Albert Castaneda, RCS c/o ’84
One of the RCS goals to #CelebrateRCS in our 50th anniversary is to connect with RCS Alumni and see what God has been doing in their lives since high school graduation. Dr. Hearne recently interviewed RCS Alumni and current MSHS Assistant Principal, Mr. Castaneda, class of 1984.
As part of the interview, Dr. Hearne asked for Mr. Castaneda to share his thoughts on this month’s theme verse 2 Timothy 4:1-2, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
Mr. Castaneda: This passage reminds me of a person that takes an oath for their occupation. Doctors, law enforcement, and high government officials take an oath and are charged with the duty to uphold the highest ethical and moral standards in their profession at all times. Here, Timothy, a Christian and a pastor, is charged to fulfill his duties because his negligence has far-reaching consequences. The command we read is to be faithful to speak the word of God with authority. Christians have the same responsibility. Always be ready to use the word of God as a way to correct those who are ill-informed of the truth of God’s word. Second, encourage and persuade the misled to follow the truth found in God’s Word. God wants us to take His truth, seriously.
When did you begin attending RCS and what year did you graduate?
Mr. Castaneda: In the fall of 1980, I entered 9th grade, and I graduated in June 1984.
Who was your favorite RCS Teacher and why?
Mr. Castaneda: Peggy Loofbourrow who taught English 11 and 12. I remember that she pushed all of us to become better writers. We had essays due every two weeks and we always got them back after the weekend. She graded all of them and gave us feedback. At first, I had “Rewrite” at the top of my essays with several helpful comments in red ink. I rewrote many papers in 11th grade, but by 12th grade, I was striving for the elusive A. When I earned that first A+, which was on a “Macbeth” essay, that was the happiest academic moment I had at RCS. Because of Mrs. Loofbourow’s belief that I could learn to be a better writer, I graduated from RCS ready for college and inspired to pursue higher education degrees.
What activities did you enjoy participating in while a student?
Mr. Castaneda: I grew up playing sports. I participated in soccer, basketball, and baseball all four years in high school. I also sang in the choir all four years, which was very much like being on a sports team. Building relationships with classmates and teammates as well as with teachers and coaches was an integral part of my experience at RCS.
As a student what did you love most about RCS?
Mr. Castaneda: I looked forward to seeing my peer group daily, but along the way, I was taken captive by how teachers and the administration invested themselves in me both directly and indirectly. Overall, every day I felt affirmed when I was at school. It was no different than my home life.
What did you do after graduating from RCS?
Mr. Castaneda: I enrolled at Chabot College and began taking classes to eventually transfer to Biola University. At the same time, some of my coaches from RCS asked me to assist them in coaching the varsity teams and to coach JV and middle school teams. I also worked full time and was involved in multiple ministries opportunities, such as missions, music, and children’s ministries.
After earning my AA degree, I transferred to Biola University to earn my BA degree in History. More importantly, I met Julie Perry (“RCS lifer,” class of 1987). We were both hired to teach at RCS in the fall of 1991 and were married on April 11, 1992. We have four children that are also “RCS lifers,” Alicia (class of 2015), Joel (class of 2017), Abigail (class of 2022), and Joshua (class of 2025).
I taught Bible and PE, and coached for ten years and then went back to school to get a teaching credential and Master’s Degree in Education. I jumped into administrative duties in 2009. I have continued to serve in church ministries at all levels and periodically in community affairs. Basically, I have been in full-time ministry since graduating from RCS, and I love it.
Why did you return to RCS as a teacher and now an administrator?
Mr. Castaneda: Returning to RCS was not a big decision. It was more of a natural part of my development and growth as a person. I have been blessed to have made some really good friendships that have brought me prosperity in opportunities. That is a blessing that God gave me as I learned to trust in him and to serve him in ministry. I realized that God did not want me to burn bridges with people, instead, he wanted me to find common ground in being a blessing to others. Scripture teaches that we are to live peaceably with all people as much as it depends on you. This is something that you must believe that God wants you to do and it must be done with God’s help.
The result of having good relationships with people and being willing to serve God in ministry is having God lead your steps or lighting the pathway. As I was growing up there were other professions that I esteemed for selfish reasons, but those things faded in comparison to the call that God gave me to serve him at RCS. After I graduated from college, I was going to pursue law enforcement because RCS did not have a position for me. Three days before I was going to take the test to join the academy, I received a call from RCS that enrollment had grown and they needed to add another teacher. It was one week before school was starting, God made it clear that he was leading my footsteps.
In my first year of teaching at RCS, I did two things I loved to do – teach Bible classes and coach athletic teams. God allowed me to have a great deal of success in coaching and many of my athletes were recruited to play college ball and I had to make a decision after 10 years. Does God want me to take this ability to the college level or do something different?
The answer was that I needed to invest more time in my family and earn my CA state teaching credential while at RCS. This put me on a trajectory toward administrative work as I earned a teaching credential, MA in Education, and a CA administrative credential. Along the way, I had opportunities to move to other schools, but I have declined those along with coaching at the collegiate level. After 29 years, at RCS, I can say that no two days have ever been the same and that I have been given the desires of my heart while in ministry at RCS.