About the Rio Vista Group

Rio Vista Group is the website for Phil Stover: his speaking and writings (Rio Vista Press) and educational consulting company (Rio Vista Consulting). On this website you can learn all about Phil's books, presentations, articles, and consulting expertise. Learn more about the village of Mata Ortiz and its amazing pottery tradition.

Click here for information about Phil's book Religion and Revolution in Mexico's North: Even unto Death . . . Tengamos Fe!  On the same page you can check out the PowerPoint presentation from his recent lecture at Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. His other books are highlighted on the Rio Vista Press page.

Phil is a retired educator, manager, minister, and consultant. Several years ago he retired a second time after serving an interim assignment as the Superintendent of Schools for the Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista, CA. Sweetwater is the largest secondary district in California and the second largest border district in America. Phil had formerly retired from his role as Deputy Superintendent in San Diego, CA. where, over six years he helped the district make over $500 million in reductions from its general fund due to a state funding crisis. Each year, due to the good work and dedication of the staff, student achievement increased, in spite of the cuts. This is a testimony to how everyone worked together with a singular purpose. Click here for an interesting review of his work in San Diego written by the local education reporter. . . . Click here to see Phil's curriculum vitae.

Phil studied Spanish and Latin American anthropology in the University of San Francisco's Guadalajara program. His first book Religion and Revolution in Mexico's North . . . Even unto Death Tengamos Fe, is available on Amazon and by special order from your favorite local bookstore.  It is an award-winning study of the influence of religion and revolution on each other in Mexican history. It is a four hundred-eighty page work written in a narrative, yet scholarly style (over 1400 citations). He has spent years studying the intersection of religion and revolution in the borderlands and maintains a substantial library from which he drew his research. He is a gifted speaker and enjoys presenting about the area's history, especially that of its colorful revolutionary period to various clubs and fraternal groups in the Casas Grandes/Galeana region.   

                Phil Receives an Award from the Board Chair for his Work as Superintendent at SUHSD

                Phil Receives an Award from the Board Chair for his Work as Superintendent at SUHSD

Additionally, he served as an ordained Baptist and licensed Mennonite minister. That makes him either a Baptinite or a Mennotist! He has a very significant interest in the study of the antecedents of religion and conflict (see his blogs) In 2001, Phil was elected a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Geographical Society. He was appointed to the Sarasota County Historical Commission where he worked to protect sensitive archival documents in times of natural disaster. Phil is a member of The American Historical Association, The Conference on Latin American History, The Mormon History Association, and The Mennonite Historical Society. In addition he is a member and serves on the executive committee of the board of directors of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, an affiliate group of the American Historical Association.

Phil served two denominational colleges as director of counseling and associate professor specializing in the integration of psychology and theology, and homiletics. Phil has taught and trained ministry leaders in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and East and West Africa. He has been published in a variety of religious, academic, and popular publications.  His diverse career includes having served as an officer in a Fortune 500 company, leading one of their educational services groups. Phil holds multiple master’s degrees and his graduate work is evenly divided between education (including educational leadership), counseling psychology (focusing on marriage and family systems), and religious studies (theology and the psychology of religion). He has done thousands of hours of counseling and loves the field of organizational behavior and development. Phil has consulted and done training with many educational and corporate clients dealing with human and organizational behavior.

Phil classroom cropped.jpg

He dedicated forty years of his life to serving education. He has worked with and for over 120 school districts, private schools and higher education facilities as employee, consultant, and manager. He served large urban and small rural districts. From Anchorage to Apalachicola, and from Buffalo to Beverly Hills, Phil has worked to bring effectiveness and efficiency to America’s school districts. He also is fascinated by them as large complex systems that resist change, yet are constantly changing. His fourth book Tribal Markings: A New Paradigm for Understanding Individual and Group Identity will be published in January of 2018.  It is a provocative analysis of western culture, especially that of the United States in terms of how we arrive at our individual and group identity and why our culture is so polarized. His fifth book The American Public School District - How are the Children? is a humorous, yet insightful retrospective on his years of work in schools. It will be released in September of 2017. His sixth book For Thy Kingdom: When Faith's Journey Goes Awry  be released in January of 2018.  It is a case study in religion and conflict focusing on the doctrinal antecedents of the Mountain Meadows Mormon Massacre in southwest Utah in 1857. Phil also has an illustrated story, The Clock that Couldn't Tell Time available on Amazon that is intended for family discussion, especially around Christmas time. It is currently available. You can learn about each of Phil's books as they become available via this Amazon link

Phil is available for specific consulting, training, interim, and speaking assignments. He is especially interested in working with districts that are looking to restructure departments to more effectively and efficiently focus resources on serving their students. He also is very interested leading assessments related to student safety and security. Phil also has a training program to help companies who provide resources, services and products to school districts to more effectively understand school district culture and organization as they develop, produce and market their goods or services. Please use the contact link that is on the top of each page or email Phil directly at pstover@rrvmo.com for more information.

This is a speech Phil Stover gave for all the leadership of the San Diego Unified School District. It represents the humor, insight and inspiration that he brings to an audience.

One who is full of knowledge may still be empty. When seasoned with selflessness, self-control, and sound judgment, knowledge transforms into wisdom. The wise person is truly full.
— Phil Stover