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Benerd Staff and Faculty Transitions

We welcomed new faculty and staff: Brittany Auernig joined us in August as our Field Director for Special Education. She holds her Doctor of Education-Special Education from Northcentral University, an Administrative Credential from the Sacramento County Office of Education, her Clear California Mild/Moderate Credential, Autism Certification and ELA Authorization from California State University, Sacramento, where she also received her Master’s in Sociology and her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, concentration in Children and Adolescents.

Joining us in January is Belkis Choiseul-Praslin who will serve as the Program Lead for Special Education. In May, she expects her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Her M.Ed. in Education Policy and Leadership Concentration: Teacher Leadership and Literacy is from American University and her Bachelors in English Literature is from Florida State University.

Jonathan Tocolli joins our HIVE team (our student support services center). He is currently pursuing his EdD at Benerd in Educational and Organizational Leadership and has an MA in Religious Studies from University of Chicago, his MA in Biblical Exegesis from Wheaton College, his BA in Biblical Studies from Biola University. Previously, he has taught high school and been a vice principal.

We also have some transitions. Dr. Delores McNair announced she will retire the end of the academic year. Dr. McNair has been with Pacific since 2006 first as a professor in the Educational Administration and Leadership Department in the former School of Education, and most recently in the Learning, Leadership, and Change Programs in Benerd College at the Sacramento campus as the Program Lead for the doctoral program in Leadership and Innovation. She also served as the director the M.A. in Students Affairs program. She received the Judy Chambers award for Leadership in Student Service in 2014.

Dr. Brett Taylor and Dr Fred Estes have both transitioned to part-time faculty in our Sacramento programs. We are so grateful for all their efforts to help create transformational programs in Sacramento. Benerd is one of the only Schools with thriving programs on two of our campuses and we owe some of that success to their work. In other transition news in Sacramento, Dr. Rod Githens, the Alexandra Greene Ottesen Endowed Chair, has been hired into a tenure track position and remains the backbone of our Sacramento programs.

In addition, we are pleased to have the support of our many part-time faculty who provide the critical insight that comes from being scholar practitioners and who go over and above to support our students.

As always, change is a constant. Several of our faculty have left to seek other opportunities. Dr. Christina Rusk Program Lead for Special Education is taking time to be with her family. Dr. Heidi Stevenson has also made a similar decision, but will also be spending time as the new President of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Prof. Wendy Shirer has moved to Japan to accept an exciting teaching opportunity and to fulfill a lifelong goal of living aboard. We are truly grateful for their service.