This program is offered by the Praeceptory at Towcester Abbey, a California [501(c)(3)] non-profit corporation dedicated to assisting autistic people and their families in the rural mountains of northern Los Angeles county California and beyond. The idea for such a course sprung out of the fact that autistic people are often undervalued by institutions and governments, and thus their development needs are neglected. Thus, a course of instruction on leadership was born from a vocational rehabilitation problem – how best to teach the soft skills of leadership to this unique group of learners? Whilst the Abbey itself is not a Masonic institution, it was founded by Freemasons and the majority of it’s current all-volunteer staff are Freemasons.
In order to keep costs down and maximize the charitable impact of the funds raised by this project, we’ve partnered with Apex Learning to manage our learners and host this course in their state-of-the-art learning management system, or LMS.
The proceeds from this project will help support the efforts of the Abbey, as well as the California Scottish Rite Foundation. The RiteCare Childhood Language Centers of California are leaders in helping children with childhood communication disorders to realize their full potential. The Praeceptory at Towcester Abbey offers a range of support services to autistic people and their families, assisting them in becoming the best authentic version of themselves. Given that autistic people often have problems with language and communication, the missions of these two outstanding charities are quite synergistic.
About the Instructor
Jim Hoerricks, PhD 33º
Jim Hoerricks, PhD, the instructional designer and instructor for this project, has over 20 years of experience designing and facilitating learning events … and happens to be a non-verbal autistic person who also deals with several co-morbid chronic health issues. He has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Organizational Leadership from Woodbury University in Burbank, CA. He has a Masters in Education – Instructional Design from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Ut. Finally, he has a PhD in Education – Higher Education Leadership from Trident University International in Cypress, CA, where his dissertation considered the optimal college environment to attract and retain autistic students through graduation.
As a Freemason, Jim was initiated, passed, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in North Hollywood Lodge #542 (2003-2004) but now spends his time at Archimedes Lodge #871 in Pasadena, CA. As his career with Los Angeles Police Dept. changed his working hours and locations quite frequently, he has also been a member of Oasis Lodge #854 (Chaplain, 2012), Lancaster Lodge #437, Reseda Lodge #666, and Beverly Hills Lodge #528 (Treasurer, 2006). He is a member (33°) of the Scottish Rite bodies in Pasadena, CA and Guthrie, OK., the San Fernando Valley York Rite bodies, the Allied Masonic Degrees, the Grand College of Rites, the Royal Order of Scotland, MSRICF (VII°), Al Malaikah Shrine, the Scottish Rite Research Society, the WSB Club, and the Oklahoma Lodge of Research.
Jim is an active Masonic educator and presenter and can be found on the Grand Lodge of California’s Masonic Education Speaker List. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Grand Lodge of California’s Lodge Management Certification Program.
Within Masonry, Jim has been most active in the Scottish Rite. He has served the Valley of Pasadena and the Orient of California in many ways. He was Wise Master of the Pasadena Chapter of Rose Croix (2012) and served as Classroom Director from 2008-2014. Prior to his receiving the investiture of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor., he served in the Valley’s Knights of St. Andrew service organization, attending to the Valley’s needs as necessary.
Recently, he successfully completed the entire Scottish Rite Master Craftsman program:
- Program I: The Symbolic Lodge
- Program II: Scottish Rite History & Ritual
- Program III: Scottish Rite Philosophy