Did you know that Attallah College of Educational Studies’ teacher education program is the longest, continuously operating academic program at Chapman University? For more than 160 years, Chapman University has prepared teachers to serve their local communities. We are thrilled to share the individual stories of some of our alumni, who have dedicated their careers to educating future generations, as well as some of our outstanding future teachers, during National Teacher Appreciation Week.
Attallah College Honors Our Alumni
Pat Elliott, BA ’60; MA ’74
I received all my education in Orange, as I grew up here. I was in the last class at Orange High (1953) that graduated from the campus now occupied by Chapman. After working for three years, I decided to attend Chapman and pursue a career in teaching. I graduated in January 1960 after completing my student teaching, and the following week, I started teaching kindergarten for the Anaheim School District. I took a break from teaching in the early 1960s when our son was born and returned to teaching on a substitute basis until he was in second grade. Because I had substituted in the Garden Grove district, I was first offered a half-day contract for teaching one morning kindergarten class, and the following year, I started teaching full time in Garden Grove. I returned to Chapman for my master’s degree and graduated in June 1974, then retired from the Garden Grove School District in 1996 after nearly 30 years of teaching. My husband, who is also a Chapman alum, and I remain close to the university and actively participate in Town and Gown and other university events. In our retirement, we enjoy traveling and have been to over 80 countries worldwide.
David Hastings, BA ’74; Teaching Credential ’90
Although I wanted to pursue a teaching career while I was in high school, my favorite teacher advised me that the pay was insufficient, so I changed my educational goals. I began my experience with Chapman College in 1970 after returning from Vietnam and graduated in 1974 with a BA in Business Administration/Economics. Over the years, I considered teaching several times when making career-changing decisions. After many career changes, I completed the credentialing program in 1990. After substituting for five years, I accepted a teaching position in a high-security prison environment for juveniles, then the California Youth Authority, which has since been incorporated into the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It certainly was not my first choice, but it became the only practical way for me to involve myself in teaching—a “calling,” a destiny for me. I spent the last twenty years of my working career as a teacher. They were the most rewarding years of my life. I’m so glad I finally did what I was always supposed to do.
Sara J. Pelly, MA ’94
Growing up in Colorado, my family spent summers in Southern California, and I told them I was going to live there someday! After graduating from Phillips University in Enid, OK, with a BS in Elementary Education, I came to Orange for a job interview at Chapman and immediately fell in love with the campus and the surrounding area. In 1989, I began my teaching career in the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) and taught 1st-3rd grades for nine years. In 1994, I received my Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction at Chapman. A few years later, I moved to the Centralia School District and taught 1st-3rd grade GATE, during which time I returned to Chapman to get my Administrative Services Credential. I became a principal in 2008, and nine years later, I returned to my home district of OUSD, where I am now the proud principal of Fletcher Mandarin Language & GATE Academy! I have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Chapman, hosting fieldwork observers and student teachers, Chinese PhD students from Shanghai Normal University, and most recently, the elementary reading tutoring experience. In addition, Fletcher’s Mandarin Immersion Lunar New Year performance is held annually at Memorial Hall. After 34 years in education, I plan to retire this June but will remain involved with Chapman, where my husband (class of ’96) has worked for 37 years.
David Waldram, BA ’04; MAT ’08
I grew up in Orange County and absolutely loved my time at Chapman University as both an undergraduate student in the Film and Television program and a graduate student in the (then) School of Education, where I earned an MA in Teaching. I was privileged to serve in the Fish Interfaith Center during my time as a student and still enjoy engaging with the interfaith community. I began my career in K-12 education in 2007. I taught history, video production, and Model United Nations courses for eight years at my alma mater, Tustin High School. In 2015, I began my career in school leadership with Riverside Unified School District. I have served as an Assistant Principal at Martin Luther King High School for the last eight years, with my most recent assignment being in Curriculum and Instruction. Eight years ago, I helped found the non-profit MUN Educators and have enjoyed teaching students speaking, researching, writing, and negotiation skills through that wonderful organization. My Chapman alumnus wife, Kendra (BA ’07), and our four beautiful children reside in Orange County.
Dorcas Hoi, BA ’18, MA ’19
I grew up in Cupertino, CA, and moved to Orange County when I began school at Chapman in 2014. Throughout my time at Chapman, I was consistently guided by many wonderful professors and supported by my friends and colleagues. When I took the elementary math methods course, I was challenged to examine my own rocky relationship with learning math in school. This made me more curious about how many young learners experience a similar feeling of math anxiety, and I became more passionate about changing that narrative. While I began pursuing a Multiple Subject Credential in the M.A. Curriculum and Instruction program, I was encouraged to add a Single Subject Math Credential before graduating with my M.A. After completing my student teaching in Orange Unified School District with two amazing mentor teachers, I was offered a math teaching position at Yorba Middle School in 2019. Initially, I was intimidated by the idea of teaching at a middle school but was surrounded by supportive administrators, teachers, and staff. I’ve learned that middle school teachers know how to blend classroom management with the rigor of content while also supporting students through a unique transition in their lives. For the past four years, I have enjoyed teaching 6th and 7th grade math. When I started teaching AVID in 2021, I was able to share my college experience when I brought my students to visit Chapman. This year, I served as a University Supervisor for a student teacher, and I am excited that Attallah College continues to foster many promising educators. I am reminded of how much I’ve grown since I first declared myself as a future educator.
The tradition continues with our current students at Attallah College, who will become the next generation of educators in our communities.
Attallah College Celebrates Our Current Students
Chad Coudriet, MAT ’23
Every professor at Attallah College has modeled and offered content to provide access to every student. They have taught us how to have an asset-based lens, and through lesson planning strategies such as UDL, differentiation, and CGI, we have learned to remove obstacles and offer access to all learners while supporting the whole child. My future teaching area is teaching multiple subjects in grades K-6. Three schools that would be an honor to work at are Clara King Elementary in the Cypress School District, Lee Elementary in the Los Alamitos Unified School District, and Fletcher Academy in the Orange School District. All three of these schools have a deep commitment to creating an inclusive community. As a fun fact, Donna Attallah also worked at Clara King Elementary. I am most looking forward to creating a community with my teaching partners, students, and their families where students, their guardians, teachers, co-teachers, and staff are valued and engaged with one another.
Sabrina Chu, BA ’23, MA ’24
Something special I’ve gained from the MA Curriculum and Instruction program is the relationships I’ve developed with my peers and professors. They are my biggest support system, and I know they will always be there to listen, give advice, and cheer me on. In the future, I plan to teach in a Title I school. I grew up attending public schools in San Francisco and would love to return and give back to my community. I look forward to building a safe and caring community in my class to support all my students. As I go into my Teacher Residency as a graduate student next year, I can’t wait to build relationships with students to help develop their confidence and academic skills.
Kaitlyn Pasilla, BA ’24, MA ’25
The Attallah College program has helped me learn how to create a classroom environment that is truly welcoming to all students. I have learned specific ways to provide a universal and inclusive education for my future students. I plan to teach United States History at the high school level. I would love to stay in the Orange County area since I grew up here. Creating a welcoming environment and fostering an appreciation for the importance of history in my community’s future generations is very important to me. I am most looking forward to seeing my future students engage with their own histories in my classroom. I am so excited for my students to see themselves in the content we explore during class together!
Jesus Frausto, MA ’24
Through the MA Special Education program and its faculty, I have learned that it is important to create bonds with your fellow teachers. It is crucial to understand that you, as a teacher, are not alone and that you have the support of the faculty around you. I am unsure of my future students’ demographics, but I would like to work specifically with unhoused children. Children from different backgrounds have unique needs, and this area is one which I feel is important and an area I would like to dedicate my time and efforts to. When I begin my journey as a teacher, I look forward to seeing the children grow up to become important members of society. Teaching is tough, but it is also important, and witnessing children grow into young adults is the best reward I can ask for.
Thank you, Attallah College past, present, and future teachers for your commitment to changing education and changing the world!