UCCI Certified Facilitators

March 14, 2016

Every month in our UCCI newsletter, we feature one of the extraordinary educators we have worked with at the UCCI Institutes and in the UCCI Teacher Exchange. We started this feature so that we could have a way of publicly showcasing how creative, innovative, and smart California teachers are. We archive every issue of the Teacher Spotlight here, on the UCCI website, at our Teacher Spotlight page.

We're excited to announce that UCCI has a brand new program: our Certified UCCI Facilitator program! And so this month, we're focusing our spotlight on our first cohort of Certified UCCI Facilitators! But first, a little background about the program and what it means for you.

The Certified UCCI Facilitator Program is a network of qualified individuals certified by UCCI to provide trainings and facilitation in the area of integrated course development. Certified UCCI Facilitators do the important work of providing educators with the training they need to create UCCI and “UCCI-style” integrated courses. These individuals are qualified to:

  • Provide training to educational institutions Re: how to write a UCCI/"UCCI-Style” course for “a-g” designation
  • Lead teams in the work of UCCI course development
  • Lead teams in the work of creating “UCCI-style” integrated courses

We created this program because we are a very small staff with a very limited budget facing increasing demand from individuals throughout California who have requested trainings for their faculty and administrative staff in creating integrated courses for "a-g" designation. Because there are more requests than we can ever hope to fulfill, our Certified UCCI Facilitator program is how we are working to meet this demand. Each facilitator trained and certified by UCCI is fully qualified to provide this training and lead UCCI and "UCCI-style" course development with individual schools, districts or county offices of education that have a need for this kind of work. 

Certified UCCI Facilitators meet each of the following criteria:

  • they have successfully facilitated at three separate UCCI Institutes;
  • they have demonstrated understanding of integrated curriculum as it applies to UCCI courses; and
  • they have successfully completed a Certified UCCI Facilitator Training.

UCCI recently held its inaugural Certified UCCI Facilitator Training, and we’re very happy to announce that we certified our first nine UCCI facilitators!  We are featuring them and their areas of expertise in this edition of the newsletter.

We have created a Directory of our Certified UCCI Facilitators. Each of the nine individuals featured below is available to provide trainings and facilitate course development, so if you have a need for this work in your school or district, contact any one of these individuals directly via their contact information in the directory. 

So, without further ado, here the are:

Certified Facilitators

Dr. Oghwa Ladner, Integrated Math/ICT Teacher, Hillcrest High School (far left, back row)

Dr. Ladner is a math teacher who has served as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) in Secondary Mathematics and STEM at Alvord Unified School District for eight years. Her teaching experience spans more than 15 years and all levels of K-16 education, from elementary school to community college. She has served as a staff development specialist, teacher, TOSA, BTSA support provider, lesson study facilitator, and UCCI Institute facilitator. Dr. Ladner currently teaches Integrated Math and ICT at Hillcrest High School. She is proficient with all CTE sectors and subjects, though Mathematics is her primary area of expertise.

Tomas Ribota, ISS Teacher, Manteca Unified School District (second from left, back row)

Tomas has been teaching both Social Sciences and ROP courses in Public Safety for the past 6 1/2 years, in San Joaquin County schools (he is dual credentialed in Single-Subject Social Science and CTE).  Prior to becoming a teacher, Tomas served for 22 years in law enforcement working initially in a local police department before moving to the San Joaquin County District Attorney as a Criminal Investigator.  He has spent a majority of his career in Investigations, primarily involving Gang Investigation.  In his current role as the District In School Suspension Teacher with the Manteca Unified School District, he works with students on redirection from issues with attendance, classroom behaviors, life skills, and in study skills for their course work.  Tomas is well versed in both CTE- Public Safety and Social Science Curriculum and is equally comfortable working with ELA, Foreign Languages (LOTE), ICT and other pathways in CTE.

Darrell Wildt, Teacher, one.Lodi, San Joaquin County Office of Education (middle, back row)
Darrell Wildt is a classroom teacher (Math, History, Economics, and Government), a curriculum writer and tech mentor, a UCCI course writing team member and facilitator, a California Writing Project teacher consultant, and a musician/songwriter - a dad who plays Rock-n-Roll! Over the last eleven years he has continuously sought to advance his content knowledge and teaching methods in order to improve student learning. Under the various hats that he wears, he has helped model and facilitate tech integration including 21st century skills in multiple content areas and has been an advocate for both thematic curriculum and an integration of CTE and academic standards. Lastly, he is also an ongoing teacher researcher on pedagogy that both foster resiliency and academic achievements. Darrell is also a Common Core/California Standards consultant for the Great Valley Writing Project chapter of the California Writing Project. His specific areas of interest are Integrated Curriculum and Course Development of Math, Social Studies, Art, ELA, and various CTE sectors and pathways. 

John Pellman, MFA, Digital Media Teacher and Digital Media Academy  Coordinator at Pleasant Grove High School (second from right, back row)
John Pellman is a teacher of digital media – video and animation.  He is also the Coordinator of the Digital Media Academy, maintain a TV Studio at the school which produces our school’s TV show PGTV, and chairs the school’s CTE department.  He has been teaching full time for 10 years.  Before becoming a teacher, John worked in the theater, running a small non-profit theater company in Sacramento.  In that capacity he wrote, directed, acted and produced plays.  He also ran a children’s theater camp, taught theater from to groups from kindergarten up to college.  His specific area of interest is education and how media is a tool for educating kids.

Sheryl Ryder, Executive Director, Career Development, Placer County Office of Education (far right, back row)
Sheryl is an administrator for county-run CTE programs and has made it a priority to help her instructors integrate Common Core practices into their CTE courses.  As a CTE Consortium leader, she collaborates with school districts toward integrated instruction across all disciplines to support career and college readiness. Sheryl taught Economics, Government and English for many years, before working in industry and earning a Business credential.  She has been integrating career readiness into academic courses for a long time, and has taught ELA skills, Economics and Government concepts as the foundation for Business and Marketing courses.  She was also the state-wide coordinator for Business Education Leadership project for CDE for four years.  Though her background includes the Business and Finance and Marketing, Sales, and Services sectors, and the Social Science and ELA subjects, she is comfortable facilitating across all disciplines and sectors.
Pier Sun Ho, Associate Director for Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development, ConnectEd (far left, front row)
Pier is a former secondary science teacher who has also taught math, health science and engineering. Prior to teaching, Pier worked as research assistant in the Department of Immunology at the University of Michigan. She joined ConnectEd in 2006 to help support the development of career pathways across the state, an effort now known as Linked Learning.  Mulitdisciplinary integrated, project-based curriculum has been her main focus, both design of example materials and delivery of professional development for teacher teams designing their own integrated units. Pier has done extensive PLTW engineering training, and has developed a CCSS ELA training series around the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) tools. Her area of interest in the academic core is Science, particularly Biology, and ELA, and she is interested in helping schools create courses that integrate with the Engineering and Health Science career sectors.
Rebecca Guerrero, US History and Psychology teacher, Rancho Cucamonga High School (second from left, front row)
Rebecca has  nearly 14 years of experience in education and has served as a WASC coordinator, course team lead and an assistant coordinator for freshman transition programs.  Since 2012, she has been working in a variety of capacities with the UCCI program to support the development of integrated curriculum. Government is her all-time favorite subject (especially in an election year!), but she has been fascinated by all the things she has learned in a variety of subjects from English to Cyber Security while working with UCCI teams at various UCCI Institutes.  She is comfortable facilitating teams writing any course and has worked with teams in English, Math, History and Science developing courses integrated with Architecture, Cyber Security, Public Health, and the Energy, Environment and Utilities CTE sector.
Sherry Suisman, Sherry Suisman Consulting (second from right, front row)
Sherry Suisman is an educational consultant with over 13 years of teaching experience, including 10 years teaching English Composition and Reading at San Francisco State University and three years teaching Business Communications at Year Up Bay Area, where she also served as Academic Director. She is well-versed in the principles and practice of Linked Learning, having served as Senior Program Associate at Career Ladders Project from 2012 – 2015, providing technical assistance community colleges and other educational and workforce partners, directing and managing curriculum design projects, leading professional development trainings, and supporting schools and teams in cross-regional partnerships.  Sherry is mostly interested in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) career sector, though she has worked with teams in HSMT, Biotechnology/Bioscience, Hospitality, Law and Public Service, and other CTE sectors and is open to supporting collaborations and curriculum development in any sector.
Jennifer Currie, ELA Coordinator and ERWC Regional Contact, Learning and Leadership Services, San Diego County Office of Education (far right, front row)
Prior to her current role at the San Diego County Office of Education, Jennifer worked as an English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum specialist who facilitated a variety of teacher teams around best practices for ELA instruction and in the development of curriculum and assessments for the Sweetwater Union High School District.  Jennifer has also been a literacy coach,  high school assistant principal, a BTSA support provider, a department chair, a PLC lead and an English teacher who has taught middle and high school students. In her current role as a lead coordinator for English Language Arts, she works closely with others to improve student access to high quality literacy instruction across the county.  She provides professional learning to coaches and teachers, convenes networks of district and site level ELA leaders, collaborates with university and community college partners, and works closely with schools and districts to support excellence in teaching and learning.  Her subject matter preference is English which lends itself to the full complement of CTE industry sectors.  Jennifer has experience facilitating the development of a range of UCCI courses that integrate English with Health Science and Medical Technology, Public Services, and Information and Communication Technologies career sectors.

UCCI's first cohort of Certified UCCI Facilitators--they're not only talented, but fun as well! 

Happy Certified Facilitators

Read more What's New posts.

Read more Teacher Spotlight posts.


“I've gained more from this institute in regards to curriculum development than any other program I've been associated with in my 12 years of teaching.” 

- Aaron Lemos, Spring 2013 UCCI Institutes