The Gaston Family Legacy Through Scholarships

Each year, the Kremen School hosts a reception for students who have earned the Rutherford B. Gaston, Sr. Scholarship. For this award, a student must be accepted in either Kremen’s Teacher Credentialing Program or Master’s in Education Program with an overall GPA of 3.5 or above. The scholarship was founded in honor of Rutherford B. Gaston, a man with a legacy of devotion to the field of education. 

Rutherford was born in Griffin, Georgia, the 13th of 15 children. His family moved north to Brackenridge, Pennsylvania when he was only two years old. After serving in the US Army during WWII, Rutherford moved back home and married his sweetheart, Willodyne, on October 13th, 1944. After working briefly at a steel mill alongside his brothers, Rutherford decided he was meant for something greater. That is when he packed up his family, which had grown to include his son Rutherford Jr. who was only three months old at the time, and moved out west, settling in Fresno. 

(Willodyne, right, a member of the Iota Phi Lambda Sorority and a Charter member of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc)

Rutherford initially enrolled at Fresno State with the goal of earning a Bachelor’ Degree in Business. However, due to the racist nature of the time, he was told “a Negro would have a difficult time obtaining a job in business”. As a result, he changed his major to education, a decision which he claims was the best he ever made. After obtaining his credentials, Rutherford began teaching fifth grade at Columbia Elementary School within Fresno Unified School District

Prior to becoming the first African American principal in Fresno Unified School District, Rutherford served as lead teacher at Columbia Elementary School.  

“One of my fondest memories was as a very young girl in the early 60’s going to my father’s classroom and sitting at a desk with the “big kids”, my feet not yet touching the ground, listening to my father teach,”

– explains Eugenia Gaston Reeves, Rutherford’s daughter. 

In 1963, Rutherford became the first African American principal in Fresno Unified, simultaneously taking charge of two elementary schools, Teilman and Emerson. These schools were located across town from one another, making dual-leadership a daunting task indeed. Many feared that Rutherford would fail due to the overwhelming nature of the position. Instead, he excelled. 

After serving as principal of Teilman and Emerson, Rutherford became the principal of Jefferson Elementary School.  Rutherford last location where he served as principal at Bethune Elementary School, a place where the student population was primarily African American. The students under his leadership scored significantly higher on standardized tests than other schools in the districts. Suspicious of their scores, the state of California requested that they be retested, only for Rutherford’s students to score even higher than the first time. Rutherford continued overseeing Bethune’s success for another fourteen years before retiring. 

Rutherford  believed in ‘each one reach one’ and applied this as he mentored many African American teachers who also became school administrators.  

Rutherford’s two greatest joys in life were his family and the sharing of knowledge, causing him to combine the two. To show that love, he established scholarships at Fresno State in both his wife’s name, Willodyne, and his deceased son’s name, Craig. 

Upon his death, Rutherford’s remaining four children were initially at a loss as to how they could commemorate their father’s legacy. However, they understood the significance education had on their father’s life. He had earned his Bachelor’s Degree, Teaching Credential, and Master’s Degree through Fresno State, making the Kremen School a natural choice to establish a scholarship in his name. 

The Gaston family considers it an honor and privilege to attend the scholarship reception each spring and to commemorate Rutherford’s memory in such a meaningful way. For the past several years, due to the pandemic, the award ceremony has been hosted virtually, enabling a greater number of Gaston family members to attend. They enjoy hearing about these students’ diverse backgrounds and journeys as they receive their scholarships, knowing that they are making a positive impact, not only on the local community, but on the future of education in the Central Valley. 

On April 24, 2012, the Fresno Unified School District board voted to name a new southwest middle school after Mr. Gaston. The school opened on August 18, 2014 and was dedicated on September 19, 2014. Gaston Middle School serves students in grades 7-8, and is the first

Fresno Unified School to operate a Health and Wellness Center for the neighborhood community. 

The Gaston family legacy also continues on through Rutherford’s brother Everett, his wife Gail and their daughter Summer. Everett is a retired educator who taught at Bullard High School for nearly a decade. Gail is one of the visionary leaders who helped establish the Peace Garden at Fresno State, a space that pays tribute to the many individuals whose lives were devoted to peace and activism. Their daughter Summer is currently an administrator in the Fresno Unified School District. As a result, there has been a Gaston employed in FUSD continuously since 1953, creating a legacy across three generations.

If you are a student currently enrolled in the Teacher Credentialing Program or Master’s in Education Program and would like to apply for the scholarship, visit this link. If you would like to make a donation to the scholarship fund, please visit this website

(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing student employed by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development)

Kremen’s HEAL Program is Recognized for Outstanding Student Leadership

Sade Johnson, a student in Kremen’s Higher Education Administration and Leadership (HEAL) program, was recently recognized as an “Outstanding Graduate Student” by the California College Personnel Association (CCPA) as well as earning the “Graduate Student Honoree” award for recognition at the Division of Research and Graduate Studies (DRGS). Sade is expected to receive her M.A. in Spring 2023 with a 4.0 GPA.

During the course of the 30-semester unit program, HEAL students delve into curricula that examines policies, practices, theories, and current issues related to the postsecondary education pipeline. HEAL prepares emerging leaders for professional roles in academic affairs, making Sade a perfect representation of the program’s mission. Sade is a first-generation, system-impacted, low-income student-parent, who is also a wife and mother to two young children. She previously earned her B.A. in African American Studies with an emphasis on African American/Black Culture, Histories, and Society with a Minor in Mathematics from the University of California, Davis

Sade’s passion for higher education stemmed from her transition to parenthood while still being enrolled in college. She experienced many of the injustices the system perpetuates toward parenting students, an experience which caused her to courageously advocate for policies and practices rooted in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, leading to her current work as a graduate assistant for Project HOPE, a case management service that addresses the basic needs of Fresno State’s student population. Sade has also collaborated with the Michelson 20MM Foundation, serving on their Spark Basic Needs Grant Committee. The foundation is dedicated to supporting and investing in higher learning initiatives that seek to transform the lives of underrepresented students.

Sade is also a Graduate Equity Fellow, her fellowship experience includes serving on the planning committee for the inaugural Higher Education Student Affairs in the Central Valley (HESA-CV) Conference, an annual meeting that aims to establish local networking opportunities for graduate students. She also serves as Vice-chair for the Student Advisory Council (SAC) at a dual-immersion charter school.

Sade aspires to continue working in higher education, advocating for students who are underrepresented or who have been impacted by the system. She is especially passionate about helping student-parents, students of color, first-generation students, and those classified as low-income. Sade has a strong belief that everyone is entitled to an education, no matter what their circumstances. 

(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing student employed by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development )

Kremen’s Student Affairs and College Counseling Program Displays Excellence in Academic Leadership 

Two current students and one alumni from the Kremen School of Education and Human Development’s Student Affairs and College Counseling program (SACC) were recently elected and appointed into leadership roles within the California College Personnel Association (CCPA). CCPA is the California state chapter of ACPA-College Student Educators International, one of the largest student affairs professional associations in the world. CCPA is committed to providing professional development, networking opportunities, leadership experience, and information on the latest trends and issues in the field of academia. Jose Medina III (alumni) has been elected as President-Elect of CCPA. Samantha Bautista (current student) was elected as CCPA’s Director of Communication with her classmate Ashley Gutierrez taking on the role as Graduate Representative for CCPA.

Kremen’s SACC program provides individuals with the academic preparation and training to effectively address the academic, career, and personal counseling needs of college students. SACC students receive extensive training and supervision in the core conditions of Person-Centered Counseling through coursework, practicum, and field practice. The application of the core conditions in the work of student affairs professionals is essential in developing cohesive working relationships and understanding the needs of diverse students in higher education. The classroom and experiential opportunities allow SACC students to learn, practice, and apply their counseling knowledge in a variety of higher education settings.


Ashley Gutierrez is a first-generation Latina college student and was accepted in 2021 to the Master’s in Student Affairs and College Counseling (SACC) program at Fresno State. She previously attended Reedley Community College before transferring to Fresno State, earning her B.A. in 2018. Since returning as a grad student, Ashley has been actively involved: currently she is working for Academic Success Coaching as an Academic Coach, where she supports students’ educational journey at Fresno State. Similarly, last summer she joined Fresno State’s Dog Days Orientation Team and welcomed incoming students. This past fall semester, she completed an internship with the Transfer Success Center while helping to coordinate their National Transfer Student Week. Outside of school, she has also been actively engaged within the Central Valley communities by participating in the Central Valley Latino Leadership Academy, the League of Mexican American Women, and has also written grants and historical research for Arte America. Being appointed as the Graduate Representative for CCPA is meaningful since she will be able to not only network with like minded individuals, but will also use the skills she learned from the SACC graduate program to address various needs of higher education & student affairs professionals and graduate students in California. 


Jose L Medina III (he/him) is a Central Valley Native born and raised in Merced, a city in the center of California. His commitment to the region and higher education forms his personal mission to promote college access for those who come from the surrounding rural communities. Prior to his current role in the School of Engineering at the University of California, Merced, Jose served as the inaugural Admissions Outreach Specialist in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at California Health Sciences University (2022) as well as various roles within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and the Division of Academic Affairs at Fresno State (2018-2022). 

Jose advocates for empowering students to reach their full potential academically and personally. He is a strong believer that in the field of Higher Education, we are in this together. This not only includes mentoring of students but also the mentoring of aspiring student affairs professionals. 

Jose received a BA in History and an M.S. in Counseling – Student Affairs and College Counseling option (with distinction) from Fresno State. Beginning in Fall 2023 he will begin his Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration from St. Cloud State University

Jose’s leadership has also been recognized in various ways. His current position as P.E. for CCPA, which is a three-year elected position as part of the Presidential Cycle: President-Elect (2023-2024), President (2024 – 2025), Past-President (2025 – 2026). Prior to his current role as President-Elect, Jose served as Director of Membership (2022-2023) and Graduate Student Representative (2020-2021). Jose also serves as the Co-Chair of Outreach for the Staff and Faculty of Color Association at UC Merced


Samantha Bautista (she/her), is a first-generation graduate student in the Master’s of Counseling, Student Affairs and College Counseling program. She received her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Criminology in Spring 2021, and anticipates graduating with her Master’s in May 2023 as a two-time Alumni.  

Samantha has dedicated over five years of working with diverse students in various roles at Fresno State. She is currently serving as the Work-Based Learning Experiences Project Coordinator for the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Initiative. Prior to this role she served as an Assistant Coordinator for the College of Social Sciences (COSS) Link Peer Mentor Program. In addition to this, she interned as an Academic Success Coach with the formerly named program SupportNet, now known as Academic Success Coaching

Throughout Samantha’s graduate program journey she served in leadership roles such as Secretary for the Student Affairs and College Counseling Graduate Student Association. She was recently nominated and elected as the Director of Communications for (CCPA). Through this role she is responsible for being a liaison between the Association and the members, managing the social media platforms, and sending out Newsletters among other responsibilities. She is looking forward to serving alongside her peers and the CCPA leadership team. Samantha is passionate about serving students through various roles in Student Affairs and College Counseling.

The SECREd Garden: A Haven for the Community 

Community Garden projects are gaining momentum across the country as they serve as places to beautify and unite neighborhood communities as well as to grow crops in neighborhoods where there are issues of food insecurity. Community gardens have been shown to have many strong and positive impacts wherever they are established. They serve as spaces to educate children about beauty and conservation, allowing citizens to explore their cultural heritage through community practices associated with food production, agricultural traditions and storytelling, and serve as natural gathering places which unite the community. Existing gardens on Fresno State’s campus include the Peace Garden, Maple Mall Arboretum, Allergy-Free Demonstration Garden, and the Memorial Plaza Garden

The Kremen School of Education and Human Development is currently embarking on their own project to connect outdoor education efforts on Fresno State’s campus to community members and local agencies. Kremen employs innovative models of teaching that emphasize the importance of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) in Transitional Kindergarten (TK-12) education. Studies show that outdoor learning experiences positively impact science, literacy and math standards as well as the environmental, nutritional, social-emotional aspects of learning and development. Opportunities to explore outdoor classrooms and gardens have proven to transform the academic experience, contributing to increased teacher commitment in the sciences as well as improving student interest and curiosity in the natural world. To meet the growing need for outdoor learning spaces that support wellness, research and STEAM education across a range of ages and disciplines, the Kremen School is establishing a SECREd Garden Demonstration Program. The name SECREd Garden stands for STEAM Experiences through Community, Research, Education and Demonstration.

The SECREd Garden program was founded by Christina Macias and was inspired by her Master’s work in Early Childhood Education at the Kremen School. The primary scope of her research was centered around the barriers and affordances of early science education. She became interested in providing developmentally appropriate spaces that would engage young learners in the field of science exploration. This interest spurred her on a year-long journey of visiting school gardens, farms, and outdoor learning spaces across the state to gather a better understanding of how to establish her vision. 

“The SECREd Garden will provide for equitable and accessible science experiences for young children while supporting pre-service teacher training, research, the community, the Fresno State campus, and most importantly: food security and wellness opportunities.”

– Christina

While Christina was the initial creator of the project, it quickly transformed into an expansive group effort, requiring the involvement of professionals, students, and volunteers spanning across multiple disciplines. 

I continue to be inspired by the range of interest and participation in the project from students, Fresno State faculty and the surrounding community.  The range of expertise and commitment to this work has been more than I could have imagined.”

– Christina.

The original concept for the SECREd Garden was developed in partnership with Dr. Cathy Yun, a Senior Researcher at the Learning Policy Institute, and was presented to the University in 2016. Time was spent over the next year introducing and refining the project details in collaboration with the Campus Planning Committee, VP for Administration Deborah Adishian-Astone, and Associate VP for Facilities Management Tinnah Medina. 

Calliope Correia, an Instructional Support Technician III with the Jordan College of Agriculture Science and Technology, was introduced to the project early on as she was recognized as the campus expert on effective horticulture practices. Her work is deeply rooted in wellness and therapeutic methods which aligns with the program’s central mission to connect the community with natural spaces.

“Access to natural spaces, whether wild or intentionally designed, is critical to our well-being. The SECREd garden is a wonderful culmination of ideas and experiences that will benefit the University and the community not only with harvests and access to fresh vegetables but for the opportunity to play in the soil and get dirty!”

 – Calliope.

Calliope has remained a constant supporter, consultant, and visionary since the project’s inception. Through both her and Christina’s tireless efforts, the project was granted permission to explore Phase 1 in the Spring of 2018. It was determined that the SECREd Garden was to be located on the west side of the Kremen School. 

Since then, an ongoing fundraising campaign has taken place to establish the necessary funding for placing the project out to bid. This campaign has been supported by ASI, community donors, and through DOG Days, along with other Fresno State Crowdfunding opportunities. While many project-related activities were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts were made to continue the development of the SECREd Garden. Outreach with numerous project partners allowed the program to grow despite its need for a physical location.  

The proposed project includes the development and maintenance of a demonstration garden and an outdoor classroom space. The goal is to allow students and educators to address interdisciplinary research, partake in play-based learning, explore early science experiences, learn healthy eating habits, and study community food scarcity issues. 

Jacob Hurst, a lecturer in the Fresno State Plant Science department, has created a detailed revegetation plan for the turtle pond located near the proposed site of the SECREd Garden. After acquiring measurements of the proposed space and taking aerial satellite shots, Jacob realized that there was a lot of work to be done. He intends to design a managed ecosystem for the children of the Huggins Center while also reducing the amount of maintenance required on the garden.

Jacob aims to alter the ecology of the landscape by introducing plants native to the area, allowing them to function as natural mulch to cover the bare patches of soil. Currently situated in the Huggins Center play yard, the Turtle Pond is a feature which Jacob plans to revitalize by creating shade using plants that produce thick leaves and foliage. 

“There is some concern, especially during the summer, about having coverage for the turtles. Introducing water lilies, for example, or even simply denser vegetation around the edges, will provide countless benefits for them.”

– Jacob. 

His revegetation outline also includes the introduction of more flowering vines to increase cross-pollination. To accomplish this, he intends to place Passion flowers along the back fence which will attract a variety of insects. 

Another individual who has played a crucial role in the SECREd Garden project is Arashnoor (Arsh) Gill, a student in the Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling Master’s program in the Kremen School. Arsh was first introduced to the SECREd Garden and quickly appointed to the position of student leader through engaging with Christina Macias in an adolescent development course in the Child and Family Science department. 

A primary goal for both Arsh and Christina has been to maintain a strong student presence within the project. By holding tabling and gardening events on campus, the two have been able to draw many students into the SECREd Garden student leadership committee, a group that meets on a regular basis. 

Arsh has also helped develop a gardening curriculum for the CalFresh Healthy Living series by partnering with the Student Cupboard, currently assisted by Michael Ballin. He has helped reconceptualize the SECREd Garden as a non-physical entity and has worked with several other organizations to explore gardening and early education opportunities. Most recently, he has helped to develop a social media page for the project while also offering a pivotal presence during fundraising events.

Arsh’s area of research is centered around multiculturalism, mental health, and how gardening is heavily influenced by cultural practices. Working on the SECREd Garden project has been an extremely fulfilling experience for Arsh and has allowed him to conceptualize how such a space can positively impact an individual’s outlook. 

“Dean Yerrick and I would meet up at the turtle pond to remove the remaining banana trees. It was a fun experience for everyone involved because we would share stories, talk about our backgrounds, and discuss how much gardening meant to us.”

– Arsh.

The SECREd Garden has truly been a collaborative community effort. It would not have come this far in development without the countless volunteers who have participated in the program’s numerous projects over the years.

“We intend to leverage this garden to emphasize the education of children in the heritage of agriculture, sustainability, and the stewardship of resources that was practiced here in this area long before Fresno State was built.  Indigenous people’s had important ways of managing resources and caring for the environment that need to be remembered and that we continue to learn from. Early childhood education at the Huggins Center is an important time and place to begin to emphasize STEAM education from a culturally sustaining perspective.”

– Dr. Randy Yerrick, Dean of the Kremen School.

Many contributions are from Fresno State faculty and staff who have devoted their time as consultants and provided expertise in building an inclusive framework for the project. There have been countless volunteers for site specific projects with unique connections to gardening practices, many of which have been University High School students. The SECREd Garden team is also incredibly grateful for the countless supporters who have provided substantial financial support over the course of the project. 

“Fresno State has the unique opportunity to serve as a demonstration model for outdoor learning, interdisciplinary partnerships, and the diverse cultural practices associated with land use and sustainable food practices. Our mission is to provide a space where all members of local communities can engage in work that supports their individual and community interests.”

 – Christina.

Due to generous contributions from donors, we will now be able to break ground of the SECREd Garden in the Spring of 2023, however, more donations will be needed to fund future stages of the project.

If you want to make a donation to the SECREd Garden project, please visit this site.

(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing student employed by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development)

A Wellness Program for Hmong Americans

(Photo courtesy of May Twenty and Five)

Since the pandemic, emotional and behavioral wellness has been in the spotlight although it has always been a concern. When Dr. Song Lee, a full professor and licensed counselor in the Department of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation applied for sabbatical, she didn’t know that a pandemic would occur.  Nor was she aware that the pandemic would impact people’s social connections and heighten symptoms of mental health.  

Dr. Lee was granted her sabbatical in November, 2020, but had to wait until spring 2022 to take it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She used most of her time to create a Wellness Program hosted at Freedom Community Church in Fresno, Calif, to serve Hmong Americans. The City of Fresno has one of the largest Hmong populations in the United States, second to Minneapolis – St. Paul in Minnesota. About 35,000 Hmong reside in Fresno and currently about 1,444 Hmong students attend California State University, Fresno. 

Dr. Lee hopes the Wellness Program, known to the Hmong elders as the “Noj Qab Haus Huv Program,” will be a place that the Hmong will trust and easily access information and knowledge on mental health concerns and coping strategies to strengthen families. The Open House for the Wellness Program took place on October 22, 2022 and was celebrated with Fresno State faculty and students, members of Freedom Community Church, and members of the community who serve Hmong Americans in their respective fields and agencies.  

For questions about the program or if you or your Hmong families and friends would like to seek support or services, please contact Dr. Song Lee at or at 559-278-0349. The services are not considered counseling because they do not include diagnosis or treatment for specific mental health illnesses. Support services include bilingual and bicultural individual consultations and support groups on Sunday mornings at Freedom Community Church. Workshops and trainings will be posted on the Freedom Community Church website:

(Written by Dr. Song Lee, Professor, Department of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation)

Scoring on the Field and in the Classroom

During Fresno State’s recent Homecoming football game against division rival San José State, Bulldogs fans heard a number of familiar names during the play-by-play broadcast: “Another great rush by Jordan Mims!” “That’s the fourth sack of the game by David Perales!” “Nikko Remigio scores!” “A great stop by Elijah Gates!” 

Fans might be surprised to learn that these talented football players, along with 17 of their teammates and three graduate assistant coaches, are Kremen School students! They are among the 125 students currently pursuing an M.A. degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction option (M.A.Ed.-C&I).

“The athletes who are recruited to Fresno State and are admitted to our program bring a rich diversity to the classroom in terms of ethnicity and race, life experiences, perspectives, and goals,” said Program Coordinator Dr. Carol Fry Bohlin. “Many are also first generation college students who have a passion for giving back to Fresno State and their communities.”

Star wide receiver Nikko Remigio ran for a touchdown in the thrilling last minute of the October 30 game against San Diego State to secure a win for the Bulldogs. Remigio was recruited by Fresno State after he earned a B.S. in Legal Studies from U.C. Berkeley. He’s proud of his mixed-race Filipino/Black/White heritage and wants to make the world a better, more just place for all people, especially through judicial system reforms.

Dontae Bull is another Bulldogs player who is enrolled in the master’s program. Bull, a 6’7″, 320-pound offensive lineman from Canada, helped to hoist the large silver “V” Valley Trophy in the air following the Bulldogs’ 17-10 victory over the Spartans after the Homecoming game. He is a valued role model as a youth life skills coach and is considering starting a school for children with learning difficulties. 

Defensive end David Perales believes that the M.A.Ed.-C&I program will help him learn the necessary skills to be an effective football coach. “Coaching incorporates many instructional elements and also requires motivating players, just like teaching,” said Perales. 

Jordan Mims and Elijah Gates are on target to graduate this semester with their master’s degree. “They are both insightful and thoughtful in their work,” said Dr. Rohit Mehta, their master’s project advisor. “Elijah is studying the racial experience of Black and Brown students in higher education, and Jordan is studying personal challenges and wellness among student athletes of color.”

In a recent interview, Mims said he selected this particular master’s program because the coursework topics are broad. The courses cover curriculum, instruction, research design, statistical analysis, learning theories, and educational technology. 

This knowledge can help him now and in any field he goes into after his playing and coaching careers are over. “Football clearly brought me here,” said Mims. “But no one can take away your degree.”

Gates added that he has developed a love for going to school and expanding his horizons as a result of the program. He feels that by coaching and teaching, he can be an inspiration to youth and make a positive difference in the lives of future student athletes.

Many of the Bulldogs football players enrolled in the master’s program credit the many Pre K-12 classroom teachers also enrolled in the program for teaching them about the educational process from a teacher’s point of view. Jade Muñoz, a teacher in the program, notes that the players have in turn helped the teachers understand the positive impact that extracurricular activities such as sports have on students’ academic success through teaching structure, discipline, teamwork, and responsibility.

Recent graduate and middle school science teacher Adam Powell agrees. For him, athletics was a safe place to learn how to work hard as a teammate and how to take a loss – all life skills.  Powell also believes that competition, so ingrained in sports, “is an inherently human trait that can be approached humbly for personal growth and enrichment.”

The eclectic mix of students in the program “energizes the class,” notes Dr. Susan Schlievert, who is teaching four dozen master’s students in the M.A.Ed.-C&I program this semester. “A third-grade teacher, a physician, a middle school science teacher, a firefighter, a high school art teacher, a surgical technician, a star football player, a private school principal— all of them, and so many more, come to my class and share knowledge, perceptions, and friendship,” said Schlievert.

Wherever the athletes may go after graduation, they will bring Fresno State and these educational experiences and friendships with them! They are ambassadors for our university throughout the state and nation, and they are determined to make a positive impact in the world, especially in the lives of those they plan to coach and teach! Go ‘Dogs!

For more information about our special student-athletes, please contact Terry Tumey, Fresno State’s Athletic Director, at (559) 278-2643. 

Here’s a link to another student success story.

(Written by Dr. Carol Fry Bohlin, Program Director, Curriculum and Instruction)

Taking the lead in building the capacity of the ECE workforce in Fresno

Launching A New Early Childhood Education (ECE) 24-Unit Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Certificate Program to support district partners.

Recognizing the need of district partners to provide well-qualified TK teachers in the classroom, Kremen is launching a transitional kindergarten program through Continuing and Global Education that allows participants to obtain 24 ECE units within 9 months virtually over evenings and the weekends.  

The ECE 24-Unit Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Certificate Program is a user-friendly program that was created by Dr. Pei-Ying Wu, an assistant professor in the Early Childhood Education Program and the Fansler Chair leading the Joyce M. Huggins Early Education Center. Dr. Wu’s research interests focus on early childhood teachers’ professional development and self-efficacy, making her the perfect candidate to lead this program. 

The program came about as a result of the state of California investing $2.7 billion in the universal kindergarten program in order to include all the state’s 4-year-olds by the 2025-26 school year. It is open to teachers who have, or are obtaining a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and want to meet the state requirements while enhancing their ECE qualifications. It emphasizes hands-on experiences and provides opportunities for teachers to apply the knowledge learned from coursework to their classroom. 

This certificate program is a great workforce development option customized to the needs of current TK teachers who are looking for hands-on experiences and opportunities to apply the knowledge learned from the coursework to their classrooms. 

The Huggins Center serves as a regional model for some of the best practices in ECE. The Huggins Center provides services for children of university students, faculty, staff and to the community between the ages of 3 months and 12 years. The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and is one of three centers operated by the Fresno State Programs for Children. Brittney S. Randolph is the Director of Programs for Children, a comprehensive early care and education program that holds a 5-star rating from Fresno County’s Early Stars. This center works in partnership with the larger community to provide opportunities for learning and for developing partnerships that will benefit young children and families. The center also provides training, demonstration and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in education, child development, marriage, child and family therapy, and other related areas as well as for professionals in the field.

Beyond supporting the current TK workforce, the demand projections for well-qualified ECE teachers also prompt Kremen to actively prepare for the development of a new credentialing program specific to early childhood educators. With the recent approval of the PK-3rd ECE Specialist Credential, Kremen faculty began to collaborate with other CSU campuses, ECE-related degree programs (e.g. community colleges), Fresno Superintendent of Schools and LEAs on pathways and program design, curriculum development, coursework articulation, accreditation, and recruitment. 

For those interested in the ECE 24-Unit TK Certificate Program or PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential program please contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Pei-Ying Wu at 

(Written by Dr. Pei-Ying Wu, an assistant professor in the Early Childhood Education Program/Fansler Chair, and Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing student employed by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.)