Board of Directors

april-kentApril Kent, President

April Elliott Kent has studied astrology since 1973 and practiced professionally since 1990, specializing in the astrology of weddings and personal eclipse cycles. April is the author of three books, Astrological Transits (Fair Winds Press, 2015), The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology (Alpha/Penguin 2011), and Star Guide to Weddings (Llewellyn 2008). Her astrological writing has also appeared in The Mountain Astrologer and Dell Horoscope magazines and Llewellyn's annual Moon Sign, Sun Sign, and Sabbats almanacs.

April graduated from San Diego State University with honors in Communication, is a popular lecturer, and served on the faculty for UAC 2012. She is a member of ISAR and The Authors Guild. April makes her home in a 1923 bungalow in San Diego's Normal Heights neighborhood with her long-suffering husband and their two domineering cats. Her website is

Loda Shaw, Publicity DirectorLoda Shaw, Vice President and Publicity Director

Loda was co-founder along Judy Johns the Los Angeles-based 'Round Art' astrology group in 2001. He has been involved with the study and teaching of astrology for well over 30 years. Loda wrote extensively on sports and astrology that was regularly seen in the now defunct Aquarius magazine. He has lectured extensively on the Saturn & Jupiter cycle and how to use it practically in daily life. Loda lectured for the San Diego Astrological Society in 2009 and for numerous other astrological groups in the Southern California area since 2001.

Loda is a member of The American Federation of Astrologers ( and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of Phoenix. His practice includes reading the Natal birth chart using transits, progressions, directions and the Solar Return chart. Other techniques Loda employs for various clients are relocation astrology, along with the Composites and, Synastry charts for relationship issues.

While a student athlete at Ohio University, Loda became curious about the subject of astrology. A 'chance' meeting with a practicing astrologer in New York City during spring break took him from the curiosity stage to becoming a student in one fell swoop. That fascination with the stellar science has motivated Loda to teach, write, and grow an extensive astrological client list. He currently lives and practices his craft of astrology in Vista, California.

Jim Hennum, PresidentJim Hennum, Treasurer

I began studying astrology in 1988 and began practicing professionally in 1993. I love horary astrology and am fascinated by mundane astrology. I was lucky enough to write a syndicated monthly sun sign column which appeared in, among other places, Vision magazine. In a previous life (!) I worked for 9 years in the newspaper industry, at the San Diego Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

I served for 14 years off and on as Director of Publicity for SDAS, and Director of Publicity and Marketing for the California Institute for Open Studies (the former Cadent Cross Institute). A typical Sagittarius, there have been many other arrows I have shot and briefly followed in the work arena. I have my level 1 certification in Reiki and look to explore more modalities of energy healing including Burt Hellinger's Family Systems work with an astrological basis.

Francesca Smith, Newsletter Director - EditorFrancesca Smith, Newsletter Director - Editor

Let’s see...I was born and raised in NYC, and was a juvenile actor (not to be confused with juvenile delinquent.. Oh go ahead, confuse it.) I was trained at Circle in the Square theatre, and am currently a member of the Actor’s Alliance. I got accepted at Juilliard but came out here for what I thought was a terribly good reason at the time (could see myself 40 years old and still living with mommy and daddy). Graduated from USIU’s performing arts school out here but didn't pursue acting at that time.

I have been working in the Graphic Design/Marketing industry. I started studying astrology under Hugh Martin about 20 years ago maybe? That would be 20 years ago, BC (before computers). I am by no means as adept at it as I should be after all that time, but I do remain constantly amazed by its validity.

Simone headshotSimone Butler, Recording Secretary

Simone Butler is an intuitive yet practical astrologer with over 30 years of experience. In addition to her consulting practice, she has taught many classes and lectured widely. Simone produced the daily forecasts for the Starscroll for many years, as well as lunar forecasts for, and is a regular contributor to The Mountain Astrologer.

Astro Feng Shui, the system Simone developed, combines the ancient arts of astrology and feng shui into a user-friendly system. Her book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life is available on Simone writes entertaining bi-monthly blogs at

Melissa LaFara - SDAS Corresponding SecretaryMelissa LaFara, Corresponding Secretary

A few call me Melissa, but most call me Mel. I officially began my journey in astrology on a fated day in 2009, while attending a library book sale... yet, even as a child, one of my favorite points of interest were the planets. Neptune and Uranus to be exact. Originally from Florida, I moved from U of F to San Diego in the summer of 2000 to work at a record label and take in some "California Living." Lover of music, I'm a singer and bassist in two rock n' roll bands and have been active in the underground music community for 18+ years. I have also spent much time in vintage clothing resale, owning 3 online businesses in the last 15 years.

Avidly studying astrology, tarot, energy work, and human design for 7 years now, I am very excited to be be of service to this board and soak in the vast knowledge this community has to offer.  You may find my personal website and blog articles at


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