Out of 28 applications, eight preliminary interviews, and three final interviews with highly qualified candidates, we are excited to introduce you to our unanimous choice, Cleo Anderson (she/her/hers). Cleo will join our staff beginning August 18, 2019, as our new Director of Religious Exploration and leader of our Lifetime Religious Exploration program.
Cleo spent the 2018-19 year serving as the DRE at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in nearby Canoga Park. UUSM DRE Kathleen Hogue has been serving as her mentor for the past year, as Cleo prepares for credentialing as a professional religious educator with the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA). Cleo also accompanied Saunder Choi at the Finding Our Way Home annual retreat for UU Religious Professionals of Color in Miami this past year.
She has spent the last few years working with queer youth and young adults offering racial justice programming and cultural sensitivity training and helping marginalized communities discover pride in their own – and others – acceptance and inherent worth and dignity.
The search team was very impressed with both her general intelligence (she is a member of MENSA) as well as her emotional-social intelligence and decision-making process in hypothetical scenarios.
Cleo describes herself as a “glitter loving, queer woman of color, teaching artist, feminist, poet, and general rabble-rouser.” Cleo’s varied teaching adventures include teaching applied theater to middle and high school students, leading workshops for groups ranging in age from 4-year-olds to 70-year-olds, and teaching adaptive swim lessons to kids with special needs.
Cleo first attended a UU church as a teenager and started attending services regularly as a young adult at UUSM. When she traveled for college debate competitions, she would often visit the local UU church. Cleo has a profound appreciation for the openness and love of UU-ism. She takes personal inspiration from Gertrude Stein, Angela Davis, Faith Lehane, Audre Lorde, and bell hooks. She is excited to be starting this journey with us in August!
UUSM President Jacki Weber and
The Director of Religious Exploration Search Team
(UUSM LRE Assistant Teri Lucas, JoAn Peters, Maria Scremin, and UUSM Developmental Minister Rev. Greg Ward )