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Our instructors are educators from the culturally diverse public schools that we serve with in-depth expertise in the subject areas they teach. They are committed to upholding the principles of equity and social justice by which we stand to deliver optimal learning experiences for candidates like you. 

Rosanna Ayers - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Rosanna Ayers

Director of Youth Education Biomimicry Institute

M.A. of Education in Educational Leadership and School Development & Administrative Services Credential | Teachers College of San Joaquin 2018
B.S. International Business | California State University, Fresno 1999

Rosanna Ayers directs the Youth Design Challenge as well as the development of resources and programs to support educator interactions with the Institute. Before joining the Institute Rosanna served as the Region Lead for science education in six counties in her position as a county Science Coordinator. As a Science Coordinator, Rosanna supported the implementation of Next Generation Science Standards in 20 school districts. She has nearly 20 years of experience as a classroom educator, a college instructor and a county office administrator for science. Rosanna holds a K-8 Teaching Credential along with a supplemental authorization for Business in Secondary education. Rosanna has a bachelor’s in International Business, a Masters in Educational Leadership and School Development and an Administrative Credential for K-12 education.

EDUC X410 Integrated Life Science, Mathematics and Health Literacy
EDUC X408 Integrated Physical Science, Mathematics and Scientific Literacy


Jessie Ceja - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Jessie Ceja

Principal | Chrysler Elementary School

M.A. in History | California State University, Stanislaus 2009
B.A. in History | California State University, Stanislaus 1994

Jessie Ceja believes that all students if given the opportunity will be successful. He is a strong proponent of educational equity and instills a sense of student ownership in their learning. He believes that classes should provide the students with opportunities to explore new ideas and grow in their knowledge. He enjoys watching students marvel when they have learned something new and loves facilitating new learning for all students.

EDUC X425, Integrated Humanities and Cultural Literacy


Cristal Arcelia Gutierrez - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor and Mentor Teacher

Cristal Arcelia Gutierrez

Clinical Practice Placements Coordinator | UC Merced Extension

M.A. in Education: Early Childhood Education | Fresno State, 2022
B.A. in Art: Studio Art | San Francisco State University, 2012
A.A. Transfer | Merced College, 2009

Mrs. Gutierrez has been working in education since 2013, beginning as a substitute teacher for school districts in Fresno and Sanger, Ca. Since earning her Multiple Subject: Early Childhood Education Credential at Fresno State in 2015, she has taught grades K-1 in a general education classroom in Hanford, Ca.  Mrs. Gutierrez is passionate about bringing best practices into early education classrooms and guiding new teachers throughout this rewarding career.

EDUC X303 - Clinical Practice 1
EDUC X305 - Clinical Practice 3


Ellie Honardoost - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Elle Honardoost

Instructor, UC Merced Extension |

Psy.D. Organization Development | Alliant International University 2014
M.A. Education | Fresno Pacific University 2007
B.S. Biochemistry | University of California, Davis 1995

Dr. Ellie Honardoost holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, a master’s in Education, and a doctoral degree in Organization Development, and she is passionate about STEM education reform. She started her career as a biochemist and has been a science teacher in traditional and non-traditional (Project Based) systems. She has developed and implemented a variety of STEM programs and pathways. As a social entrepreneur, she provides access to high-quality STEM learning to young minds and helping teachers and administrators bring 21st Century knowledge and skills to their classrooms. She is skilled at change management, and her process in working with teams is rooted in respect and inclusion, collaboration, authenticity, self-awareness, and empowerment. Through her work, she wishes to continue to help bring context and relevance to curriculum design and implementation and ultimately enable students to discover their talents and passions, achieve their full potential, and become the next generation of innovators and critical thinkers of our society.

EDUC X408 - Integrated Physical Science and Math Scientific Literacy
EDUC X318 - Single Subject Methods in Science


Julie LaFollette

Teacher on Special Assignment | Hilmar Unified School District

B.S. in Office Management, 1999
Single Subject Teaching Credential, English Language Arts
M.A. in English Literature, 2017

Julie LaFollette is a 19-year veteran teacher of secondary English-Language Arts. Having taught 7th through 12th grade English in both Stanislaus and Merced County, Julie has experience teaching a wide range of learners.

As a Teacher on Special Assignment in Hilmar Unified School District, Julie mentors new teachers, supports veteran teachers and administrators, and leads her district's work with California Education Partners, a partnership dedicated to improving the educational system for the betterment of African-Americans, Latinx, and Socio-Economically Disadvantaged students.

A UC Merced Writing Project Fellow since 2009, Julie has facilitated professional development for teachers across the central valley in the areas of analytical writing, critical reading, and technology integration. But above all, Julie is passionate about inspiring new teachers to leverage their talents to support, encourage, and motivate struggling learners in their schools.

EDUX302: Teaching Practicum
EDUX315: English Methods


Linda Lamerson

Special Education Coordinator | Atwater Elementary School District

MA in Educational Leadership |California State University, Stanislaus 2019
Administrative Services Credential | California State University, Stanislaus 2014
BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Exceptional Children and Youth | California State University, Stanislaus 2002

Linda Lamerson holds an Education Specialist Credential for students with mild to moderate disabilities. She spent the first 11 years of her career as a Special Education teacher at the Junior High level.

From 2014 to 2018 she served the district as a site-level administrator. It was in July 2018 she took on the role of Special Education Coordinator and District Induction Coach. In this new role, she provides ongoing guidance, instruction, and just-in-time support for new teachers.

She has enjoyed supporting new teachers in adopting effective instructional practices, and curriculum that meets the needs of exceptional learners

EDUC X 401 Learning Cognition & Instruction


Jacquelyn Ollison Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Dr. Jacquelyn Ollison

Adjunct Professor | Teacher Preparation | UC Merced University Extension 

Ed.D., Educational and Organizational Leadership | University of The Pacific 2019

Dr. Jacquelyn Ollison is a committed educator with extensive education experience as a teacher, Vice Principal, Principal, and state Education Administrator. She is the Program Director for the California Teacher Residency Lab. She earned her doctorate at the University of the Pacific. Her research interests include compassion fatigue, teacher retention, school climate, and working conditions in urban schools. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, Benerd School of Education, and an instructor at the UC Merced Extension Teacher Preparation Program. She lives in Northern California with her husband, three stepchildren, and her dog Seo.

EDUC X301 Foundations in Education
EDUC X317 Math Methods


Shannon Owens - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Shannon Owens

5th Grade Teacher and Technology Support | Planada Elementary School
TIP Mentor 

M.A., Education, Curriculum and Instruction | Brandman University 2010
B.A., Art and Business | San Jose State University 1997

Shannon Owens has been a classroom teacher since 2002 and has enjoyed mentoring other teachers since 2009. She currently supports new teachers through TIP and as an EdTech team member at Planada Elementary school. She has most recently served as Cooperating Teacher, University Mentor, and Instructor for the TPP program here at UC Merced Extension. Shannon holds a Multiple Subject Credential and a Single Subject Credential in English, along with additional authorization for Art. She is a life-long learner and enjoys discovering innovative ways to make an impact on her students and loves to pass that same quality along to new teachers.

EDUC X313 Technology Supported Project-Based Learning
EDUC X302 Teaching Practicum


Charles Lorenzo Pirtle II - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Charles Pirtle II

Principal, Alicia Reyes Elementary School
Instructor, UC Merced Extension 

Ed.D., Organizational Leadership and Professional Practice - In progress
Ed.S., Administration & Supervision | Tennessee State University 2012
M.Ed., Educational Leadership | Trevecca Nazerene University 2010
B.S., Movement Science | Grand Valley State University 2007

Charles Lorenzo Pirtle, II is the current Principal of Alicia Reyes Elementary School. He moved into the principal position from his prior role as Assistant Principal of Hoover Middle School after relocating to Merced in 2014. 

Pirtle now has more than sixteen years of K-12 educational experience across Michigan, Tennessee, and California. He has incurred numerous awards and accolades along the way, including inductee to Metro Nashville’s Teacher’s Leadership Institute in 2014 and Vanderbilt’s Principal Leadership Academy in 2015, as well as Congressional recognition for his commitment to education in 2019.

Pirtle’s early experiences as a student drove Pirtle to approach education with a mind towards cultivating a positive and inclusive school climate and relying on positive-based interventions. His mission is to be a champion for students by strategizing to build systems to maximize students’ academic, social, and emotional welfare while creating safe and connected environments. Pirtle believes that learning best happens when learners have opportunities to first, think critically about research-based content, next, apply that learning to their current or future educational contexts in a hands-on, actionable manner, and finally, foster a growth mindset. He looks forward to building a new generation of educational leaders in the Central Valley.

EDUC X425 Integrated Humanities and Cultural LIteracy


Diana Saucedo-Nunez

Diana Saucedo-Nunez, M.Ed

Bilingual Added Authorization & CALTPA Coordinator | UC Merced Extension

M.A. Education, Learning Design & Technology | University of Southern California

Diana Saucedo-Nunez obtained her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She has a Multiple Subject Bilingual, Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development (BLCAD) Credential. Diana has worked for Merced City School District as a primary and upper grade classroom teacher for 9 years.




Professional Licensure and Certification Disclosure

University of California programs for professions that require licensure or certification are intended to prepare the student for California licensure and certification requirements. Admission into programs for professions that require licensure and certification does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or certificate. Licensure and certification requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the University of California and licensure and certification requirements can change at any time.

The University of California has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether, if they complete a University of California program, they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).

Additional information is available by visiting the University of California | Office of the President and the California Department of Education.


The Teacher Preparation Program is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

On August 6, 2021, The Commission on Teacher Credentialing granted full institutional approval to the University of California, Merced.