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La Cheim School Inc Welcomes Dynamic New Chief Executive


La Cheim School Inc is proud to announce the arrival of our new Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Carizma Amila Chapman, PhD, DMFT. Dr. Chapman brings with her a wealth of experience as a mental health clinician, professor, program developer, evaluator, and organizational leader. Her passion for serving the most marginalized and vulnerable clients, as well as her commitment to culturally skillful and inclusive practice, made her an ideal choice to lead La Cheim through our next stage of growth. 


Dr. Chapman comes to La Cheim from Interface Children & Family Services, a comprehensive nonprofit social services agency providing direct, responsive, wrap-around services through over 30 programs to the most vulnerable of children and families, where she supported in the development of system infrastructure, funding acquisition, and program expansion. 


Said Dr. Chapman of joining La Cheim's team: “What I have learned thus far is that the agency has an incredibly bright, creative, passionate, and loyal team that has demonstrated a strong commitment to both the agency and community. In joining La Chiem, I am excited to meet each member of the team while learning more about the agency’s history and current practices, the community’s history and needs, and the dreams that you and the community have about how La Cheim is to evolve. Connecting with you is how I plan to come to understand the collective dream that our team has -- as it is only through a solid relationship with you that I will be able to join in the dreaming and participate with you in the co-construction of the bright season we have ahead of us.”


Core values for Dr. Chapman include Inclusiveness, transparency, cohesion, and belonging. Harmoniously, La Cheim is an agency that puts the people we serve at the center of a trauma-informed, egalitarian, and respectful healing environment that feels more like a family than an institution. Clients and staff are always held in their full humanity, and Dr. Chapman arrives ready to embrace and extend our spirit of inclusion, equity, and human warmth. Immediate challenges include continuing to adapt to the demands of the global pandemic while planning for safe return to in-person services in relation to public health needs. A key goal for Dr. Chapman is to deepen our relationship with and responsiveness to the communities and constituents we serve.


The suite of program that Dr. Chapman will oversee at La Cheim includes two school programs, an in-home support program for adolescent learners, and a short-term residential therapeutic center (STRTP) for children and adolescents; as well as a Community Mental Health Center in Oakland that serves adults via PHP/IOP day treatment programs while providing outpatient services to all ages. Each program at La Cheim aims to be particularly welcoming and responsive to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQIA+ clients, recognizing the need for community leadership in uplifting and empowering those whose identities reside at especially vulnerable intersections. 


Dr. Chapman takes over from Michael Thomas, MSW, MPA, who worked at La Cheim for over four decades and served as CEO for 15 years, during which time he led the agency through numerous challenges including the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mike remains a friend and advisor to the agency whose inestimable contributions will never be forgotten.


La Cheim is hiring! To learn more about joining our team, please visit:

Dr. Carizma Amila Chapman

Dr. Carizma Amila Chapman, PhD, DMFT

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