George J. Gilliam is the founder and Executive Director of Creative Identity and serves as the Musical Director of Creative Identity's Pride Band, Singers, and String Ensemble. Mr. Gilliam received his bachelor's degree from Xavier University in New Orleans and in 1992 earned bachelor's in music therapy from California State University, Long Beach. He has served adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Southern California for over 21 years as a music therapist and was the program director of Hope University, the first creative-arts therapy facility in Orange County for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He founded Creative Identity in 1996 with the vision of assisting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve a higher degree of independence and reach their creative potentials as productive and contributing members of society.
Dr. Cynthia Smith has been with Creative Identity since 2000, and currently serves as the Program Director. Dr. Smith received her bachelor's in music with an emphasis in music therapy from Chapman University. In 2011, she received her PhD from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology. She is a Board Certified Music Therapist and an internationally renowned fretted dulcimer recording artist, singer, songwriter, and arranger of traditional British Isles music. She is a much sought after clinician, performing and teaching the fretted dulcimer at universities and events across the nation, including the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1994, she co-founded the Southern California Dulcimer Heritage and that same year co-founded The Harvest Festival of Dulcimers in Southern California, where she served as the Artistic Director for 12 years. Her recordings with Ruth Barrett include: The Early Years: Aeolus/Music of the Rolling World, Deepening, A Dulcimer Harvest, and The Heart is the Only Nation. She released her sixth CD album Soul Tending in 2014 on her independent label Aeolus Music, which features George Gilliam on guitar.
Board Member and Full Time Volunteer
Carol Stone has been with Creative Identity on the Board of Directors since 1996. She is a full time volunteer who teaches music, voice, life skills, and piano at the CI Anaheim site. She has a Bachelor's of Music from the California Institute of the Arts, a university founded by Walt Disney. She received CLAD and her Special Education teaching credential from Chapman University and a Masters of Special Education from National University. She has taught in the field of music and in special education as a master teacher for over 30 years.
Thai-Han Nguyen has been working at Creative Identity as the Administrative Assistant since May 2017. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Health Science: Community Health Option from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). She had experience as Secretary of the Health Science Student Association at CSULB and has collaborated and volunteered with organizations in the community such Alzheimer's Association, American Red Cross, and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Larry Martinez has worked as music therapist at Creative Identity since 2012. He graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor's in Music Therapy and a minor degree in Child Development. Larry works with various medias of music, which include musical performance, songwriting, song recording, and vocal performance. He has been recorded on several CD’s as a backup vocalist and writes songs, which he hopes to record in the future. He is a worship leader in his local parish, sings in the choir, and plays the guitar and piano.
Mike Grimes has been with Creative Identity since 2011. He transports participants Monday-Friday to the program, the Pride Singers and the Pride Band to their performances, and leads classes for our participants in exercise and fitness.
Sereen El-ghossaini has graduated from Cal State University of Fullerton with her Bachelor of Music Performance in French Horn. She has been working with individuals with developmental disabilities for over 4 years now as a private caretaker. Sereen is also a founding member of "Upstream Brass", a brass ensemble and pending non-profit organization. She has been performing for over 13 years on her instrument and 4 as a conductor. Sereen has been with Creative Identity since January of 2018 and hopes to continue on a music therapy route for her masters.
Laguna Beach Program Site Manager
Andrea Clark has worked at Creative Identity as a Music Therapist since December 2016. Previously she instructed special education music classes for adults and provided home based music therapy services. Andrea graduated from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS with a Bachelor's in Music Therapy and a minor in psychology and is a Board Certified Music Therapist. She works with various medians of music including vocal performance, instrumental performance, percussion, and songwriting. Andrea has authored a chapter in the research based book entitled Music Therapy for Multisensory and Body Awareness in Children and Adults with Severe to Profound Disabilities. She also currently serves as a regional representative to the California Association for Music Therapy which organizes education efforts and outreach events for our community.
Expressive Arts Instructor
Dillen Le received a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in a Fine Art / Illustration hybrid major from the Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, in 2013. He has been working at Creative Identity since January 2016. He has previously worked as a children's art teacher and a professional framer.
Back row (left to right): Samantha McGee (Secretary), Kathy Haze, Scott Kasper, Thomas Burns, Ed Washington, Paul Evans, and Jim Rogers (Treasurer).
Front row (left to right): Barbara Napper, Cynthia Smith (Program Director), George Gilliam (President/Executive Director), Silvia Estabrook (Vice President), and Gayle Pierce. Not present: Carol Stone and Tara Crapnell.
Paul Castro has been teaching ceramics at Creative Identity since August 2012. He earned a Bachelor's of Arts in English from California State University, Fullerton in 2004. Being the son of a father who owns a small business in Anaheim and a mother who works as a caretaker, Paul hopes to earn his credentials in American Sign Language and pursue a career as an interpreter for the deaf community.
Thai-Hanh Nguyen has worked as a program aide at Creative Identity since April 2017. She graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Human Services at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in 2017. She has previously worked with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through volunteering and has experience being an aide through assisting teachers at St. Joseph School in Santa Ana.