Honor an Educator Awards

Congratulations to the honorees and thanks to nominators for their generous support of the College of Education.


2012 Distinguished Award Recipients



Linda Vista Elementary School - 2012 Distinguished Education Excellence Award


Rio Vista Elementary School and Kim Case - 2012 Distinguished Education Excellence Award


Gordon, Dr. Milton - 2012 Visionary Leadership Award


Adler, Louise 


Aloia, Dr. Steven

Professor, CSUF College of Education

Steve has been teaching since the 70's in the department of special education. His dedication to sound educational philosophy has been an inspiration to so many students. He strives to take his students to the highest levels of dedication, ethical practice and long lasting values. He has committed his life to carrying the message of teaching as the highest calling in life, and the teacher as one who can change the world a child at a time-a family at a time. I am grateful for having known him and worked with him.

Judy Smith
CSUF College of Education (retired)


Bowers, Dr. Erica

Assistant Professor, CSUF College of Education

Dr. Erica Bowers is an assistant professor who has taught almost every course, both online and face-to-face versions, in the Masters in Reading Program.  Although Erica is only one individual, when you review her curriculum vitae, you quickly discover that she produces the work of five people!  Since 2009, Erica served as course custodian for five different courses, served in key roles at department, college, and university levels, has held office and has published or presented at the local, state and national levels and garnered awards and honors including “CSUF Exceptional Teaching Effectiveness Award” (2011) and OCRA’s “Outstanding Contributions to Reading” (2010).  Erica’s list of publications and creative activities is six pages long, single spaced, all produced in the space of only six years, since she joined CSUF in 2006!  Given Erica’s highly productive track record, she must either have a twin hiding somewhere or she doesn’t sleep.  And that’s on top of raising two teenage sons with her husband, Jeff.

Julie Chan
CSUF College of Education


Carter-Anderson, Patricia

 Teacher, Tustin Unified School District

Trish Carter-Anderson is an RTI (Response to Intervention) teacher in Tustin USD who works with struggling readers from second through fifth grades. During Reading Clinic in Fall 2011, I watched Trish work with a student who literally blossomed before our eyes – from someone who would absolutely not talk to anyone to someone who wouldn’t stop talking by the end of the course.  Trish’s ability to draw out one of the most reluctant of reluctant readers is absolutely amazing; in fact, this student could hardly believe that he actually created the beginnings of a video game, a career that he aspires to someday. Trish also demonstrated her problem-solving skills as she helped plan and execute the Literacy Festival 2012. Trish consistently demonstrates her leadership and problem-solving skills in her role as one of the Literacy Festival’s Zone Coordinators.

Julie Chan
CSUF College of Education


Chamberlin, Dr. Sean

Department of Earth Sciences, Fullerton College

Professor Sean Chamberlin teaches oceanography, meteorology, marine biology, and geology in the Department of Earth Sciences at Fullerton College. Dr. Chamberlin's passion for the world's oceans is obvious and infectious.  He has authored numerous publications on ocean science and science education, and is a leader in collegial governance at Fullerton College.

Robert Koch
Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics


Chan, Dr. Julie

Lecturer, CSUF College of Education

I am honoring Dr. Julie Chan for her dedication, service, and generosity to students, to Cal State Fullerton, and to the communities we serve.  Dr. Chan has touched the lives of thousands of students throughout her career as a teacher, staff developer, school administrator, and professor. As an instructor in our Master’s degree program in Reading Education, Dr. Chan has provided encouragement and support that is beyond expectations and that has greatly enhanced her students’ success.  For the past three years, she has served as Co-Director of the Community Learning and Literacy Center, mostly as an unpaid volunteer, and this year in that role she organized a very successful Community Literacy Festival that was held yesterday at Cal State Fullerton’s Irvine Campus. Through her work with the Center, Dr. Chan has shared with Orange County's families the magic of reading, writing and children's books, while raising awareness of the lifelong power of literacy. I offer my deepest gratitude for all of her dedication, hard work and generosity.

Claire Cavallaro
Dean, CSUF College of Education


Coan, Ms. Sharon

Strategic Planning Executive, Teacher Created Materials

At Teacher Created Materials, Sharon has developed most proudly a phonics program, Targeted Phonics, and TCM’s first apps, Kids Learn Sight Words. Prior to her current role, Sharon served as editor and editor-in-chief of TCM for 20 years. Before TCM, Sharon was a teacher for 21 years. During that time, she taught in first, third, and fourth grade classrooms and served as a Title I (Chapter I) reading teacher for 10 years. Products created under Sharon’s direction at Teacher Created Materials have been successful in the marketplace and won many awards. For example, a set of standards-based, grade-level activity books designed to combat summer learning loss was adopted by Los Angeles Unified School District and distributed to the students in every Title I school in the district. Many TCM materials have received Teacher Choice Awards from Learning magazine; e.g., Social Studies Strategies for Active Learning, Graphing Calculator Strategies (developed in partnership with Texas Instruments), and a series of books titled 30 Graphic Organizers. Each year, the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) asks publishers to submit their best work in several categories for Distinguished Achievement Awards. Over the years, TCM has won numerous of these awards for materials in all curriculum areas; e.g., Reading and Writing Strategies for the Content Areas, Active Algebra: Algebra I, Social Studies Primary Source kits, Discovering Science Through Inquiry kits, and Reader’s Theater kits. AEP also honors selected product with a Golden Lamp Award, the Oscar of educational publishing. The pool includes large textbook publishers as well as smaller supplemental publishers like TCM. Proudly, TCM has won 3 Golden Lamps over the years of Sharon’s tenure. The first of these was for Write Time for Kids, a unique K-8 nonfiction reading and writing curriculum developed in partnership with Time for Kids magazine.

Ashley Bishop
Professor Emeritus, CSUF College of Education


Cox, Dr. Keni

Professor, CSUF College of Education

For the past 3 years, Dr. Cox has been a great source of encouragement and support to me in completing the Ed.D. program here at CSUF. I have appreciated her patience, guidance, and grace in serving as the chair of my dissertation committee. Dr. Cox is an inspiring educational leader, change agent, and true advocate for student learning.

Julie Hatchel
Assistant Superintendent, Capistrano Unified School District


Dieker, Dr. Lisa

Professor, University of Central Florida

Dr. Lisa Dieker is being honored by the PROCESS Project for her dedication to students with disabilities and specifically for her dedication to teacher education programs. Dr. Dieker provided CSUF College of Education faculty with an outstanding guest lecture during the college's fall 2011 retreat. Her willingness to support our efforts toward continuous program improvement and the donation of her time and expertise is greatly appreciated. Dr. Dieker is indeed an educator of the highest caliber that should be honored.

Dr. Kristin Stang
Associate Professor, CSUF College of Education


Ellmann, Ms. Mary

Coordinator of the Reading Program, Long Beach City College (retired)

Honoring Mary Ellmann is an opportunity to honor a lifetime of service to learners. Born into a family strongly valuing education, Mary’s mom had been a teacher and her dad served on the Board of Education. He vigorously opposed the Board’s secret hiring policy: give highest priority to applicants who would teach for the least pay!  Graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Mary taught in Long Beach and San Bruno elementary schools. Returning to teach in southern California, Mary earned a Masters degree in School Administration at Long Beach State, married a wonderful math professor, and left teaching to start her family.  The next phase of her life saw Mary teaching as a volunteer Scout leader for her four children and as teacher and Director of her church’s very large religious education program. Mary taught and served next as Assistant Director at the Marymount Loyola Reading Center in Orange. The small classes and clear instruction from specially trained teachers proved successful for many students, but Mary’s heart went out to those who still could not learn to read. This led her to CSUF’s Education Master’s program in Reading, where new definitions of reading derived from current research on the reading act totally captured Mary’s attention and interest. After receiving her Master’s degree, Mary began teaching in CSUF’s undergraduate reading program, helping students develop reading skills needed in higher education. This led her to 20 years as coordinator of the Reading Program at Long Beach City College. Mary credits CSUF’s Reading program with giving her the rich background needed to envision and produce a program which still helps LBCC students achieve a rigorous reading standard in order to graduate. As Mary has observed, “Obtaining resources for such a program is a political process on a college campus.” Mary led her colleagues by example, to become active on campus so that other faculty and administrators could recognize the professionalism of the Reading faculty. For many years Mary served on the Executive Board of the Academic Senate, following and influencing what was happening on the campus. Today Mary is retired, but she continues to inspire with her volunteer teaching, giving lots of one-on-one lectures to anyone who will listen about what reading is, when to start teaching it, and how to build comprehension.

Dr.Deborah Hancock
College of Education Supporter


Filer, Ms. Charlotte

Professor, Linfield College (retired)

Ms. Filer served as my adviser and professor at Linfield College during my undergraduate studies, 1963-67. She took great interest in my development as a person and journalist. She was totally dedicated to her students. I give her much credit for the successes I had in my professional career.

Dr. Rick Pullen
Dean Emeritus, CSUF


Gutierrez, Ms. Amalia

3rd Grade Teacher, Durfee Elementary School

Amalia Gutierrez is a woman with a passion for learning. One of the first people in her family to graduate from high school, Amalia wanted to keep going to school. But soon after she finished high school, she was married and had two sons.  Amalia wanted to become a teacher. In 1998 she began working as a preschool teacher’s aide in the El Rancho Unified School District. Then, in 2003 she found herself a single mom. With her teaching goal in mind, and the love and support of her family, she simultaneously started pursuing her undergraduate degree at Cal State Los Angeles. Her second year at the preschool, Amalia was given her own class and was made head teacher. For the next eight years she had the joy of teaching preschoolers, mostly Latino children. Viewed as a teacher role model, many of her colleagues were given the opportunity to observe Amalia and apply her teachings. Being fully bilingual and biliterate, Amalia thoroughly enjoyed working with the teachers, students and parents in her school community.  After completing her undergraduate degree and credential program, Amalia was hired as a parent educator and resource teacher for the same preschool program. A year later, she was hired as a second grade teacher at Durfee Elementary School in the El Rancho District. The following year she was assigned as a third grade teacher where she continues to serve.  Longing to understand more about literacy development in young children, Amalia entered the CSUF Masters Program in Reading. From the first she has enjoyed putting into practice and sharing her knowledge of reading and her enthusiasm for teaching with her students and her colleagues. Thanks to Amalia and her fellow teachers, as well as her supportive and encouraging principal, the students at her school continue to show progress in their reading skills and their enjoyment of learning.  Amalia’s sons, themselves eager learners, have both completed high school and are currently pursuing further education. Amalia’s family and her former professors at CSUF continue to be amazed at all she has accomplished. What an inspiration she is to us all!

Dr. Deborah O. Hancock
College of Education


Harrison, Mrs. Julie

  First Grade Teacher, Nohl Canyon Elementary

 We knew Mrs. Harrison was special when she taught us--her first grade parents-- her 5 classroom rules using all our learning styles in under 5 minutes at Back to School night. That first impression wasn't a cool trick, it was just a small window into her many teaching talents. Julie brings warmth and passion to her work, and an incredible commitment to her students and their families. With a class of 31 wriggling, silly and energetic students to manage, she makes a personal connection with all of them. Our son has blossomed as a first grader thanks not only to her support of him in class, but also her suggestions for us through late night email exchanges and lunchtime conversations. And perhaps the truest testament to her work as an educator is our son's consistent answer when asked about the best part of his day: 'Going to school and learning new things!' Thank you Julie on behalf of all your first grade Roadrunners!

Jennifer and Rich Ramus


Johnson, Mr. Brian

Teacher, La Habra High School

Brian Johnson is an incredibly dedicated and talented teacher who devotes hundreds of hours a month to his students and theater program at La Habra High School. I have never seen another teacher put in so much time to accomplish his goal, which he said, is “to create the best theater program in Orange County.” Mr. Johnson has produced twenty-six plays and musicals at La Habra High School that involved not only theater students, but students from all walks of life on campus including varsity athletes, honors students, special-education and English-learner students. He has won dozens of awards for his work and his students have gone on to earn Bachelor’s of Fine arts degrees from Cal State Fullerton and UCLA. He also runs a children’s theater program on the weekends and during the summer which exposes children as young as fifth grade to theater production. Many of these children develop such a love for theater that they come from out of district to go to La Habra for Mr. Johnson’s theater program.

Jeff Naujokas
Teacher, La Habra High School


Jung, Dr. Woo

Professor, CSUF College of Education

Dr. Jung exhibits the highest level of teaching excellence, dedication, mentoring and leadership in his roles as instructor of graduate courses, department graduate advisor and coordinator of our master's program in the department of special education. His knowledge base is extensive and his positive, focused, and consistent, mentoring and collegial work with students, faculty and university administration enhances the learning environment for all who have the privilege of working with him.

Judy Smith
CSUF College of Education (retired)


Keeley, Dr. Elaine

Principal, Springbrook Elementary School

I am pleased to nominate Dr. Elaine Keeley for the 2012 Honor an Educator Award. Dr. Keeley, a resident of Huntington Beach, is currently Principal of Springbrook Elementary School in the Irvine Unified School District. She serves concurrently as Faculty Member for LASER, National Science Resource Center, and in that capacity she planned and led and 6-day strategic planning institute with a faculty of 20 science professionals from around the country for science planning teams around the world. Dr. Keeley’s teaching career began in the Los Angeles Unified School District and then Santa Ana Unified where she was a Title 1 Resource teacher. As an elementary school teacher she taught and developed bilingual programs and worked with a team of resource teachers who implemented and coordinated resource labs for limited English speaking students. She served as Assistant Principal in Santa Ana and as Principal in Huntington Beach before coming to her present school. She has also served as Administrator for Instructional Services, Orange Co. Dept. of Education. Her educational philosophy shows why she is deserving of this recognition. “As a school principal, I provide leadership for a staff of 25 teachers and 40 support staff who support a Title 1, ethnically diverse community of learners in the Irvine Unified School District. Springbrook has a high level of parent participation and is a school of choice due to the embedded Montessori Program. Teachers and staff participate in the leadership of the school and in a decentralized system we together create the highest quality education we can envision. “Good teaching makes a difference. Students gain high level of proficiency when teachers are able to transform their high expectations into rigorous and relevant lessons in the classroom. As a principal, my responsibility is to support teachers in honing their craft in the classroom. Leading a group of teachers to believe all students can learn, and learn at high levels is the challenge. When you give ordinary students extra-ordinary experiences, they can do extra-ordinary things. Each child’s education deserves the very best we can offer. This challenge is the inspiration for my philosophy and continuous improvement as a principal.” Elaine Keeley is an active community leader and has received several awards for her leadership. She collaborates with other professionals and serves on several professional committees. She has also served on University grant writing teams including in 2008 Cal State Fullerton’s Collaborating For Excellence in Middle School Science, CA MSP Cohort 5. I nominate Dr. Elaine Keeley with pleasure.

Ruth Siegrist
CSUF College of Education Leadership Council


Knutson, Ms. Shawn

Principal, Fairmont Elementary School

Principal Shawn Knutson has been a supporter of teacher training programs at Cal State Fullerton through acceptance and mentorship of student teachers at both Golden Elementary and Fairmont Elementary Schools. She is an inspiration to her community and a leader in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. Dr. Melinda Pierson’s three children have had the joy of experiencing her as their principal at a large school where it is remarkable that she knows every child’s name. Furthermore, when Dr. Erica Howell was a young teacher working with students with autism, Principal Knutson was her administrator and role model. Shawn is an involved advocate for supporting and including students with disabilities on her campus, a stellar principal respected by staff, students, and families, and an activator who encourages teachers to reach their potential. Both Drs. Pierson and Howell feel honored to have known her in a professional capacity and as a friend. Thank you, Principal Knutson, for all you to do make our schools better for every child!

Melinda Pierson and Erica Howell
Professor and Assistant Professor, CSUF College of Education


Matsuda, Mike

Coordinator, Teacher Support and Professional Development, Anaheim Union High School District

Mike is being recognized for his unwavering commitment to the principle that all students deserve a rich curriculum. Over many years he has collaborated with CSUF to support and enhance our teacher preparation programs and bring additional resources and expertise to the Anaheim Union High School District. He helped to establish the Urban Teaching and Learning Partnership with Secondary Education, serves as lead district partner for the $2.5 million NSF Noyce MT2 project that aims to transform mathematics teaching involving, and is instrumental in the two multi-million dollar GEAR UP grants CSUF has with AUHSD aiming to increase graduation and college-going rates for Anaheim students.

Dr. Martin Bonsangue, Dr. Mark Ellis, Dr. Ruth Yopp-Edwards
Faculty, CSUF


McCormick, Ms. Kathy

 Teacher, Cubberly K-8 School

Kathy McCormick taught both of our children at Cubberley School.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher and an exemplary professional.  Though both our children have different needs, she helped them both be successful, happy, and well prepared for first grade and beyond.  She somehow manages to strike the right balance between rigor, fun, caring, responsibility, freedom, and direction. We are so thankful to have had her teach our children and the children of Long Beach.

Tara Barnhart and Freda Ross
Lecturer, CSUF College of Education
  and spouse


Nejad B, Dr. Iraj

Professor, Chemestry Department, Mt. San Antonio College

Iraj has been the PI of several successful NSF proposals receiving support from the CCLI program, Undergraduate Research Center program, as well as the S-STEM Scholarship Program. Funds from these programs have been used to acquire an NMR spectrometer that is used extensively by students and also computational chemistry software. He has established early undergraduate research partnerships with neighboring four-year institutions including UC Irvine, Harvey Mudd College and CSUF. Over 30 Mt. SAC students have done 8-10 week summer long research programs at these partner institutions. He is Mt. SAC lead on an NSF STEP Grant with CSUF to improve retention and success of STEM transfers.

Robert Koch
Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics


Petersen, Julie

 Lecturer, CSUF College of Education

Blogger Julie Niles Petersen says that teaching reading and incorporating technology are her passions.   As a part-time lecturer in the Masters in Reading Program at CSUF, she teaches two online courses this spring, so she has an opportunity to stay on the cutting edge on both counts. Julie takes an active part in her local, state and international reading associations. Currently, she serves as the immediate past president of the Orange County Reading Association, in addition to serving as the webmaster for the OCRA website. She also blogs about teaching reading at   www.twrctank.com. TWRC rhymes with “work” and stands for “think, wonder, reflect and connect.”  Four words that perfectly describe Julie Niles Petersen’s attributes!

Julie Chan
CSUF College of Education


Pierson, Dr. Melinda

 Professor, College of Education

Dr. Pierson is a skillful educator and is held in high regard by her students and colleagues. As Chair of the Department of Special Education, Dr. Pierson has empowered and encouraged her faculty to explore innovative teaching strategies, collaborations, and opportunities to ensure they provide the best learning environments for their students. As the Director of the Center for International Partnerships in Education, Dr. Pierson has established international partnerships that have led to collaborative research efforts among participating faculty. Dr. Pierson also provides leadership throughout the state, serving as the Director of the California State Alternative Certification/Intern Program Grant and as a member of the California State Special Education Task Force at the CSU Chancellor’s Office. In addition, Dr. Pierson is engaged in numerous and significant professional and community service leadership activities. Dr. Pierson is a highly-sought after speaker, speaking throughout the state, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Pierson is an extraordinary teacher, exceptional scholar, and a transformative leader. She recently received a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award for her work in Poland. Finally, she is an exceptional professional and model of collegiality as she serves the mission of the university through her work in multifaceted settings, learning environments, and innovative programs.

Claire Cavallaro 
Dean, CSUF College of Education


Takahashi, Dr. Kathleen

 Biology Department, Santa Ana College

Dr. Kathleen Takahashi is a professor of life sciences at Santa Ana College. She has been a partner in the NSF TEST:UP grant and is the primary driver in successful implementation of supplemental instruction in biology at Santa Ana college. She has championed SI using the University of Missouri-Kansas City model and helped expand it to other sciences and mathematics at her campus.

Robert Koch
Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics


Trantine, Ann

One of our Outstanding Graduates for 2012, Ann is an outstanding teacher who is extremely creative in the way that she meets students’ needs. Her students feel valued and supported. In fact, they believe they are better students for having had Ann as their teacher. Ann taught 6th grade for five years before becoming a Reading Specialist. She also served as a grad assistant and worked on the Reading Department’s Pocket Tutor Project – a project that helps students with reading comprehension. She also volunteered her time at yesterday’s successful Literacy Festival at the Irvine Campus.

Julie Chan
CSUF College of Education


Tuttle, Valerie

Another of our 2012 Outstanding Graduates for the Department of Reading Education, Valerie is a tremendous instructor who goes above and beyond to meet her student’s needs. Her students are thankful to have such a caring teacher who brings out the best in each of them. Before recently becoming a Reading Specialist, Valerie had 10 years of experience as a primary school teacher. She also worked very hard at Literacy Festival at the Irvine Campus yesterday.

Julie Chan
CSUF College of Education


Wen Wu, Dr. Jo

 Professor, Department of Biology, Fullerton College

Dr. Wu has been productively engaged in numerous and varied educational activities that have contributed greatly to student success. She has served as a Grant Project Director for the Biotechnology Workforce Innovative Partnership, CA Community Colleges. She is a faculty mentor for student research experiences (NSF Research Experiences for Teachers and Students, 2010; Science Weekend Investigations and Field Trips Program, 2010-present; HHMI Weekend Research Program at CSUF, 2009). She also serves as a faculty advisor and project supervisor (Science Club, 2000-present, Guiding and Preparing Science Students, 2008-present, Science tutors, 2008-present, Science Saturday Programs, 2009-present; UCI Bridges program, 2006-present). Finally, Dr. Wu is a member of several advisory boards (OC Biotech Education, 2010-present; CSUF-HHMI Research Scholars, 2010-present; Pasadena City College Biotechnology Advisory Board, 2007-2009; FC Transfer Advisory Committee, 2005-present; FC Distance Education Advisory Committee, 2008-2009; CSUF Biotechnology/Biopharmaceutical Advisory Board, 2008).

Robert Koch
Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics


Wilson, Ms. Gail

Special Education Teacher, Savanna High School

Gail Wilson earned both a Bachelors Degree and a Masters Degree in Art from CSUF. After a career as an artist and several years of working with adults as an art educator through the North Orange County Community College District, she returned to CSUF and earned a teaching credential in the area of Special Education. Gail works tirelessly on behalf of her high school students at Savanna in Anaheim. She has dedicated the last fifteen years to students who need her the most; students with special needs and struggling readers. Though she is always patient, kind and caring, she is determined her students will achieve and succeed. She runs a tight and rigorous academic ship! But she does something more. She helps students identify their creative strengths and apply those strengths to enhance both their academic performance and the quality of their lives. Students are drawn to Gail because they sense she is genuinely concerned about their welfare. She is a respected, model teacher and a valued colleague. At some point, like most of us, Gail's former students will be called upon to close their eyes and recall one teacher who positively impacted their lives. There's no doubt it will be Gail Wilson's face they see.

Marilyn and Dale Leuer
Lecturer, CSUF College of Education (Marilyn)