Educators of Impact | Guadalupe Cruz

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 Guadalupe Cruz 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 Guadalupe Cruz

“As a 5th grade teacher Mrs. Cruz has demonstrated an ability to work with students and support them to be reflective in their educational journey to actualize high levels of academic achievement. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Mrs. Cruz and see her as a valuable asset to our team. She consistently shows up as supportive and dedicated to meeting the needs of students.

As a leader, she places high value in building community and relationships. Working alongside her I have observed her working to truly develop relationships with students and work within their realities. She takes time to thoughtfully create space for relationship building, hear personal stories and support students in their growth. Mrs. Cruz’s work in this area demonstrates her understanding of the importance of context and history, while inspiring students within an innovative instructional program that highlights and balances language, literature, writing and the arts. Understanding the context and history of people and school systems is essential to improving them. Understanding the context and history of a student is essential to supporting them. At San Antonio, Mrs. Cruz is also a member of core educators serving on our Instructional Leadership team selected to inform and shape the collective vision and action of our school’s instructional community, which she has been part of for over twenty years. In this space, she serves as a grade-level representative and thought partner in shaping the school’s plan to better serve students throughout the year.

Throughout my career and in my current role at Alum Rock Union School District, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with countless dynamic educators and leaders. With this reflection, I believe that Mrs. Cruz’s aptitude is exceptional. She is also a true pleasure to work with; she is collaborative, energetic, and committed and very much deserving of this recognition. It is for the above mentioned reasons that I nominate her for recognition as an Educator of Impact.”

 

Educators of Impact | Mike Espinoza

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 Mike Espinoza 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 Mike Espinoza

“Mike is so deeply connected to his students and supporting them to bring their full identities into the classroom and school and to use those identities to help them flourish as students. His caring and commitment are a model for transformative teaching!”

SJSU Early Childhood Student-Alumni Network (ESAN) & Summer Film Series

The purpose of ESAN is to create an interdisciplinary group of current pre-service San Jose State University students and alumni working in the Early Childhood field and engage students in the Early Childhood Institute’s mission of supporting each and every child from the start. In this video, Lurie College student / ESAN President Julia Doan and Lurie College faculty / ESAN Advisor Andrea Golloher discuss their organization and their Lurie College Summer Film Series discussion.

ESAN is also hosting a discussion about The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation on Wed., Jul. 1, 5pm.  To receive to join the discussion, register via this Google form.  To get connected with ESAN, email esansjsu@gmail.com.

For more information about the Early Childhood Institute, visit sjsu.edu/education/eci. For more information about the Lurie College Student Organizations, visit sjsu.edu/education/organizations.

Educators of Impact | Margaret Isied

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 Margaret Isied 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 Margaret Isied

“Margaret Isied is an Educator of Impact because of her outstanding professional expertise and leadership.  She currently works as the Lead Academic Counselor at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose, where she manages a team of five counseling professionals.  Always focused on student success, she has increased four-year college application acceptances for low-income and students of color and expertly collaborated with community organizations, teachers, administrators, and families.  A graduate of our Counselor Education program, Margaret has intentionally continued her professional development with designations as a College Admission Specialist and Counseling Data Specialist for ASCA.  She also leads the PublicSchool Counselor Committee for the Western Association for College AdmissionCounseling and has facilitated the dramatic increase in the organization’s public school counselor membership by 400% over two years.  Concurrently, she created professional development resources and has made compelling presentations at conferences.  In February 2020, Margaret was the kickoff speaker at the WACAC Legislative Conference in Sacramento where she brought the public school counselor perspective to life.  Margaret remains integrally connected to our program and recruited the majority of her Lincoln High counseling staff to attend the Sunday  CTC accreditation meeting.  Margaret is knowledgeable, collaborative, and leads with passion and impact.”

Educators of Impact | Debbie Pavlos

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 Debbie Pavlos 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 Debbie Pavlos

“Miss Pavlos has made the social emotional well being of her students her number one focus. She has also sent along many resources to parents that focus on the emotional well being of their children versus just their academic needs. Her twice weekly Zoom calls include introductions of stuffed animals, a space for students to share feelings, and ask questions (no matter what the topic is). She has created digital interactive read alouds that include fun backgrounds (ie-a frozen tundra for Tacky the Penguin) and think alouds that have her students responding to her and engaging in higher order thinking. She understands that her students need to see her face, hear her jokes, and see their beloved class mascot Q-Bear. Her Google Classroom site is organized and she provides daily feedback to students via assignments and the classroom stream. She also encourages students to chat and respond to each other to engage in socializing which is so important to first graders during this challenging time. Miss Pavlos provides a sense of calm, normalcy, and comfort to her students in a time when they need it the most!”

Student Spotlight: Erin Enguero

Learn about Erin Enguero, an SJSU alumni and current credential student in the Teacher Education – Multiple Subject program at the SJSU Lurie College of Education.  Erin was also the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship for Exemplary Teachers for the 2019-2020 academic year!

Connect with Lurie College at https://linktr.ee/sjsulurie to receive more news about academic and student life!  Video recorded by Brian Cheung Dooley and edited by Sydney Ahmadian. Music by Chris Haugen.

Educators of Impact | Ashley Lamboley

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 Lamboley 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 Lamboley

“Ashley is a recent graduate and all she talks about is how much she loves and misses the Lurie College of Education.  She still attends as many workshops, conferences, and events as possible.  Since graduating she has been working at the child development center and babysitting.  She is great with children and has a great attitude and positive outlook on life.”

Opportunities for Early Childhood Connections

SJSU Associated Students Child Development Center

If you are passionate about helping young children, under age 5, reach their full potential, here are two chances to connect with your early childhood people this summer and beyond. These opportunities are open to anyone interested in working with young children – as a teacher, therapist, counselor, program director, or any of the other professions committed to young children.

Apply for Early Childhood Connections to get together and cultivate relationships with current students and Spring 2020 graduates from across SJSU Lurie College of Education programs who share career goals related to early childhood. You will engage in six (online for now) networking meetings, starting in August, to build community, learn from alumni and other professionals already in the field, and build your path as you pursue a career involving young children. Participants will have a chance to shape the program as it unfolds, from August 2020 to April 2021 and will earn a $200 stipend for their commitment. Supported by the LCOE and the SJSU Early Childhood Institute, this is an opportunity to learn, grow, lead and most importantly, connect! Questions? Email us at earlychildhoodinstitute@sjsu.edu

Join the Early Childhood Student Alumni Network, a recognized student group that is building a broader interdisciplinary network of current San Jose State University students interested in working with young children and alumni currently in the field.

Whether you are graduating this spring or continuing on in your journey through SJSU, we hope one or both of these opportunities is right for you!

Educators of Impact | Raquel Katz

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 Raquel Katz 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 Raquel Katz

“Maya Angelou once said ‘People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.’  Raquel Katz, principal of Ryan STEAM Academy, builds strong relationships with her community–that is at the heart of her work.  She believes in inclusivity and leads with her whole heart.  She is the only principal in our district to house our Therapeutic Special Day program K-5 Class, and, as one of her goals, she promotes mainstreaming for all students.  She takes time to reach every single student especially those in her ED program who have faced significant trauma in their lives.  She is a strong advocate for her students and believes that every child deserves a high-quality education in a loving and caring environment.”

Educators of Impact | Jacqueline Janeiro

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 Jacqueline Janeiro 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 Jacqueline Janeiro

“During this quarantine Jacqueline has been in communication with many of her high school students, reaching out through Instagram, emails and Google Hangout.  Jacqueline is managing 5 undergraduate students assists them with helping students, Jacqueline is dedicated to her work and has been a great resource for her students.”

Educators of Impact | Elexus James

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 Elexus James 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 Elexus James

“Elexus gave back to the community during her time at SJSU, and continues to do so now.  She works well with the youth in the community.  Her heart is giving and full of compassion.  She helps others to learn and grow, to truly reach their full potential.”

Student Spotlight | Cristian Ponce

Learn about Cristian Ponce, an alumni credential student in the Teacher Education – Multiple Subject program at the SJSU Lurie College of Education. Cristian was also the recipient of the Emily Devore and Mabel Crumby Endowment for the 2019-2020 academic year!

Connect with Lurie College at https://linktr.ee/sjsulurie to receive more news about academic and student life! Video recorded by Brian Cheung Dooley and Sydney Ahmadian and edited by Sydney Ahmadian. Music by RAGE.

Educators of Impact | Amber Atkinson

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 Amber Atkinson 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 Amber Atkinson

“Amber has been helping at-risk youth, while studying at SJSU and continued to do so after graduating. She has since moved to Washington DC where she is impacting the youth greatly there by mentoring and inspiring them to always work hard to accomplish success. Amber has her own story about overcoming tragedy but she did not let that stop her, she pushed all of the negativity away from her dreams and that is what she shares with these youth. Being relatable to these youth that come from a hard background makes the work she’s doing that much more meaningful and that is why she is an Educator of Impact.”

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 | Justine Huynh Vuong

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 student Justine Huynh Vuong below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Teacher Eduation Department student Justine Vuong

“With such a rapid shift to distance learning comes equity issues regarding access to online education. Justine has gone above and beyond to ensure that each and every student in her classroom has been provided with the accessibility needed to fully engage in the learning. As a result, 100% of her students have been able to connect in the new online environment.”

Watch the Lurie College Spring 2020 Graduation Celebration

Spring 2020 Graduation Celebration

The Spring 2020 SJSU Lurie College of Education Graduation Celebration took place on Friday, May 22, at 4pm!  The full recording is available above and at sjsu.edu/education/graduation.  You can also skip to a section of the recording below.

Order of Events

  • 9:56 – Video acknowledgment of Spring 2020 Lurie College graduates (alphabetized by last name) and remarks from Dean Heather Lattimer
  • 13: 29 – Remarks from Associate Dean Marcos Pizarro
  • 18:14 – Remarks from Lurie College Commencement Speaker, Giselle Arellano (undergraduate, child development)
  • 33:17 – Slideshow of collages submitted by graduates (alphabetized by last name)

If you have any questions about the Lurie College Graduation Celebration, please contact luriecollege@sjsu.edu.

SJSU Spring 2020 Graduate Recognition Websites

SJSU has also created a website to recognize all of the Spring 2020 graduates for the entire university.  Visit the recognition webpage for Lurie College of Education Spring 2020 graduates.

Congratulations, New Lurie College Alumni

SJSU Lurie College of Education Commencement Graduation Counselor Education Department New Alumni

Congratulations to our new SJSU Lurie College of Education alumni.  We have no doubt that you are prepared to be transformative educators, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders!

We would love for you to stay connected with us as you transition into your next chapters.  Visit our Alumni webpage to take advantage of the many opportunities to connect with one another, stay connected with the college, and actively participate in the continued growth of the college.

If you plan to enroll in a graduate program, credential program, or doctoral program in the future, we have numerous opportunities available and our Student Success Center Advisors are happy to assist you with your application process.

Educators of Impact | Richard Fuentes

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 Richard Fuentes 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 Richard Fuentes

“Richard and Right At School, the company he works for, is providing an online bank of resources for families inside and outside of his program. These resources are geared toward providing activities that are engaging and meaningful. Moreover, the goal of these resources are to provide a sense of normalcy and continuity during unprecedented times.”

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!”

Lurie College Set to Celebrate Spring 2020 Graduates

SJSU Lurie College of Education Spring 2020 Graduation Celebration

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted so many facets of society over the past couple of months, that’s not stopping the Lurie College of Education at San Jose State University from organizing a live graduation celebration to recognize its more than 500 Spring 2020 graduates (and soon-to-be alumni)!

This is an incredibly significant moment for our graduates, their support networks, our Lurie College of Education community, and our society as a whole. College commencement ceremonies are a rite of passage for students every year who have worked tirelessly to prepare themselves for the next chapters in their lives. While we are saddened that we are not able to celebrate with our graduates in person at this time as a result of COVID-19, we are proud of how our entire Lurie College community of students, faculty, and staff have responded and persevered during this pandemic, and so it’s our priority to celebrate virtually with our graduates to acknowledge their accomplishments and bring some closure to their academic experiences with us.  We look forward to welcoming our graduates back to campus and celebrating in person together at the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 Commencement events. – Dean Heather Lattimer

The Lurie College Graduation Celebration will take place online on Friday, May 22, at 4pm and begin with a college-wide ceremony that will include remarks from Dean Heather Lattimer, Associate Dean Marcos Pizarro, and student speaker Giselle Arellano, who is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development.

It feels really special to be the graduation speaker, especially during these times.  When I was first selected as the speaker, it was more of an ‘I did it’ moment as a first-generation student of an immigrant family and someone who is representing that small percentage of graduating Latinas all over the world.  Now it feels like I am the person who is able to voice what I’m hearing from my fellow classmates, my friends, from those who are graduating from other departments.  Many of us are feeling the same sadness about not being able to celebrate in person, but we still feel very accomplished and made it to a point where, even though the odds may not be in our favor right now, we still can celebrate and know that ‘we did it’! – Giselle Arellano

Each Spring 2020 graduate will also be recognized during the college-wide ceremony.  Lurie College graduates, faculty, and staff have been invited to attend the event live and family and friends are invited to watch the ceremony live on the Lurie College YouTube channel.

After the college-wide ceremony, each Lurie College department – Child & Adolescent Development, Communicative Disorders & Sciences, Counselor Education, EdD Leadership, Special Education, and Teacher Education – is hosting an online reception to include remarks from faculty chairpersons, individualized slideshows, and socializing among graduates, faculty, and staff to close out the academic year.

Since this year’s experience is entirely digital, Lurie College has created some other digital items to enhance the experience, such as:

San Jose State University as a whole is honoring and celebrating all Spring 2020 graduates by launching graduate recognition websites, which will go live on Friday, May 22.  Learn more about the San Jose State University graduate recognition websites on the SJSU Newsroom website.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s faces and feeling that overall sense of relief in knowing that, while this journey seemed daunting at first, I’m finally able to say ‘I’m a graduate’ and complete something that I’ve been working towards for so long.  Overall, this all feels very surreal and amazing! – Giselle Arellano

SJSU Lurie College of Education Child and Adolescent Development Student Giselle Arellano

Giselle Arellano, SJSU Lurie College of Education Graduation Speaker

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 | Tiffany Lo

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 Tiffany Lo 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 Tiffany Lo

“Tiffany is a Junior Preschool (Toddler) Lead Teacher at Gateway Child Development Center — an offsite program of the YMCA of SF. She is one out of the handful YMCA of SF staff who has been providing emergency child care services to those in need during this pandemic. I believe she is not only an amazing teacher but I consider her a front liner as well. She is waking up every morning ready to welcome the children of essential workers and take care of them while their parents take care of us and the community. She ensures that the children and staff that is at our Y Pop – Up Care is well taken care of and is in a safe, clean and healthy environment. She is truly making a big impact to our community as a front line educator!”

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.