Statement from Dean Heather Lattimer | June 2, 2020

Last week’s murder of an unarmed Black man was shocking, horrifying, and infuriatingly familiar.  George Floyd and his family have now joined a grievously long list of Black and Brown Americans who have had their lives and their liberties taken away by individuals and systems that perpetuate injustice and inequality.  Eric Garner.  Sandra Bland.  Philando Castile.  Freddie Gray.  Terence Crutcher.  Alton Sterling.  Walter Scott.  Tamir Rice.  Michael Brown.  Ahmaud Arbery.  Breonna Taylor.  The list of names seems endless and the pain behind each one is overwhelming.

So many in our community are hurting.  We’ve witnessed a modern-day lynching and it has brought fresh trauma to those who have suffered personal and generational wounds of injustice, racism, and oppression.  These are not isolated incidents but part of a larger culture which privileges some and oppresses others in ways that manifest in everything from the disproportional rates of COVID-19 deaths in Black and Brown communities to the flagrant abuse of privilege by a white dog walker calling the police and falsely claiming that her life was threatened by a Black birdwatcher who had simply asked her to follow the posted leash laws.

Our college is committed to the preparation of transformative educators, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders.  In the face of such glaring and graphic evidence of the deep roots of racism and the brokenness of our society, this work has taken on even greater importance and added urgency.

Our society needs transformative leaders in education-related fields now more than ever.  We need teachers who recognize the racist and hegemonic roots of our society and seek to understand how that reality impacts the lived experiences of our students.  We need counselors and therapists who believe that an integral part of being an advocate for the children and clients in our care is the willingness to call out discriminatory structures and systems that continue to breed inequity.  We educators who are willing to interrogate our own assumptions and engage in hard conversations about privilege, marginalization, bias, and inequity.  We need leaders who consistently and repeatedly stand with marginalized communities and vulnerable individuals and take bold action to make transformative change happen.

In the midst of heartache and outrage, I take solace in the knowledge that Lurie College is a community that is deeply committed to equity, inclusion, and racial and social justice.  I see strength in the dedication of our faculty, staff, and community partners.  I see hope in the passion and tenacity of our students and alumni.  Together, we will continue to work toward the promise of transformative change and the realization of a more just and equitable society.

Educators of Impact | Ann-Marie Sierra

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about SJSU Alumni and Ann-Marie Sierra below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Ann-Marie Sierra

“Ann-Marie is a Kindergarten teacher who has risen above the challenges, doing what is best for kids emotionally and academically and highly deserving this award. Her teacher candidate stated, “She is the definition of an inspirational teacher. Ms. Sierra doesn’t strive to be perfect, but strives to do what is best for her kids.” Showing kids all the kindness in the world, comes second nature to her. She exemplifies what many teachers are striving for during this difficult time.

She greets students individually as they enter their daily morning meeting. She shares the calendar, picks a name-stick for the weather report, and more. Her “praise time” is now through Class Dojo messages, morning meetings, and on Seesaw. Other positive examples are online reading groups using Raz-Kid books to help with differentiation, class “Show and Tell”, using Jamboard for magnetic word lists, “office hours” for 1:1 time with families, making video lessons for her kids, online math lessons, Seesaw writing activities, and even a virtual field trip to the farm. Ann-Marie has eagerly stepped up to help provide the most efficient and successful lessons for her kids. Again, I hope that you consider her highly for this award.”

Educators of Impact | Ashley Messner

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about SJSU Alumni Ashley Messner below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Ashley Messner

“Miss Ashley is a Junior Kindergarten teacher at Moreland Preschool. Miss Ashley has worked hard to engage the students in the program through the use of FlipGrid. She creates interactive read aloud videos that focus on topics such as social emotional learning, number sense, and reading foundation skills. Not only does Miss Ashley engage her students prior to reading, but she often includes visuals such as anchor charts and props to help her students understand and connect with the text. Beyond the videos, there are extension activities to keep our little learners busy and also help them find joy amidst the SIP orders. Miss Ashley is an educator at impact, because she knows how much her students miss connecting with their teachers and friends, she is committed to helping students feel the community that she and the other teachers at Moreland Preschool have worked hard to create!”

Educators of Impact | Katie Morse

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about SJSU Alumni Katie Morse below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Katie Morse

“Katie is an amazing 4th grade mentor teacher this year for one of my 143B students. Katie meets with her class every day to ensure that they are supported in their distance learning. Katie has welcomed my teaching candidate in from the very beginning, demonstrating a vast knowledge about the classroom and most specifically reading instruction. Katie has advocated for my candidate to be involved in Google Classroom, appealing to her district to ensure the candidate had access. She pushes my candidate to have confidence in her own ability and instruction in such a supportive way. This candidate is still teaching on a daily basis, amidst the chaos of Covid-19. Adrienne has bloomed in this classroom, and has grown in every area we evaluate as supervisors. This simply would not have been possible without the guidance of a MASTER mentor teacher.”

Educators of Impact | Candice Nance

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about SJSU Alumni and current Lurie College EdD Leadership Program student Candice Nance below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Candice Nance

“Of anyone I’ve ever met, Candice embodies the idea of being a lifelong learner.  She constantly works to improve her own knowledge and skills so she can improve opportunities for her students.”

Educators of Impact | Barbara Conant

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about SJSU Alumni Barbara Conant below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Barbara Conant

“Barbara Conant was an amazing 5th grade classroom teacher; I had the opportunity as a friend, colleague and administrator to know this from my personal observation of Barbara’s classroom.  With her excellent teaching strategies, she delivered the curriculum to her students through real life experiences.  They witnessed historical events by recreating them in plays, debates, banquets, and more.  Students enjoyed literature by becoming actors, wearing appropriate costumes of that period. Her classroom became a laboratory.  And how do I know that Barbara was an extremely effective teacher?  Because she is still in contact with many of her former students; she attends their weddings, they invite her to lunch or dinner to let her know about their jobs and achievements.  I know for a fact when Barbara, in retirement, became Mayor of Campbell, her former students walked precincts for her.  To sum things up, Barbara accomplished extraordinary things as a teacher, and she has been blessed that her students keep in touch with her to let her know what a difference she has made in their lives.”

Educators of Impact | Mario Rocha

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about Mario Rocha below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Mario Rocha

“Mr. Mario Rocha joined the O.B. Whaley Elementary School staff during the 2019-20 school year as a Resource Specialist Teacher.  Immediately, he was a perfect fit for our student population, a diverse Title 1 school.  He created an inviting learning environment where students easily made connections with him and felt his genuine love for them.  Within weeks of him as the school’s new resource teacher, student absenteeism improved, students made academic gains, and students enjoyed school!  Mr. Rocha is one of a kind, and we are so fortunate to have him as an educator.”

Educators of Impact | Donna Lewis

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about Goleta Union School District Superintendent Donna Lewis below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Dr. Donna Lewis

1. As an educator, what gives you the greatest sense of achievement?

As an educator of nearly 30 years and in my current role as Superintendent, my greatest sense of achievement comes from knowing we are working cohesively as a professional learning community to meet the needs of a diverse student population.  This takes creativity, collaboration, tenacity and a lot of hard work.  We hold high expectations for every student and make no excuses. As a result, our students are outperforming peers from similar school districts.  This is so highly rewarding.

2. What impact has your career had on you?

Public education is ever-evolving and fraught with challenges such as lack of funding, resources, and now distance learning as we cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Despite these challenges, or maybe because of them, I have learned to be patient, to be more empathetic, and to never give up — not on any student, family, colleague, or myself. I am definitely a better person for having served as an educator.

3. What advice would you give to a current or aspiring educator?

Being an educator is a calling. I gave up a career in finance to become a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. My advice to any current or aspiring educator would be to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  When opportunity knocks be willing to be flexible and try something new.  Take leadership opportunities.  Get your master’s degree as soon as possible and consider a doctoral degree.  Challenge yourself and always be self-reflective.  Most of all, never forget you are a role model for others.  Respect and treasure the power that you have as an educator to influence the lives of so many.

Educators of Impact | Connie L. Lurie

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about Connie L. Lurie below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Connie L. Lurie

Connie L. Lurie’s commitment to education has had a tremendous impact on both San José State University and the Bay Area as a whole. Her dedication to the university and her philanthropic spirit exemplify the ideals of the College of Education and San José State University.

Connie graduated from San José State with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology in 1964. She taught in elementary schools on the Monterey Peninsula for six years and later ventured into real estate investment. In her heart, Connie has always been an educator. She established the Guardian Scholars program, which provides support and mentorship to former foster youths at SJSU and endowed the university’s Lurie Author-in-Residence program, which attracts renowned national and international authors to serve as distinguished visiting scholars for one or two semesters. She launched Spartans in the Desert Golf Tournament and Dinner, which brought SJSU faculty and alumni together for a weekend of events in Palm Desert for thirteen years. In May 2013, Connie served as SJSU’s commencement speaker and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the California State University System. On May 4, 2007, the SJSU Connie L. Lurie College of Education was named in her honor.

Beyond SJSU, Connie is involved in many worthwhile education-focused causes throughout the Bay Area and California. She has served on numerous boards, including the San Francisco Zoological Society, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Strive for College and California State Parks Foundation. She has been active with The Living Desert, Kipp Schools, Aim High, and United Religions International. She’s championed summer science camps for kids through the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley and was awarded their Champion of Youth Award in 2019. Connie is particularly proud of the role that she has played in connecting non profits so that they can work together to benefit children and youth.

With her dedication to education, leadership in promoting access to higher education, charitable giving, and longstanding support of the university, Connie L. Lurie is an outstanding “Educator of Impact.”

Call for Nominations for Educators of Impact

COVID-19 has made it clear how critical educators are in our society.  Help us recognize SJSU Lurie College of Education alumni who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities!  Nominate an Educator of Impact at https://bit.ly/3eFjy8n

SJSU Lurie College of Education Alumni Irene Castillon

Lurie College Student Opinion Piece Published in Mercury News

Shoutout to Single Subject Credential Program Elizabeth Unpingco, whose letter to the editor “Homeland security means taking care of our own first” was recently published in the Mercury News.  Give it a read below or by visiting the Mercury News at https://bayareane.ws/34tDhU4.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Teacher Education Department Student Elizabeth Unpingco

It is up to us to prime the pump of recovery

Homeland security means taking care of our own — first and foremost. If we learn anything from the horrific experience we find ourselves in now, it is that without a strong, cohesive and healthy foundation — supporting essential health care, food industry, education and government workers on the front lines — we are all in danger of succumbing to collapse.

We must reevaluate our priorities — care for one another and the environment and not consider wasteful military spending as essential to the survival of our way of life.

Let’s let our elected leaders hear that we demand the reallocation of billions of dollars currently budgeted for military spending toward real security.

It is up to us to prime the pump of recovery and human survival.  The world is watching the USA as a leader and we must be a better model of action by the people for the people.

SJSU Lurie College Students Praise Their Faculty

We recently asked our students “Which of your classes or professors has been the most exciting for you this semester??” on our Instagram account – @sjsulurie – and were excited to see so many students give shoutouts to their faculty.  Check them out in the Instagram post below!

Read the 2018-19 Lurie College of Education Annual Report

The Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San Jose State University is a place of transformation, where we prepare educators, counselors, therapists, and community leaders using emancipatory pedagogy across our teaching, scholarship and service. Learn more about our impact by reading through this report and join the Lurie College family by visiting sjsu.edu/education!

Teacher Appreciation Week Special Education Stories: Everett Smith

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, the SJSU Lurie College of Education met with some of its students, alumni, and faculty from the Special Education department to learn more about their journeys into the field of special education.  Read about or listen to Everett Smith’s journey below!

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Teacher Appreciation Week Special Education Stories: Devdutt Srivastava

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, the SJSU Lurie College of Education met with some of its students, alumni, and faculty from the Special Education department to learn more about their journeys into the field of special education.  Read about or listen to Devdutt Srivastava’s journey below!

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Teacher Appreciation Week Special Education Stories: Sudha Krishnan

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, the SJSU Lurie College of Education met with some of its students, alumni, and faculty from the Special Education department to learn more about their journeys into the field of special education – learn about Sudha Krishnan’s journey!

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Teacher Appreciation Week Special Education Stories: Jennifer Kaufman

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, the SJSU Lurie College of Education met with some of its students, alumni, and faculty from the Special Education department to learn more about their journeys into the field of special education – learn about Jennifer Kaufmans’s journey!

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Teacher Apprecation Week Special Education Stories: Renee Hardin

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, the SJSU Lurie College of Education met with some of its students, alumni, and faculty from the Special Education department to learn more about their journeys into the field of special education – learn about Renee Hardin’s journey!

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