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Education Leader and Alumna Launches Teacher Education Fund

The fund will support investments in the School’s K-12 teacher education programing

Portrait of Marsha Gurney-Speck against a blue sky with a palm tree in the background

In her 44-year career in K-12 and university education, Marsha Gurney-Speck, Ed.D. (Cred., ’69) has always believed that education is a key to success and citizenship. 

Passionate about learning and quality education, she served as a teacher, assistant principal, and high school principal. As an assistant superintendent of schools and later professor of educational leadership at San Jose State, she valued teacher development, as well as leadership reviewing and assessing programs to ensure they were serving each child.

“We often talk about ‘students’ or ‘all students’ but I ask – ‘What happens to each of your students? What if it was your child?’ Gurney-Speck said. “Rather than ‘all children,’ like they are one, let’s help develop teachers who are equipped to teach each student.”

As part of that vision, she created the Teacher Education Fund: Fostering Teaching & Learning with Equity, Inclusion & Justice. This multiyear fund will enable UC Davis School of Education professors and staff to further invest in the K-12 teacher education programming focusing on modes of curriculum, instruction, and assessment and development.

The fund will help the continuous innovative improvement of teacher
education and educational leadership through research and practices that focus on social and transformative justice. In the first year, this process will dovetail with the School’s teacher education program strategic planning process, enabling the findings of the review to play a key part in the teacher education program’s future. As part of the process, current students, alumni and hiring districts will have the chance to weigh in on their experiences, as well as the experiences of their own students.

Gurney-Speck launched this fund on Give Day 2022 with a successful campaign to raise more than $2,500 for the fund. She’s also passionate about the ability of professionals to make a difference through philanthropy; supporters of K-12 teacher education can give to the fund online.

“If we help create excellent teachers,” she said, “they will expand students’ experiences and successes, which will make better communities, nations and a better world. If we make those teacher-student connections reach each of our students, we can avoid a lot of negative experiences and remove barriers for so many.”

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