May 2024 Newsletter

New SPARC Center Research Will Focus on Educational Wellbeing of Vulnerable Youth

SPARC logoThis month, Prof. Kevin Gee established the School Policy, Action, and Research Center (SPARC) at the School of Education. Our newest center, SPARC generates research leading to actionable insights that can support the educational wellbeing of vulnerable youth. The center’s work supports children experiencing adverse life and social circumstances, including Asian American and Pacific Islander youth who have been bullied, children experiencing chronic absenteeism, and child welfare-involved youth who have experienced maltreatment. 

SPARC has released two publications, the report “Bullying of California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth: Who is Most at Risk and What Can Schools Do?” and the article “Hate Speech Against Asian American Youth: Pre-Pandemic Trends and The Role of School Factors,” published in Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

SPARC will collaborate with key organizations that address critical educational issues impacting children in California and nationwide, including the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence and Attendance Works. Gee’s research focuses on evaluating how schooling conditions, policies, and programs can promote the wellbeing of youth who are often overlooked and underserved in the broader educational policy landscape. Read the full story about SPARC.

Welcome Managing Executive Director of Development Tom Mackey

Portrait of Tom MackeyThomas (Tom) Mackey has been named the new Managing Executive Director of Development for the School of Education and the Graduate School of Management, and started in his role on May 6. 

Mackey has served since 2014 as a development officer with the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, where he helped lead corporate and foundation fundraising, most recently as Executive Director of Development and External Relations. During his tenure, Mackey helped to raise an Endowed Chair and doubled the size of the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways research consortium. Prior to joining UC Davis, Mackey successfully led a number of sales teams in the private sector.


Maisha and Torry Winn Present Book Talk on “Faith Made Flesh” 

Portrait of Maisha Winn and Torry WinnPlease join us on June 7 from 3–4 pm at the Manetti Shrem Museum for a book talk on “Faith Made Flesh: The Black Child Legacy Campaign for Transformative Justice and Healthy Futures,” which brings together the experiences, insight, and stories of those actively addressing societal and educational disadvantages of Black children in Sacramento. Co-editors Prof. Torry Winn and Prof. Maisha Winn will present with special guests Patrice Hill and Dr. Vajra Watson. 

The event is presented by the Aggie Black Excellence Project, which is within the division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, with support from the School of Education. The African American Faculty Staff Association will host a mixer with food and music immediately afterwards. Register and find more details on the “Faith Made Flesh” book talk.

Cassandra Hart Appointed CANDEL Chair

Portrait of Cassandra HartProf. Cassandra Hart has been appointed the new chair of the CANDEL program, which prepares our EdD students to become exemplary educational leaders in schools, community colleges, and universities. Hart’s three-year term begins July 1. 

Hart joined the School’s faculty in 2011, and has previously served as the co-director of both the MA program and CANDEL. Her research focus is the effects of school, state, and national education programs, policies, and practices on overall student achievement, and on the equity of student outcomes. 

Megan Bettis Joins Board of CASE

Portrait of Megan BettisCongratulations to Dr. Megan Bettis, who has been elected to the Board of Directors of the California Association of Science Educators and will serve as the 4 Year College Director. Bettis is a lecturer/supervisor in the School’s science credential program and directs the Young Scholars Program, a six-week summer residential research program at UC Davis that introduces high-achieving high school students to the world of original scientific research.


Portrait of Beatriz ChaidezBeatriz Chaidez, EdD ’16 has been named the permanent chancellor of San José – Evergreen Community College District, after holding the roles of interim chancellor, vice chancellor of human resources, and associate vice chancellor of human resources. Chaidez began her career as a classroom teacher and served in K-12 administration, including as assistant superintendent for human resources and as director of pupil personnel services and special education with Salinas City Elementary School District, and as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction with Sacramento City Unified School District. Learn more about Beatriz Chaidez.

Portrait of Brittaney MeyerBrittaney Meyer, ’03, MA ’06, EdD ’14 has been appointed as the superintendent of the Auburn Union School District. Meyer’s tenure as an educator spans 20 years. She has served as a classroom teacher, high school and middle school vice principal, and a K-8 principal. As the current assistant superintendent of educational services in Loomis Union School District for the past six years, Meyer has been responsible for curriculum adoption, professional development, special education, principal coaching, and school safety. She serves as the district coach for the Positive Behavior and Intervention Support program and guided development of the district’s Multi-tiered System of Support. 

Portrait of Izamar Ortiz-GonzalezPhD candidate Izamar Ortiz-González has been awarded a Public Scholars for the Future fellowship by the UC Davis Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement. The fellowship program prepares the next generation of public scholars to integrate community-centered theories, methods, and techniques into their disciplinary field of study, research design, and methods. Each fellow attends a 10-week seminar where students collectively engage in readings and discussions focused on theories, methodologies, and practices of community-engaged research, and receives one-on-one mentoring by UC Davis faculty public scholars and $1,000 for research support. Read about Ortiz-González.

Portrait of Demi RobinsonDemi Robinson, MS, a PhD student in Learning and Mind Sciences and a business systems analyst for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, has been selected to participate in the 2024-2025 UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development. The initiative is an experiential, systemwide professional development program to support the success and advancement of mid-career, woman-identified professionals. It brings together participants from every UC location and is open to all employees who support and are committed to this mission. Learn more about the UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development.


Speaker stands in front of audience at International CenterIgniting and Enhancing Class Discussions Symposium [PHOTOS]
In April, the School of Education’s Teachers as Learners program hosted a dynamic and enriching symposium designed to enhance secondary educators’ ability to foster engaging, equitable, and thought-provoking conversations among their students and to empower participants with tools and strategies to elevate class discussions, such as practical and conceptual insights, real-world examples, and interactive activities. View the Igniting and Enhancing Class Discussions Symposium photo gallery

Three speakers at table in front of room Emerging Scholars Panel: Expanding Equity in Educational Research [PHOTOS] 
On May 16, the School of Education hosted notable new scholars Aris Moreno Clemons, Harper B. Keenan, and Kristyn Lue at the UC Davis International Center as part of our Emerging Scholars Panel Series. View the Emerging Scholars photo gallery.

Marcela Cuellar stands at podiumMarcela Cuellar Presents CVRISER Keynote Address
In May, Prof. Marcela Cuellar presented a keynote address at the third annual Central Valley Region Interdisciplinary Symposium on Education Research (CVRISER), held at CSU Stanislaus. The event brought together researchers, educators, students, and leaders to discuss recent education research, propose pathways to addressing gaps in education research, and facilitate interdisciplinary conversations and inter-institutional collaborations. Learn more about CVRISER.

Show Off with School of Education Gear

School of Education branded cap, mugs, and sweatshirt.Looking for a way to show off your School of Education pride? You’ll find shirts of all styles, as well as mugs, hats and more with the School of Education logo at the online UC Davis Store. Proceeds from all store sales benefit UC Davis Athletics.


Postdoctoral scholar M.V. Eitzel co-authored “Using mixed-method analytical historical ecology to map land use and land cover change for ecocultural restoration in the Klamath River Basin (Northern California),” published in Ecological Informatics

Prof. Jennifer Higgs co-authored “Digital writing with AI platforms: The role of fun with/in generative AI,” published in English Teaching Practice & Critique.

Prof. Lauren Lindstrom co-authored “Chief Mohlomi’s Indigenous Epistemology of a Healing Career: A Psychobiographical Analysis,” published in E-Journal of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences.

Prof. Lee Martin co-authored “Fostering noticing of classroom discussion features through analysis of contrasting cases,” published in Instructional Science, An International Journal of the Learning Sciences.

Prof. Nicole Sparapani co-authored “Social network support is associated with teachers’ perceptions of transition planning for their autistic students,” published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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