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Community Farm Executive Receives Fran Aleshire Leadership Award

Javier Guerrero, the president and CEO of Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas, was honored with the 2021 Fran Aleshire Leadership Award for his outstanding leadership and regional involvement during Cal State San Marcos’ annual Report to the Community on Thursday, Feb. 4.

The Leadership North County Alumni Network presents the Fran Aleshire Leadership Award each year to a graduate of the program who, in the spirit of community leader Fran Aleshire, exhibits the characteristics of great leadership. Individuals are nominated by their peers.  

“I was honestly quite surprised and very humbled to receive this recognition by fellow leaders in the community and graduates of the Leadership North County program,” Guerrero said. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to be one of the many nonprofit leaders in the region committed to helping those in need during these challenging times.” 

In his role leading Coastal Roots Farm, a nonprofit Jewish community farm and education center, Guerrero has built and grown a team to deepen equitable educational programming reaching youth from disadvantaged schools and other schools in the community, introduced internships and after-school programs, and overseen a 35% increase in production to distribute food to more than 30,000 marginalized community members annually. He has guided the staff through the unprecedented impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, when community farms and nutritious food are needed more than ever.  

Guerrero was appointed president and CEO of Coastal Roots Farm in November; previously, he was the organization’s executive director for 2½ years.  

Guerrero has more than two decades of experience in nonprofit service in San Diego County. He was hired by Coastal Roots Farm after eight years as the executive director of the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido, where he worked to ensure its sustainability, fundability and accessibility for many years to come. Before that, he was director of the U.S. affiliate of SurfAid International, a global humanitarian organization, and director of operations for the Museum of Us (formerly the Museum of Man) in Balboa Park.  

Guerrero holds a master’s degree in applied cultural anthropology from Northern Arizona University, a bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of San Diego and a certificate in business management from UC San Diego.  

In addition to his work at Coastal Roots Farm, he has volunteered as the president of the North County Philanthropy Council as well as with Rotary and Kiwanis clubs.  

Past recipients of the Fran Aleshire Leadership Award include:  

2020: Michelle Mullen, executive vice president of AVID Center 

2018: Greg Anglea, chief executive officer of Interfaith Community Services  

2017: Chuck Matthews, director of North Coastal and North Inland Regions for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency  

2016: Cheryl Broom, president of Interact Communications  

2015: Kevin Holt, retired superintendent of San Marcos Unified School District  

2014: Brenda Hall, director of North County Professional Development Federation  

2013: Raye Clendening, civil rights advocate and educator  

2012: Don Stump, executive director of North County Lifeline  

2011: Gina McBride, owner of McBride Financial Advisory  

2010: Beckie Garrett, former governing board member of the San Marcos Unified School District  

2009: Julie Wright, president and founder of (W)right On Communications  

2008: Jim Desmond, former San Marcos mayor, current San Diego County supervisor 

2007: Mark Moore, retired Marine Corps major general  

2006: Lori Holt Pfeiler, former Escondido mayor, current president and CEO of San Diego Habitat for Humanity  

2005: Ramona Finnila, former Carlsbad City Council member, former board member of Tri-City Healthcare District  

Leadership North County is a comprehensive leadership program that fosters the growth of community leaders who will serve as catalysts in building a stronger region. Visit the Leadership North County website for more information.