Meet Our Board of Directors
James Dodson, Chair
Jim majored in biology as an undergraduate student in Colorado and that sparked his interest in the environment. Later he decided he could do more for his passion as a lawyer than as a scientist. He practiced law in San Diego for over 23 years, including ten as an environmental lawyer at Sempra Energy. For the last few years he has been active with the River Park and has served as a consultant and volunteer by conducting water quality monitoring, photographic documentation, and providing legal services.
Carol Leighty, Secretary
Carol is excited to rejoin the board after serving as a charter member when the Conservancy was just starting. Since then Carol has semi-retired after a forty year career in public education. She now teaches and serves as a director at Point Loma Nazarene University on a part-time basis. Dr. Leighty spends her spare time enjoying her three granchildren, traveling with her husband, gardening and becoming more involved in the Conservancy.
We are currently recruiting for a treasurer.
Maryanne Vancio, Vice Chair
Maryanne has had a passion for trails for most of her life. As an adult she has been involved with all aspects of trail development and promotion, from trailblazing through the brush to delineate a new trail to providing design expertise to ensure that the cross tread is at just the right angle. She was responsible for the creation and approval of the County of San Diego Trails Master Plan as well as being a former member of the Lakeside Community Planning Group. She is an avid trail user as both a hiker and as an equestrian.
Scott is the Director of the Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC), an academic and research center of the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law that studies how energy policy issues affect the San Diego County region and California. EPIC integrates research and analysis, law school study, and public education, and provides legal and policy expertise and information about efficient and environmentally responsible solutions to our future energy needs. Scott lives in Lakeside with his wife and two children. He enjoys taking his kids to the River Park to hike and picnic.
Christina has always had a passion for nature, but her passion for the Conservancy began with her mother-in-law's love for Lakeside and its environment. She is passionate about educating community members of all ages about the importance of nature and why it should be protected. Christina was born and raised in San Diego. She earned a BS in Biology with an emphasis in Zoology in 2002, and an MS in Ecology in 2009 from SDSU. She has experience as a field biologist working under the MSCP plan completing small mammal, reptile, amphibian, and plant surveys. She currently is an adjunct Biology instructor in two local community college districts. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring San Diego’s natural wonders and hanging out with her fur babies.
Mike is the founder and principal attorney at the Law Offices of Michael E. Cindrich APC, a firm he started in 2008. Prior to that he was a Deputy District Attorney with the County of San Diego District Attorney’s Office. Michael received his JD/MBA from the University of San Diego and his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. A Pittsburgh native, Michael moved to San Diego in 2002 to pursue his law degree. He met his future wife after law school and they share two young daughters. In his free time Michael enjoys surfing and beekeeping.
With E&H General Contracting, Kevin is leading efforts to complete the San Diego River Science Field Station. Kevin has over 20 years of experience in construction, construction design and construction management. He has always been greatly involved in the Lakeside Community, serving as the chairperson for the Lakeside School District Oversight Committee, President of Lakeside Girls' Softball for many years as well as other local planning and fundraising groups. Kevin was instrumental in the revitalization of Cactus Park. He believes in the importance of parks, trails and education for our local children. He has three children of his own.
Janis received her Master's in Biology from San Diego State University in 1975 and remained at the university for a 30-year career as a Biochemical Research Associate. Beginning in 1987, she was a member of the Lakeside Community Planning Group for 21 years, serving during the establishment of the River Park and chairing the LCPG Trails Subcommittee to plan Lakeside's multipurpose trail system. She also participated in the development of the Lakeside Design Guidelines for the community and served as chair of the Lakeside Design Review Board (LDRB). Currently, Janis is active with the Lakeside Historical Society, is secretary for the LDRB, and is involved with the restoration of Lindo Lake.
Dave has been an educator in East County for the last 13 years. As a Lakeside Union School District teacher since 2000 and the Project Director for a 3-district California Math Science Partnership (CaMSP) grant since 2010, he has worked to make meaningful, relevant science accessible for all kids. His time working with the River Park as a middle school science teacher instilled the importance of maximizing this resource for the community while still balancing the needs of conservation, recreation and education. Dave lives in Lakeside with his wife and children, and as a family they enjoy camping, hiking and other outdoor activities.