In spring 2014, Thomas Shirley was completing a PhD at the UC Davis School of Education, with interests in Psychometrics, Language Learners, and eLearning. He was also awarded a Master of Business Administration in International Business and a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from the University of Miami. Prior to his current studies at UC Davis, Thomas held roles as a mergers and acquisitions advisor and executive with McKinsey, KPMG, and General Electric (GE) across North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
His personal and professional cross-cultural and cross-lingual experiences have led him to his current studies and research projects related to the education and assessment of language learners and lower socioeconomic subgroups, including his dissertation titled, “Language Learners and the Impact of Reading Ability and Income and Education Inequality on Science and Math Achievement: Discriminate Function Analysis and Differential Item Functioning (Item Bias) Studies of the PISA 2009 Results.”
2014 Rising Star Alumnus
Dan Meyer (BS ’03, Credential ’04, MA ’05)
After earning his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and teaching credential from the University of California at Davis, Dan Meyer taught high school math to students who didn’t like high school math. Since then he has advocated for better math instruction on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray, and his blog. In 2010, he gave a talk on his methods for TED.com that has been viewed over one million times. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the field of math education at Stanford University. He speaks with teachers internationally and works with textbook publishers, helping them move from education’s paper past to its digital future. He was named one of Tech & Learning’s “30 Leaders of the Future” and an Apple Distinguished Educator. He lives in Mountain View, Calif.
2014 Distinguished Alumna
Michele Dally (BA ’76, Credential ’77)
Michele “Shelley” Dally, born in New York, transplanted to Southern California in high school and graduated from UC Davis in 1975 with an independent major in Developmental Linguistics. She completed her teaching credential in 1976 at UC Davis, and later received her administrative credential at Sacramento State.
As principal of Markham Elementary School in Vacaville for 17 years, Shelley’s motto was “We do not fit students into programs, we create the best program for each child.” She put her philosophy into action with an Alternative Cooperative Education Program and a Dual Language Immersion Program, running Markham with three different educational programs. She wrote and received many grants, including two Healthy Start Grants and two After School Grants, first for her own school and later for the district; Foreign Language Grants to support the Dual Language Immersion Program; and a First Five Grant, to name a few. Shelley spent her final two years in the district bringing after-school enrichment to children grades K-12 throughout the Vacaville School District, administering a program supported by the Vacaville Public Education Foundation.
Shelley retired from the Vacaville School District in 2009 but did not end her career in education. She began as a lecturer/supervisor with the UC Davis School of Education in 2010. In this capacity, she has enjoyed working with the credential candidates, supporting them as they enter the profession she has dedicated her life to. As an advocate for children and education, Shelley most recently became a trustee on the Vacaville District School Board. Her lifelong passion continues to be making a difference in the education of all youth through innovation, dedication, and mustering all possible resources.
Joanne Banducci, PhD, is a retired faculty member who served the UC Davis School of Education for nearly 20 years as a lecturer and supervisor for the multiple subject (elementary) teaching credential program. Dr. Banducci is a quiet leader, innovator, and influence on many of our alumni. In 2005, she founded one of the School’s signature events, Words Take Wing: Honoring Diversity in Children’s Literature, which brings a renowned children’s literature author to campus annually. In its ten years, the event has reached more than 10,000 children in our region. Dr. Banducci was a third grade teacher and reading specialist for many years before serving as a district administrator and then as a faculty member at the School. She continues to volunteer her time as co-chair of Words Take Wing. She received The Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity and Community in 2007. She retired in 2011.
Outstanding Education Advocates
Dolly and David Fiddyment
Dolly and David Fiddyment have a long and rich history in education. David’s great-grandmother built and taught at one of the first schools in the Roseville area in the 1880’s. Both of their mothers taught at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Dolly received her training as a teacher at UCLA in the 1940’s and taught elementary school in the San Juan Unified School District for 25 years, retiring in 1981. David is an inventor, farmer and problem solver by trade, helping shape the pistachio industry in California. During the last 40 years, he has also served on various community, business and school boards, including the Mondavi Center’s board of advisors.
In 2006, the Fiddyments made a $1.09 million gift to the UC Davis School of Education to support an endowed chair in teacher education. The Dolly and David Fiddyment Endowed Chair in Teacher Education is one of only a handful of academic chairs in the country focused on teacher education. The generous endowment helped the School of Education attract a nationally recognized scholar to lead the teacher education program and has inspired many gifts to support students interested in teaching. We cannot overestimate the power of the Fiddyments’ exceptional leadership in philanthropy to the entire UC Davis community and most importantly to the School.