Education Lab

Education Buzz for Sunday, Dec. 18

Fresno State has new dean

Christopher R. Meyer will be dean of the Fresno State College of Science and Mathematics, the university announced.

Meyer will take over by the start of summer. He currently is program director of the Division of Biological Infrastructure at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va.

Meyer earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Chico State in 1985 and a doctorate in biochemistry from University of California, Riverside, in 1990.

For several years, he was a postdoctoral scholar and a visiting research assistant professor at Michigan State University.

He will replace interim dean Robert G. Dundas.

New leaders on State Center board

State Center Community College District board members appointed John Leal as the board’s new president and appointed a new board vice president and secretary at Tuesday’s meeting.

Officials said the seven board members elected Bobby Kahn as vice president and Eric Payne as secretary.

They will serve the district that includes Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College, Madera Community College, Oakhurst Community College and the Career and Technology Center.

Leal, a Roosevelt alumni, transferred to Fresno State from Fresno City College and graduated with a bachelor of arts in Spanish and a teaching credential. He was first elected to the board of trustees in November 2012 and was re-elected last month.

West Hills gets Hispanic boost

West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore have both earned designations of Hispanic Serving Institutions by the U.S. Department of Education.

The colleges qualified for the designation because more than 25 percent of students enrolled are Hispanic, more than 50 percent of students received financial aid and the colleges’ per-student expense doesn’t exceed the federal requirement.

At Coalinga, 72.5 percent of students are Hispanic; it’s 63.7 percent at Lemoore. Roughly 58 percent of students at both colleges receive Pell grants.

The special designation makes the colleges eligible for waivers on nonfederal share matching requirements. The waivers are in effect starting July 1 and are good for one year. The colleges can also apply for grants specifically designed for Hispanic Serving Institutions.

The college district also is eligible to apply for grants under Title III and Title V. Currently both colleges have Title V programs.

Liberty High goes to state mock trial

Liberty High School mock trial students advanced to the state competition after beating out Madera, Madera South and Yosemite, the Madera County Office of Education announced.

Students Elizabeth Alvey, Elijah Banda, Cheyenne Collier, Wyatt Faccinto, Travin Feramisco, Sarah Folsom, Calissa Haney, Lilyana Jones, Emily Koop, Kaylan May, Vivian Montijo, Madison Person, Zachory Pia, Amanda Polster, Gregory Reitz and Haley Yang, along with coach Keri Delong, former mock trial participants Cody Egan, Carissa Miller Bethany Samarin and local attorneys Rachel Cartier and Daniel Martin will represent Madera County in Riverside on March 24-26.

Liberty High also will bring along Alyza Lovenguth, who won the courtroom journalist competition during the trial, and Evangelina Catellano from Madera High, who won the courtroom artist competition.

This is Liberty’s seventh year participating and fourth county win, the Office of Education said.

Fresno teen gains discipline, skills at SLO academy

Noah Cota, 17, of Fresno is a platoon guide at Grizzly Youth Academy, a partnership between the California National Guard and the Grizzly Challenge Charter School. Cota leads more than 50 cadets and ranks high at the academy.

The academy, based in San Luis Obispo, is one of 40 nationwide that serve as alternatives to public school helping youths ages 16-18 who have dropped out of high school or have fallen behind in their high school credits gain discipline and life skills.

The three-phase program focuses on leadership, cooperation and academic excellence. Cota is in the third phase, called post-residential. He will spend 12 months in contact with his mentor, who will provide assistance with his educational goals, employment needs and emotional support.