By Mark James Miller, PFA President
While he is a man of many parts, Dr. Warren Gabaree can be summed up in a single word: Busy. For most people, being a dentist would be career enough for one lifetime. But for Warren Gabaree, it is only a beginning.
Warren, who teaches in Hancock College’s Dental Assisting Program, is also working on his Master’s Degree in Education through an online program at Northeastern University, as well as helping foster children in the local chapter of Royal Family Kids. In addition, he finds time to work with the Salvation Army’s “Serving the Servants” program (and serve on the Advisory Board of the Santa Maria Chapter), teach classes in leadership through International Public Leadership and Ethics, and belong to the California Dental Association. Incidentally, he also practices dentistry full-time at his office in Santa Maria. What it all comes down to is, Warren Gabaree is one busy man.
“The 21st Century requires being a life-long learner,” says Warren, and he seeks to instill that sense of learning in others as well as setting an example himself. He hopes to show the value of learning to people who might not otherwise realize how important it is and that it can make a difference in their lives.
To demonstrate this, Warren uses the example of students in the dental assistant program. “This can open the door to a better life for a single mother,” he explains. He especially enjoys seeing the people he has trained to become dental assistants go on to become dental hygienists, or even attend dental school.
Warren was the first person in his family to go to college. A native of Boston, he received his Bachelor’s Degree from Villanova University and his dental training at Maryland’s Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. He and his wife Gloria settled in Santa Maria 21 years ago. Their children and grandchildren still live in the New England area.
Perhaps the strongest of Warren’s many interests is in leadership. “I’m a lifelong student of leadership,” he says. He is a certified faculty member of the Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Development Studies and has taught leadership classes from everyone from college students to business executives to community professionals. “It is a transformational process,” he said, and asserts that everyone who has even taken his class agrees. In these classes they analyze great and bad leaders, challenge longstanding assumptions of leadership, learn about conflict resolution, team building, how a leader creates a team. The program is unique, Warrens saying, because it is humanities-based.
Warren also has a keen interest in career and technical education, and sees it, like the dental assistance program, as a means for people to improve their lives. Most of all, he would like to get everyone he encounters “excited about learning.”
Warren began teaching at Allan Hancock College thirteen years ago, because “I always wanted to teach in higher education,” and teaching college is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. He loves the people he deals with—both as students and as patients in his dental office—and loves helping them and solving problems. He is especially proud of his creation, “Serving the Servants,” which is a mobile kitchen that is on call to serve meals to first responders such as firefighters when they are on the scene of a fire. He got the idea after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, and the program is run through the Salvation Army.
Whether it is practicing dentistry, teaching in the dental assistance program, or teaching leadership, Warren Gabaree is a busy man with no plans to slow down. If he did, I doubt anyone would recognize him!