Meet our Students

Here what some of our students have to say about what inspires them to teach, and what they think about their experiences here at Sonoma State.

Jay Dowd


Jay Dowd earned his Masters at Sonoma State in Educational Leadership. He is the principal at Spring Creek Elementary School in the Rincon Valley School District. He previously worked in a teaching capacity as well as a principal for fifteen years in the Bay Area. At Spring Creek Elementary School, while developing his cognate project, he worked on issues relating to improving school culture and learning in what ways instructional leaders should develop people within an organization to have the largest positive impact on student learning.

Dowd's cognate project focused on implementing a two part teacher evaluation system focusing on mini-observations and follow up conversations. The mini-observations included a 5-10 minute classroom visit conjoined with a follow up conversation between the evaluator and the teacher shortly after the observation period. Dowd's intention was to determine if cognitive coaching was an effective way to purposefully use the evaluation system while still preserving trust among the staff and maintaining a collaborative school environment. He is passionate about finding was to build a common cause and authentically enhance the performance of individual participants on a team through his work as a leader in education.

Rosanne Muldoon


Rosanne Muldoon earned the Reading and Language MA Degree. She is a teacher at Helen Lehman Elementary School in Santa Rosa, having taught both first and sixth grade. Muldoon took a special assignment as the intervention coordinator for the "Walk to Read" program at Helen Lehman. While serving in that capacity, she built her Masters cognate project.

She introduced an after school tutorial which focused on a reading workshop model and integrated it into the existing "Walk to Learn" program. She hoped to determine if the program would work in conjunction with the  "Walk to Read" model in place for the intermediate grades. Rosanne Muldoon continues to be responsible for coordinating the "Walk to Read" program for first, second and third grades, curriculum support, monitoring student progress through assessments and more. She is passionate about her job and being able to cultivate students' love for reading.

Kelly Sporer


Kelly Sporer obtained her multiple-subject teaching credential at Sonoma State University in 2003 with two supplemental credentials in mathematics and science. She then went on to earn her Masters degree in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning with an added Reading Certification in 2015. She has been an eighth grade teacher at Hillcrest Middle School for fifteen years and recently took an assignment on a district wide creative arts program (ENRICH) which offers art and technologic enrichment classes to the students.

As her cognate project, Sporer addressed the Common Core requirements by designing a blogging project that combined writing, communication skills and technology to allow students to express their ideas regarding the readings that were presented. Through the project, students took on the role of facilitators and active directors in their own literature clubs. Sporer used an online blogging platform for the students to complete self-led discussion on literature. Supporting her belief, the students were able to find the social and political themes running through the novels they were reading. They began to make cultural connections and draw conclusions about themes, much more than what she had previously seen them express in traditional assignments with formal prompts and requirements. Sporer's cognate project reflected her interest in finding alternative ways for students to express their learning in the classroom with self-led discussion.

Brittany Briones


Brittany Briones earned her Masters degree in Special Education at Sonoma State University after obtaining her moderate to severe Special Education credential. She is a teacher at Greenacre Homes in Sebastapol and previously taught at Cypress School in Petaluma working with students on the Autism spectrum. She also coaches soccer at Analy High School, offers in-home behavioral support with children and is studying to become a Board Certified Behavior Specialist (BCBA).

For her cognate project, Briones investigated how to increase students' accountability for their behaviors. She implemented a program to work on the skill of accountability with her students that consisted of a point system based on both self-assesment as well as evaluations by herself and the classroom staff. The point system helped accurately gauge each students behavior accountability. She implemented this through teaching high self-monitoring skills, self-modeling and positive behavior intervention supports (PBIS) in her classroom.

Ed Navarro

Ed Navarro is an Educational Leadership Credential candidate with a background in teaching.

Ed is enthusiastic about constantly improving his teaching strategies and challenging himself to rethink how he connects with students. He is interested in building curriculum around student learning and making the education experience far more student centered. He appreciates how the credential program has offered him the opportunity to expand his lens on education.