Sunday, April 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

A redeeming life: Woman who revived education now thrives

deciel

Reine De Ciel used to have a violent streak but now has a Ph.D. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 02, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — When Reine De Ciel was a teenager, getting an education seemed impossible.

“I got kicked out of every school in Fairfield and almost got kicked out of Sem Yeto (continuation school), too,” she said. “I was a really bad kid.”

Back then her name was Regina Scott, and she had a violent streak. Now 44, she goes by De Ciel and has a doctorate degree.

Disciplinary problems plagued De Ciel when she was a teen and she landed expulsions at Mary Bird, Fairfield and Armijo high schools in the 1980s.

“I was super insecure,” she said. “People would start making fun, and I would just start fighting without even asking questions.”

Back at Armijo, De Ciel only had a freshman’s worth of credits going into her junior year and it appeared that she wouldn’t be able to graduate on time. After being expelled for a particularly serious fight, school officials didn’t even want her to go to Sem Yeto, De Ciel said.

“They just figured I was so bad that I wouldn’t do right there,” she said.

De Ciel faced a disciplinary hearing that could have ended her high school career had her mother not asked for help from the Rev. Claybon Lea Sr. of Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

“He was very, very interested in helping women who were raising children on their own,” De Ciel said of the late pastor.

Lea attended the hearing and was able to influence school officials to give her a chance, De Ciel said.

“And I really did want to go to school,” she said. “I knew inside of me that I had the ability to do it . . . I just felt like I didn’t belong.”

School officials designed a rigorous program that required De Ciel to attend classes at Sem Yeto during the day and the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School at night and in the summer.

“I was doing it,” she said. “I ended up graduating a year early,” she said.

At 16, De Ciel earned her high school diploma. It was 1985.

“I entered Solano Community College at 17,” she said.

De Ciel went on to claim several college degrees, starting in 2002 with a bachelor’s from Baker College in Michigan and eventually a Ph.D. from Minneapolis, Minn.-based Capella University in 2012.

A photo from 2006 shows De Ciel surrounded by her mother and foster mother after earning a Master of Business Administration at Baker College.

“That was one of the best days of my life,” De Ciel said.

For De Ciel, earning a Ph.D. wasn’t easy. While working on her dissertation in 2009, her mother died and she flunked out of school. Then her younger brother died unexpectedly that same year.

“That was very difficult for me, and I do believe that God got me through that,” she said.

In 2012, De Ciel finally got her doctorate in organizational leadership after completing a dissertation on some controversial people. Citing the careers of the Rev. Al Sharpton and Crips street gang founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams, De Ciel – who had to change her name for copyright reasons – studied how charismatic leaders heal themselves after they abuse their abilities.

“I’m a believer in the fact that you can redeem yourself – after you have problems, you can redeem yourself,” she said. “But the redemption has to come through service.”

De Ciel now works as a researcher for a San Rafael-based mental health and addiction center and is a domestic violence advocate, a certified mediator and community conciliator. Fluent in Spanish, she plans to start her professorship in the spring at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Chihuahua, Mexico, unless she lands work in the United States. The Oakland resident is also working on a biography and strives to help others realize their potential through her namesake consulting service.

Vallejo native Tenina Stevens, 42, considers her cousin to be an educational mentor. A mother of two children, Stevens earned associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is working toward a Ph.D. She shares a story similar to De Ciel’s.

“We were living as people who were involved in mischief,” she said. In spite of challenges, they were still able to complete their education, she said.

Also known as Suga-T, Stevens gained notoriety in the hip-hop group The Click with her brother Earl Stevens, aka E-40. She now owns and operates B.L.E.N.G. Enterprise, which offers consulting services.

“I don’t think most people dealing with the hip-hop (industry) – most people don’t go after education,” she said. “I feel (De Ciel’s) influence encouraged me to go after my education, to complete my business and be an example to others.”

Also a motivational speaker, Stevens and De Ciel collaborate on helping at-risk youths and adults get degrees through leadership training and mentorship.

“In spite of what happened in your life . . . you can always add another element that can help you better yourself . . . educationally, spiritually, changing the type of friends that you have . . . there’s an opportunity to better yourself somewhere,” Stevens said.

De Ciel said earning a degree is possible for anyone who has the desire.

“I think that any kid that wants to go to school can go to school,” said De Ciel, adding that students at Sem Yeto are just as capable as those at other schools.

“They are at-risk kids, and a lot of kids don’t think they can do anything when they go to schools like that,” she said. “. . . There’s a little kid out there that could do something amazing.”

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • my2centsMarch 02, 2014 - 6:43 am

    High school is extremely hard on kids who develop the feeling they "don't belong" for any number of reasons, because they look different, act different or are poor and just don't wear the same clothes as everyone else. But as De Ciel's story illustrates, not doing well in high school does not mean education is impossible. Many students who did not perform well in high school will excel in college because the bullying and social stigma of not fitting in are gone. People are PAYING to attend college. They don't care what you are wearing or who the homecoming queen or captain of the football team are, they are focused on graduating. Don't make the mistake of thinking because you got bad grades in high school you can't go to college. You CAN. Take a class at Solano Community college, see a guidance counselor to help you map out a strategy that works with your own circumstances and schedule. YOU CAN DO IT! De Ciel's did it! Congratulations to her and Stevens.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TweetsMarch 02, 2014 - 9:03 pm

    You should be so proud of yourself! Your an inspiration to all

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Children enjoy day of fishing at Fairfield pond

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano cities celebrate Earth Day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Hard-fought battle ends in victory

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Those addictive, terrible, wonderful smartphones

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Expo shows Kroc Center fun for whole Framily

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Supervisors consider changes in various county fees

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

Suisun police execute tobacco sting

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Edibles in your landscape

By Daily Republic | From Page: C4

CHP offers free class for senior drivers

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Patrons raise a glass to toast a good cause

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Walk MS hits stride along Suisun waterfront

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Covered California offers Solano enrollment events

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Weather for Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Pay close attention to investment costs

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Be wary of next ‘big’ thing

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
.

US / World

With legalization, lawyers turn to business of pot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Remains of dismembered newborn found in South Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Nearly 17 million watch Jenner interview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

‘Operation Babylift’ kids, soldiers reunite 40 years later

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Starbucks stores reopen Saturday after computer glitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Aden hit by coalition airstrikes amid fierce street battles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Mother in custody dispute freed after 8 years behind bars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

A dozen arrested as Freddie Gray protests turn violent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Italy marks 70th anniversary of anti-Nazi uprising

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

European authorities stop illegal horse meat network

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Italian navy rescues 274 from migrant ship off Libyan coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Army shutting down wounded warrior transition care units

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Warrior pose: Yoga catching on as therapy for veterans’ PTSD

By The Washington Post | From Page: B10

Toll climbs after powerful quake hits Nepal: Things to Know

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

How can we give them more?

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
Primary challenge could force Harris’ hand

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Sound off for April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Corruption tarnishes values of our ancestors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Obama sides with enemy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Who’s asleep at the switch?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Brides show short wedding gowns more of the love

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Community Calendar: April 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Today in history: Sunday, April 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Vatican goes on offensive to defend US-Spanish saint

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
You get what you need with Jesus

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

How can I trust my husband after he texted a younger woman behind my back?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Horoscope: April 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Veterinarians are too expensive, and it puts pets at risk

By The Washington Post | From Page: C5

Old standby body-weight training still has moves

By The Washington Post | From Page: C7

 
Milan spiffs up for Expo 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
More copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir being printed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Amber Tamblyn writes book of poetry about dead actresses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Giants beat Rockies 5-4 in 11 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors complete sweep with 109-98 win over Pelicans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Athletics drop 3rd straight game, 9-3 to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rain postpones NASCAR race at Richmond until Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Klitschko outpoints Jennings to defend heavyweight titles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Michael Schumacher’s son makes strong Formula 4 debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US routs Canada 7-2 in semifinal at under-18 hockey worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Watford back in Premier League after 8-year absence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Several Kentucky Derby hopefuls get workouts in before rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Levy falters at Volvo China Open; 4 tied for lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former Expos executive Jim Fanning dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam team to lead Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Compton, Day top leaderboard in rain-plagued Zurich Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suzuki breaks Oh’s record for runs by a Japanese player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bulldogs get 10-0 baseball win over Panthers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Canadian teen Henderson has 1-shot lead in LPGA Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
A’s place Ben Zobrist on disabled list with knee injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

7 players from Royals, White Sox punished by MLB for brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Bowling report for April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Bayless’ layup at buzzer gives Bucks 92-90 win over Bulls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Nets beat Hawks 91-83, pull within 2-1 in series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Grizzlies hold off a late Trail Blazers rally to go up 3-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Hometown report: Bicycle racing, youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Sports on TV for Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for April 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

What’s in a hotel name? Guests try to decipher the mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Veggies take center plate as healthy fast food chains expand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

Is ice cream safe? Federal health officials say yes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
 
Don’t panic, college seniors: Jobs for grads likely to grow

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Cepeda

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Janis Ruth (Sefzik) Skinner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Nicole Herdia Spann

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Reginald Morris Davis

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Kirk Noonan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sandra King

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics