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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. 

Anastacia Anzalone - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Anastacia Anzalone

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

M.A. of Education Administration | California State University, Stanislaus 2005
B.A. Communicative Disorders, Speech & Language Pathology | California State University, Fresno 1993

Anastacia Anzalone has been an educator for 30 years. Her experience includes teaching, site and district administration, and higher education instruction and mentoring, including intern teacher coaching and support. Her career's research and work has centered around anti-racist, social justice, and equity-based education, along with Dr. Hattie's Visible Learning research, which supports the strong structure of collective teacher efficacy. "I love instruction when the 'aha' learning in my classroom is palpable: when I can sense it in the electric aura of a collaborative team discussion or in a student's sincere enthusiasm in using newly learned practices; when I can hear the pure delight in students' anecdotes about learning skills that will make a tremendous difference for their future students or theories that transformed their own practices and perspectives. I believe THIS is when my teaching is a success! Training teachers is important work, ultimately affecting generations of students and making differences in their lives for years to come," shares Anzalone.

EDUC X404 Clinical Practice II: Field Experience
EDUC X306 Intern Field Experience Seminar


Rosanna Ayers - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Rosanna Ayers

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

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 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. 

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

Instructor | UC Merced Instructor

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



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 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 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


Kurt Koillmann - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Kurt Kollmann

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

M.A. of Art and Educational Leadership | California State University, Stanislaus 2010
B.A. Liberal Studies | California State University, Fresno 1984

Kurt Kollmann has been in education for 38 years as a teacher, coach, administrator and instructor at UC Merced. "My philosophy in teaching is I believe Every Child Can Learn. Granted, it may be difficult at times, students do want to do well and want to participate. Set well established rules and guidelines. Set those expectations early on and follow through. Students want to establish relationships and trust with teachers, so build those relationships."

EDUC X301 Integrated Life Science, Mathematics and Health Literacy
EDUC X410 Foundations in Education


Julie LaFollette

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

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. 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

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

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 role, she provides ongoing guidance, instruction, and just-in-time support for new teachers. She enjoys supporting new teachers in adopting effective instructional practices and curriculum that meet the needs of exceptional learners.

EDUC X 401 Learning Cognition & Instruction


Stephanie Ludwig - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Stephanie Ludwig

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

M.A. Education, Curriculum and. Instruction | Western Governors University 2022
B.A. Social Science | Chapman University 1998

Stephanie Ludwig began her teaching career as a reading clinician in 1998. Throughout her 25 years as an educator, she has obtained a wide variety of teaching experiences. In 2003, Stephanie participated in the Summer Institute for the UC Merced Writing Project which led to her six-year summer position as a teacher for the Atwater Migrant Writing Academy. From 2016 to 2020, she also taught English as a Second Language and Citizenship classes for the Merced Adult School. In 2019, she accepted a position as an Induction Mentor/Instructional Coach where she developed her passion for guiding and supporting new and future educators.

EDUC X425 Integrated Humanities and Cultural Literacy


Jacquelyn Ollison Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Dr. Jacquelyn Ollison

Instructor | UC Merced 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 Co-Director for the California Teacher Residency Lab. 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. 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

Instructor | UC Merced Extension 

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

Instructor | UC Merced Extension 

Ed.D., Organizational Leadership and Professional Practice | Trevecca Nazarene University 2023
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  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 him to approach education with a mind toward 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 X424 Integrated Humanities and Visual Literacy
EDUC X425 Integrated Humanities and Cultural Literacy
EDUC X426 Integrated Humanities and Global Literacy


Michael Salaz - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Michael Salaz

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

M.Ed. Environmental Literacy | Teachers College of San Joaquin 2022
B.S. Biological Sciences | UC Merced 2018

Michael Salaz has been an educator for six years and is passionate about teaching students not only science, but the skills they'll need in their future. Michael focuses on providing engaging lessons and best practices for his students. He serves as an induction mentor, PBIS member, Environmental Club advisor, and is the Cross Country and Track & Field Coach. Michael looks forward to supporting new candidates to begin this rewarding career with the proper tools needed to provide students with a quality education.

EDUC X401 Learning Cognition & Instruction



Seth Simas - Teacher Preparation Program Instructor

Seth Simas

Instructor | UC Merced Extension

Ed.D Educational Leadership | California State University, Stanislaus 2020
M.Ed. School Administration | California State University, Stanislaus 2014 B.A. Social Sciences | California State University, Stanislaus 2010

Seth Simas began teaching in 2014 at a junior high school and moved to a high school with some of his newly promoted junior high students in 2016. Now in his 10th year of teaching, he has learned through observation and experience that teachers are lifelong learners. He also finds the concept of differentiation and providing appropriate scaffolds important to the older students as it is to younger students. He finds reflection important to the 21st century teacher. As a mentor to new teachers through the induction process, he continuously encourages new teachers to reflect on why a lesson worked well and how a lesson can improve. What may work for one year may not work in a few years. Dr. Simas takes his reflections to refine and expand his curriculum and strategies, and how he has his students demonstrate their knowledge to others. Equally important is keeping in mind that students are human beings, some of whom are looking for guidance for their future.

EDUC X400 Research Methods in Education





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.