Donna English

My name is Donna Presson and getting this close to receiving my Learning Specialist credential has been a very long journey! I started out at San Jose City College back in 1979 and 10 years later, I received an AA degree in dance. I loved studying modern dance at San Jose City College. I had an amazing mentor teacher who was head of the dance department. She role modeled the life of a teacher and an artist. She had her own dance company, a non-profit, and I was a member.

I waitressed at a restaurant (named Eulipia) during those early years which allowed me to pay my bills with the tip money I earned while I continued to go to school. I didn't complete my Bachelors Degree from San Jose State University in Creative Arts until 1996, one year after my youngest daughter was born. I definately see myself as a lifelong learner and encourage others that it is never to late to go back to school.

I worked as a paraeducator in Special Ed beginning in 2007 and I loved it. My first placement was working with students who were diagnosed with Emotional Disturbance. I then transferred to Osborne School at Juvenile Hall in 2008. The students at the juvenile hall were a pleasure to work with and many of them discovered they enjoyed reading for the first time. I knew my paraeducator wages were not enough to support me and I was interested in Recreational Therapy and Special Education. I enrolled in the Recreational Therapy Program at San Jose State. Although I loved the idea of working in that field, I realized there were very few job opportunities after graduation. I decided to go to Santa Clara University in 2010 to pursue a masters degree in Special Education. I benefited from

the small classes and completed the program in two years. Unfortunately, I had health issues and couldn't complete my student teaching in order to get my Specialist Credential. That is why I came to National Hispanic University in the fall of 2012.

I am looking forward to using technology in my classroom. With my background in creative arts and dance, I see many opportunities for the students with learning differences to express themselves creatively and access the curriculum through the use of technology.