Department Chair Changes in ELSE Department

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on August 30, 2012 9:02 AM

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The Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education welcomes Dr. Viki Montera to the position of Department Chair for the Fall 2012 semester.  Dr. Montera is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership for the ELSE Department which offers both advanced credential and master's degree programs for the preparation of principals, superintendents and education administrators. In addition, Dr. Montera is taking over the role of co-director of the CANDEL Joint Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership this semester as well. Joining her in a department leadership role this semester is Dr. Sandy Ayala, who will serve as the program coordinator for the Education Specialist Credential program. Fellow ELSE Department faculty member Jennifer Mahdavi, on sabbatical through the end of this term, will move into the role of department chair in Spring 2013 upon her return.

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This change in leadership follows former Department Chair Professor Emiliano Ayala's departure from Sonoma State University to a new position at our sister institution Humboldt State University as Associate Dean of the College or Professional Studies. Dr. Ayala was a member of the Sonoma State faculty since 2000, teaching in the Education Specialist Credential and Special Education Master's Degree programs. In addition to his recent role as department chair, he wrote and directed two grant projects here on campus related to adaptive technology and Universal Design for Learning, first as Project Co-director and Co-principal Investigator for Access by Design (AxD) funded by the National Science Foundation, and later, from 2005-2012, as Project Director/Principal Investigator for Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology (EnACT~PTD) funded by the U.S. Department of Education: Office of Postsecondary Education.

Dr. Ayala has been a valued scholar and leader at Sonoma State, and will be missed here on campus. Department colleague Professor Paul Porter remarked that "Emiliano is one of the brightest and most talented faculty members in the School of Education. His great organizational skills, vision, student-centered outlook, and always positive attitude will add so much to Humboldt State. We will miss him very much."