004. He is a graduate of Pacific Union College where he studied Business Administration with a triple emphasis in accounting, marketing, and management. Mayer also received his certification in Planned Giving and Trust Services in 2009 and currently serves on the board of the Western Adventist Foundation. Mayer is a California native, and along with his wife, Michelle, and family are active members of the Camarillo Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Jarrod McNaughton

Jarrod B. McNaughton, MBA, FACHE, is the Chief Operating Officer of Inland Empire Health Plan, one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans in the country. Previously he served as President of Kettering Medical Center, Vice President of San Joaquin Community Hospital and Administrative Director of Ukiah Valley Medical Center. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at Pacific Union College where he taught upper division public relations and communication courses.

Jarrod holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from PUC and a Master in Business Administration degree from the University of La Verne, California.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has been featured as an expert regarding healthcare issues in numerous publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In addition Jarrod has been a featured speaker at the National Association of Broadcaster’s annual conference and has won over 100 national awards for marketing campaigns.

He is also an accomplished musician, having performed on 3ABN, TBN and Voice of Prophecy radio and television programs.  Jarrod is the founder and president of Global Medical Missions an international aid organization and has led teams around the world.

He and his wife, Heidi, a registered nurse, live in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.


Jorge Soria

Jorge Soria is the assistant to the president for Hispanic and Portuguese Ministries at the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Soria earned his BA in Theology and Spanish from Pacific Union College (1974), and went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree in 1977 from Andrews University. After serving various congregations for over 40 years, he has held a variety of conference administrative posts.


Steven Spears

Steve Spears is the executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency, the state’s program to assist low-income homebuyers and renters. Spears graduated from Southern Adventist University with a B.S. in accounting in 1975, from the University of Tennessee the next year with an M.B.A. in finance, and with a J.D. from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1987. He has also served as a professor, and has taught in PUC’s business and administration program.


Berit Von Pohle

Berit Von Pohle is the director of education for the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. She holds B.S., M.A., and Ed.S. degrees in education from La Sierra University. She has worked in Adventist education for over 30 years as a teacher, a counselor, a principal, and most recently as superintendent of schools for the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.


Ralph Watts

Ralph Watts is the president of the Hawaii Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. A citizen of the world, he grew up and attended academies in South Korea and Singapore, finally graduating from Sheyenne River Academy in North Dakota in 1976. He studied theology at Walla Walla and Union Colleges before earning an M.Div. at Andrews Theological Seminary in 1983. He returned to school to earn a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2001 with a dissertation on small group ministries.


Marc Woodson

Dr. Marc Woodson began serving as the Executive Secretary for the Northern California Conference November 1, 2007. He is a native of Southern California and a product of Adventist Christian education. Woodson has an associate degree in communication and a bachelor’s degree in theology from Oakwood University, a master of divinity degree from Andrews University, and a doctorate in ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.

He is an ordained minister and has served in various capacities for over 20 years as a campus chaplain, youth pastor, associate pastor and senior pastor at the Mt. Rubidoux Adventist Church in Riverside, California. Before coming to Northern California, Woodson served the Southeastern California Conference as the associate youth director, where he supervised local church youth pastors, trained youth and young adult leaders, and planned youth events.