Meet the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education

OCCD Staff

OCCD Staff

The Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education (OCCD) is a relatively new department in the GSE that provides professional development infrastructure services to early learning and afterschool professionals in Oregon. The OCCD has contracts and grants with Oregon’s Early Learning Division, the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Community Foundation, and the Ford Family Foundation.

The OCCD began in PSU in 1995 with just a few staff and some start-up funds and soon grew rapidly, along with the early childhood field in general. The OCCD joined the GSE in 2012. At that time, it employed 23 staff and had $1,928,361 of grant funding. In the past three years, the OCCD has exploded with activity and its services are in high demand. The department now supports 38 people on grants with $3,661,438 in annual funding. Continue reading

GSE Associate Professor Pat Burk receives statewide leadership award

Pat Burk OLN photoThe Executive Committee of the Oregon Leadership Network (OLN) has named the GSE’s Patrick Burk as one of two recipients of the 2015 Tom Ruhl Leadership for Equity Award. Dr. Burk is an associate professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department. His co-winner is Dr. Velma Rose Johnson, ’80, who has a master’s in mathematics from PSU. They will be honored at the organization’s Spring Leadership Institute on April 21, 2015, at the Salem Convention Center.

“Through all the wide variety of ways he has served as a professional educator, he has always kept his eye foremost on the target of better, more equitable education for all students,” said GSE Dean Randy Hitz.

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Robert and Robin Holmes establish GSE’s first scholarship for aspiring arts educators

Ethel Ray (Robin Holmes’s grandmother), music teacher and choir director, and her church’s prize-winning parade float in 1961.

Ethel Ray (Robin Holmes’s grandmother), music teacher and choir director, and her church’s prize-winning parade float in 1961.

Inspired by the memory of Robin Holmes’s grandmother, Ethel Ray, who taught music in the public schools of Vernonia and Willamina, Oregon, Robert and Normandie (Robin) Holmes have established the Robert and Normandie Holmes Endowed Scholarship for Fine and Performing Arts Educators in the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Through an estate gift, the Holmeses have also generously provided for the endowment’s future growth. The GSE’s first scholarship for aspiring arts educators, it will provide support to fine and performing arts graduates of PSU’s College of the Arts who plan to pursue careers as arts education teachers and have been accepted into the GSE. The first award will be available in the fall of 2016. The Holmeses also support other funds at PSU, including the Robert and Normandie Holmes Endowed Travel Fellowship in the College of the Arts and the Normandie and Robert Holmes Endowed Collection Fund in the Branford P. Millar Library.

Robert and Robin Holmes have had successful careers in public accounting, telecommunications, government, and education. Their lives have been deeply enriched by experiences related to the arts, and they have always been supporters of the performing arts in the communities in which they have lived. They believe that the arts education they received in public school was a major factor in developing this interest and that an arts education is a critical element in an individual’s overall education. They have witnessed the important role that arts educators play in the broader community as well, supplying professional support to local theater, music, and arts groups. Robin Holmes said:

“GSE graduates who become arts educators will no doubt be remembered by their students as they recall the life-changing, life-enhancing experiences of school plays, marching bands, and choir trips. And the communities in which those teachers live will no doubt be enriched by their contributions.”

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PSU alumnus Gustavo Balderas named Eugene superintendent

Gustavo BalderasDr. Gustavo (Gus) Balderas, a 2001 graduate of the PSU Master in Curriculum and Instruction program, has been selected as the new superintendent of Eugene 4J School District. He is originally from Nyssa near the Oregon/Idaho border and attended Western Oregon State College and Portland State University. He did both his Initial and his Continuing Administrator Licensure at Portland State. His doctorate is from the University of Oregon. He is currently superintendent of Ocean View School District in California and will take over for Superintendent Sheldon Berman in Eugene on July 1.

Balderas has been in education for 23 years, 17 of those in the Hillsboro School District. He has served as a teacher, school principal, counselor, and assistant superintendent. He brings a solid history of work around diversity and cultural proficiency. He is a co-founder and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators (OALA), and a past member of the Oregon Leadership Network (OLN).

The Eugene School District is the seventh-largest district in Oregon, with over 17,000 students in 18 elementary schools, two K–8 programs, seven middle schools, and four comprehensive high schools.


PSU honors GSE members for length of service

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, PSU honored faculty and staff who reached a length of service milestone in 2014. PSU employees were honored for 20, 25, 30, and 35 years of service to the university.

Congratulations to the following Graduate School of Education members. GSE faculty honorees included:

20 years

  • David Bullock, manager of technology
  • Dannelle Stevens, doctoral program coordinator
  • Laura West Vanderpool, Helen Gordon Child Development Center (not pictured)

25 years

  • Becky Boesch, assistant professor, Educational Leadership and Policy

Please join us in acknowledging our fellow colleagues for their significant achievement and contribution to the Graduate School of Education and Portland State University

Associate Professor Will Parnell publishes book on school readiness

Parnell_pubThe world is changing rapidly, both outside and inside the classroom. Early childhood educators have new challenges every day that provide opportunities to rethink and reimagine approaches to conventional early childhood instruction. In a new volume, co-edited by professors Will Parnell (Curriculum and Instruction) and Jeanne Marie Iorio, a total of 27 early childhood experts from across the United States, Canada, and Australia (as well as Parnell and Iorio) offer insight and innovative practices for working with the youngest students. The book, Rethinking Readiness in Early Childhood Education: Implications for Policy and Practice, is part of Bloch and Swadener’s Critical Cultural Studies of Childhood series.

“The current early childhood readiness discourse positions the child and family as deficit,” said Parnell. “Focused on rethinking readiness, our text opens doors to seeing what is possible when the experiences of children and families from across the world are honored and central to policy and educational decision making.”

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