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.

Lisa Moncayo
Program Specialist

Lisa Moncayo who is of Apache heritage has been with Walking Shield since 2014. Her role as a Program Specialist is to oversee the American Indian College Access Program. Additionally, Lisa works with our team on our Humanitarian Aid Program and serves as an Administrative Assistant for the office. Prior to working with Walking Shield, Lisa worked in the theme park industry for over 25 years in public relations, special events, marketing and sales.

Lynda E. Gonzales, M.A.
Senior Program Manager

Walking Shield’s Senior Program Manager, Lynda E. Gonzales, M.A., is responsible for the Workforce Development Program. Lynda, an enrolled member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, received her Masters in Sociology in 2003. She began her career with Walking Shield in 2010.

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.

Status of Native People During the Covid-19 Pandemic

We are continuing to respond to the impact of COVID-19 around the world. See our status of Native People During the Covid-19 Pandemic.