Walking Shield, Inc.
John Castillo, Ph.D. – Executive Director

John Castillo, Ph.D., is Walking Shield, Inc.’s Executive Director.  Dr. Castillo, who is of Apache heritage, has worked for Walking Shield since 1999. Prior to coming to Walking Shield, Dr. Castillo was the Executive Director of the Southern California Indian Center for 9 years. He coordinated multiple programs and services to assist the largest urban Indian community in the United States. He has received numerous awards for his work and leadership in Indian Country including the California State Chapter of the National Society of the American Revolution’s Outstanding American Indian, the Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge’s George Washington Honor Medal, the County of Los Angeles’ Affirmative Action Volunteer of the Year and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s National Fellowship.  Dr. Castillo has taught graduate courses in social work as well as undergraduate courses on Indian Studies at California State University, Long Beach.  He has published several articles about American Indians and is a sought out speaker at functions across the country.  With decades of experience in program coordination and a Ph.D. in organizational development, Dr. Castillo is fully dedicated to improving the quality of life on American Indian reservations. 

Lynda Estrella, M.A. – Program Manager for the Education Support Program

As Walking Shield’s Education Program Manager, Lynda Estrella, M.A., is responsible for the American Indian Access Scholarship Program, the Harvard eLearning Program and all other aspects relating to our students’ “Journey to College.” Ms. Estrella, who is of Pascua Yaqui/Mexican heritage, received her Masters in Sociology in 2003 and been involved in education since 2004. In addition to her role at Walking Shield, she is a motivational speaker to students promoting higher education at local colleges as well as an educational consultant to local tribal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs.

Marvin Thurman - Program Manager for Operation Walking Shield

Marvin Thurman is the Operation Walking Shield (OWS) Program Manager. Mr. Thurman brings years of experience working for corporations such as Disney, Toshiba and Unisys to his role at Walking Shield. He is responsible for coordinating our various programs with the U.S. government including medical and infrastructure projects on reservations through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Program. Mr. Thurman also manages Walking Shield’s Housing Relocation Program in collaboration with participating federally recognized tribes and U.S. military installations.

Gary Doll – Onsite Program Manager

Gary Doll, who resides in North Dakota, has been Walking Shield’s Onsite Program Manager since 2001. Mr. Doll works with tribal representatives in the Northern Plains for the Operation Walking Shield and Educational Support Programs. Prior to his work with Walking Shield, Mr. Doll retired as a Colonel from the North Dakota National Guard after nearly 20 years where he served in numerous personnel management and training positions.

Walking Shield, Inc.

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