Meet the Staff

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Dr. David Breeckner

Executive Director

 A transplant from New England, Dr. David Breeckner has a background as an archaeologist specializing in ceramic and non-ceramic material culture. He holds a Master's degree in Classics and a PhD in Classics: Archaeology from Trinity College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland, where he lived for 4 years.  Since 2011, David has worked part-time as a staff archaeologist for the Priniatikos Pyrgos Project in east Crete, Greece. As a member of its research team, he specialized in the prehistoric and enigmatic Minoan civilization.  David is a lecturer in the Department of History at San Diego State University's Imperial Valley campus.

Coming out of the field, David is thrilled to share his experience-based way of learning and engaging with the past, and a forward-looking vision for the future. You can contact David at



Kristin O'Lear

Curatorial Fellow

Kristin comes to the Imperial Valley from her home in North Carolina.  In her role as the Curatorial Research Fellow at the museum, Kristin will be innovating new and exciting exhibits about the history and cultures of the Valley, as well as working behind-the-scenes to preserve its history. 

Currently finishing her Master's degree at East Carolina University, Kristin's background is in the Civil War era with a concentration in Public History.  On her days off, you might find Kristin going for a run around town or hiking and exploring our Yuha Desert.  You can contact Kristin at


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Luis Landeros 

Education Coordinator & Museum Manager

A tiger at heart, Luis graduated from Imperial High School, in Imperial CA, in 2017. He is attending Imperial Valley College, where he is studying to be a mechanical engineer.  Luis has worked with the Imperial Valley Desert Museum since 2017 and is now serving as its Education Coordinator and Museum Manager.  From field trips to public events to special projects, Luis has experienced all aspects of IVDM and is dedicated in sharing his passion and energy with all students and guests to IVDM.

Luis is passionate about his work and has made it his mission to help local youth learn about the rich culture all around them.  You can contact Luis at


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Frank J. Salazar III

Indigenous Kumeyaay Collections Manager

A member of the Campo Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Frank has worked directly with the Campo Tribal Council, his people, and the archaeological community -- including the late Florence Shipek (ethnographer and author of "Pushed into the Rocks") --  in his tenure as Repatriation Director in issues of NAGPRA, repatriation, consultation and Cultural resources monitoring for the last 25 years. Having formerly served honorably in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army National Guard, Frank is a former member of the Muht-Hei economic development board for the Campo Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

Frank is the great-grandson of Lewis Mesa, former Captain and Kwaay Paay of Old Campo Reservation and member of the Indigenous civil rights group, the Mission Indian Federation.

Frank has worked with the Museum since its earliest days to bridge the archaeology, museum, and cultural fields.  He leads Museum staff in vocalizing the perspective of the region's First Peoples, guiding the Museum in its mission to be a resource for the communities it serves and a leader in the 21st century.  You can contact Frank at




Jorge Bernal

Education Specialist

All my life I have loved to be outdoors and having this job gives me an opportunity to not only continue something that I have enjoyed for a long time, but it also gives me a chance to learn more about the land that has always encompassed me. When I went to Imperial Valley College I graduated with three associate degrees in mathematics, economics, and business administration; currently I am pursuing a bachelor's degree in business. Outside of work, I can be seen for a split second riding around town on my motorcycle, playing some music, or doing some yoga and working out.


Julia Samaniego

Education Specialist

Coming from one desert to another, Julia is originally from Arizona and moved to Baja California a decade ago, and has now been living in the Imperial Valley for a couple of years. Julia is currently a student at San Diego State University in Calexico. As a history major and now an Education Specialist here at IVDM, Julia is passionate to learn the history of the region and its people, but also to share it with her community.



 Member of the American Alliance of Museums since 2013

All photographs taken by IVDM staff or used with permission by Joselito Villero and Michael Field. All rights reserved.2014.