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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Sarah Garrity Appointed Interim Senior Associate Dean

Dr. Sarah Garrity
Photo by Ian Ordonio


Sarah Garrity has been appointed interim senior associate dean of the San Diego State University College of Education. Garrity, an associate professor who had served as chair of the Department of Child and Family Development (CFD) since 2019, was selected by Dean Y. Barry Chung to succeed Karen Myers-Bowman, recently appointed interim dean of SDSU Global Campus. 

“I have very big shoes to fill, but I've filled Karen's shoes before,” said Garrity, who followed Myers-Bowman as chair of CFD. “I know she's always here to support me and she's my biggest cheerleader. And I'm very excited to work with Barry and to continue learning. My hope is that I can support faculty, staff and students in the College of Education to pursue their dreams and to be successful in supporting children, families and communities.” 

STE’s André Branch Works to Empower Students and Teachers of Color

Dr. André Branch


A few years ago, Dr. André Branch was teaching a multicultural education course at San Diego State University when a student shared something that shocked him. Branch was, she informed him, the first Black teacher they had ever had. 

He was taken aback. Could this be? Are scores of American students really experiencing 12 years of primary and secondary schooling without ever seeing a Black person at the head of the classroom? 

So he started asking the question semester after semester. Every time he inquired which students had never had a Black teacher before, hands would invariably go up. 

Donor Spotlight: David and Catherine Want and Power of a Scholarship

David and Catherine Want


A hundred bucks changed everything for David Want and Catherine (Harris) Want. It was 1966, and David was a teenager in Encinitas pumping gas for a dollar an hour. Coming from a family of limited means in what was then a sleepy rural community, he needed help if he was going to attend college. 

It came in the form of a $100 scholarship from the Women’s Club of Encinitas. 

It wasn’t much, but it mattered. The sum allowed David to put enough gas in his 1956 Ford Station wagon to take him to and from Palomar College. He even had a little left over for books. 

“I wouldn’t have been able to go without it,” he says, matter-of-factly. 

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Allie Carter

Allie Carter


Many people know Allie Carter as a credential advising team member and office manager in the Office for Student Success. But did you know that millions more people have seen her as a horn player in a viral Rage Against the Machine medley? Find out more fun facts about Allie in this edition of 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Faculty and Staff! 

COE DIFFERENCE MAKERS: Driven by a Belief that ‘Recovery Works’

Dr. Sonia Peterson
Photo by Ian Ordonio


Dr. Sonia Peterson has devoted most of her adult life to helping people with disabilities attain employment and independence. 

In more than 20 years as a practitioner in the vocational rehabilitation field, Peterson worked as a vocational counselor for people with all types of disabilities and as a supervisor and manager with the California Department of Rehabilitation. 

In 2019, she brought that wealth of experience to San Diego State University full time as an assistant professor in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education (ARPE). 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

New Grant Expands SDSU's Support, Study of Family Child Care Providers

Stock photo of a woman playing with a young child


In refugee and immigrant communities across San Diego County, family child care providers are an indispensable part of daily life. These licensed small businesses — typically based in private homes and run by women — often provide culturally and linguistically responsive child care services to hardworking parents, many of whom have been essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thanks to a new $245,000 grant from the Blue Shield Foundation, San Diego State University’s Center for Excellence in Early Development (CEED) is expanding its role in empowering these important community fixtures while informing statewide policy on the child care sector. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

STE Alumna Tiffany Jokerst Named Top California Teacher

Tiffany Jokerst


San Diego State University alumna Tiffany Jokerst (’05, ’06) has been named a 2022 California Teacher of the Year. The mathematics and engineering teacher at West Hills High in Santee was among five recipients of the award, announced by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond

“I am incredibly honored to represent all San Diego teachers who persevered during such an unprecedented year of education,” Jokerst said. “I hope to inspire educators to provide a learning environment that fosters a connection with students through project-based learning experiences that encourage student voice and choice.” 

Friday, October 15, 2021

$3.5 Million Grant Addresses Statewide Bilingual Teacher Shortage

Dr. Margarita Machado-Casas and Guillermo Castillo will serve as P.I. and co-P.I. on the grant.

San Diego State University will lead a new federally funded partnership to train hundreds of new bilingual educators for high-need communities across California.

Project Teach Bilingual Pathways will be funded by a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition. SDSU will complete its work in concert with a consortium of regional partners, including the San Diego County Office of Education and its counterparts in Imperial County, Orange County and Butte County. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Two SDSU Alumni Named Top Teachers in San Diego County

Jacquelyn Flores Jourdane (left) and Tiffany Jokerst. Photo illustration by Manny Uribe.


San Diego State University alumni Tiffany Jokerst (’05, ’06) and Jacquelyn Flores Jourdane (’20) have been named two of the five recipients of the 2022 Teachers of the Year award presented by the San Diego County Office of Education. 

The two will be honored Oct. 17 during the “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers” cable television special on YurView Network. With the county honor, Jokerst and Jourdane became finalists for the California Teacher of Year honor, to be announced later this month. 

Jokerst teaches math and engineering and chairs the mathematics department at West Hills High School in Santee. Jourdane teaches second grade at San Altos Elementary School in Lemon Grove. Both reflected on the people who inspired them and how their SDSU experiences contributed to their success as educators. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

COE STORIES: Associated Students President Ashley Tejada

Ashley Tejada
Photo by Ian Ordonio.
Ashley Tejada, an alumna of the College of Education's leadership minor and a current postsecondary educational leadership master's student, discusses her new role as a campus leader at San Diego State University.

Dr. Douglas Fisher Receives National Honor for Impact on Latinx Students

Dr. Douglas Fisher


Dr. Douglas Fisher, professor and chair of San Diego State University’s Department of Educational Leadership, has been honored by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) for his commitment to serving Latinx youth. Fisher will receive the Latino Student Impact Award at the organization’s annual gala on Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C. 

“It's humbling,” Fisher said. “This culminates a whole bunch of work that's important to me — finding ways to ensure we're impacting learners and accelerating their achievement. This is quite an honor that my fellow leaders would think of me for this award.” 

A nationwide organization with more than 8,000 members across 18 state affiliates, ALAS aims to provide leadership to ensure U.S. schools meet the needs of all students with an emphasis on Latinx youth. 

Vasquez Pilots Program to Engage Community College Students in Research

Dr. Marissa Vasquez


Dr. Marissa Vasquez recalls attending a national conference early in her career when a question was posed to the audience: How can we get more research about people of color in higher education? 

“I was one of a handful of women of color in the room,” recalls Vasquez, now an assistant professor in San Diego State University’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education. “Looking around, I just had that light-bulb-going-off moment.” 

Suddenly, so much was illuminated. She thought about how most people doing social science research on people of color were people of color themselves. Then she considered how high numbers of students of color start their academic journeys in community college, where a focus on student research is often absent. 

New Ed.D. Director Vicki Park Seeks to Support Leaders to Make Change

Dr. Vicki Park


Dr. Vicki Park vividly remembers the feelings of anger and frustration.

It was the early 2000s and she was an elementary school teacher in central Los Angeles working with students of color, many of whom came from low-income immigrant communities. Park, who herself came to the U.S. from Korea as a young child and grew up not far from her school site, loved the kids and relished getting to know their families. 

But experiences such as tutoring one summer pushed her to think more broadly about systemic change. 

COE DIFFERENCE MAKERS: Dr. Melissa Soto Examines How Kids Think About Math

Dr. Melissa Soto
Photo by Ian Ordonio.


When she’s not teaching courses in San Diego State University’s School of Teacher Education, you might find Dr. Melissa Soto back in elementary school. The associate professor of mathematics education estimates that, over the past three years, she has spent at least 200 hours visiting San Diego-area classrooms, guiding lessons and talking with children about math. 

“When I got here to San Diego State it was really important for me to find teachers and find schools where I could go and talk to kids,” said Soto, who has partnered with 110 local teachers and reached hundreds more through virtual professional development via the San Diego Math Project
 
“At the heart of everything that I do is children's mathematical thinking, and how we can support students in making sense of math. And who doesn't love hanging out with kindergarteners? They're just the best." 

NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program Renamed to Honor Dr. Ted Martinez, Jr.

Dr. Ted Martinez, Jr.
Dr. Ted Martinez, Jr. in his Lamden Hall office. Photo by Michael Klitzing.


The walls of Dr. Ted Martinez, Jr.’s office in Lamden Hall are adorned with several large prints, each a group photo of a different graduating class of the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) Leadership Fellows Program. The smiling faces provide a welcome reminder that the leadership development program he founded in 2003 — and continues to lead as its executive director — has made a massive impact. 

“Out of this group,” he said, pointing to the photos, “there are 17 community college presidents here.” 

The program, which prepares Latinx administrators to advance in executive learnership positions at U.S. community colleges, found a new home at San Diego State University in 2020. And now, it has found a new name as well.