Welcome to the Faculty Emeriti page of the Graduate College of Education at San Francisco State University. This page is dedicated to honoring our esteemed retired faculty members who have made significant contributions to the university and their respective fields. Our emeritus faculty represent a rich legacy of academic excellence, innovation, and dedication to student success. Their continued engagement and wisdom remain an invaluable asset to our community, reflecting their lifelong commitment to education and scholarly achievement.

Here, you can learn more about their impactful careers and ongoing contributions to the field of education.

Dr. Nathan Avani

Nathan Avani

Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Avani completed his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 1985 from Michigan State University. Dr. Avani has been a high school teacher, a community college instructor, an administrator on the staff with the Michigan Department of Education and, an international consultant and field specialist for the USAID - United States Aide For International Development. Dr. Avani was a Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York from 1986-2002. He was Chair of the Department of Middle and High School Education at Lehman College from 1998-2002. Dr. Avani is currently Professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Secondary Education at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California. Dr. Avani was Chair of the Department of Secondary Education from 2002-2014. Dr. Avani is a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Mentoring Association (IMA) and its Past-President. Dr. Avani is an elected member of the National Council of the American Association of University Professors, AAUP. Dr. Avani's research focus is in the area of mentoring. Other areas of interest are school reform, small school development, and technology in education.

Dr. Avani is the author of the following books for K-12 administrators/teachers/staff/students:

  • 2001 YouthLink - Developing Effective Mentoring Programs, (Facilitator's Guide) 2001 YouthLink - Developing Effective Mentoring Programs, (Youth Workbook) The Bureau For At-Risk Youth, 135 Dupont Street, P.O. Box 760 Plainview, New York, 11803 (Copyright 2001). 

  • l998 MENTORING WORKS! A Peer Helping Program For Middle and High School Students (Facilitator's Guide) l998 MENTORING WORKS! A Peer Helping Program For Middle and High School Students (Student Workbook) The Bureau For At-Risk Youth, 135 Dupont Street, P.O. Box 760 Plainview, New York 11803 (Copyright 1998).
Dr. Nick Certo

Nicholas J. Certo

Former Professor and Chair of the Department of Special Education

Nick joined the Department of Special Education in 1992 and served as the Chair of the Department for twelve years, until retiring in 2012. He continued to serve the Department in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) for five years as the Intern Coordinator for Special Education Teachers and became a Professor Emeritus in June 2017. Throughout his career, Nick contributed to improved systems for inclusion of people with disabilities, specifically in the transition to adult living and meaningful employment. With his colleagues and students at the national and regional levels, Nick developed the Transition Services Integration Model, designed to achieve post high school employment for students with significant disabilities. As a Professor and Chair, Nick mentored many junior faculty to succeed in their academic careers and to learn the “ropes” of the RTP process. Always willing to share his understanding and knowledge of administration, he coached many faculty to understand program management, budgeting processes and program assessment in response to university and program accreditation requirements. However, Nick’s generosity and compassion were most expressed with students, as he placed students first and explored all avenues to assist each individual to navigate pathways to succeed in program completion. In May 2017, the Communicative Disorders Program dedicated the Speech and Language Clinic as the “The Nicholas J. Certo Communicative Disorders Clinic." Nick’s legacy continues in the Department and programs that he developed. He is deeply missed by his colleagues and friends in the Department, College and University.

Remembering Nick Certo page

Dr. Susan Courey

Susan Courey

Ph.D., Professor

Susan Courey, Ph.D. became Professor Emeriti in June, 2017, retiring from San Francisco State University in the Department of Special Education. While at San Francisco State, Dr. Courey coordinated the Mild/Moderate Disabilities Program in the Department with Pamela LePage. Her teaching and research focused on Mathematics Education. With her colleague, Dr. Pamela LePage, Dr. Courey completed publications and teaching in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders. While at SF State, Dr. Courey taught and mentored doctoral students in the Joint Ph.D. Program in Special Education with UC Berkeley. Her pioneering work in developing online teaching for preliminary credentialed teachers to complete their induction to become fully credentialed has continued and expanded to improve the program. Dr. Courey has continued her work in the field, and is currently the Department Chair of Early Childhood General and Special Education at the Touro Graduate School of Education in New York City. Dr. Courey continues work with colleagues and doctoral students on research projects in the areas of mathematics and learning challenges, mathematics and music, teacher preparation, and Universal Design for Learning. In addition to her scholarly endeavors, Dr. Courey is active in program improvement and course redesign at Touro.

Dr. Marci Hanson

Marci Hanson

Ph.D., Professor

Marci Hanson, Professor in Special Education, retired in June 2018 from the Department of Special Education. Dr. Hanson first began her appointment at San Francisco State University in 1979, becoming a tenure track faculty in 1982. Most recently, Dr. Hanson served as the SF State Director of the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education with UC Berkeley. Over the course of her career, she developed the Early Childhood Special Education master’s degree, credential, certificate and leadership programs; served as founding member of the Marion Wright Edelman Institute at SF State and the Child and Adolescent Development Program (CAD); SF State Head Start Board of Directors; Director of San Francisco Special Infant Services Early Intervention Program; and Project Director and Principal Investigator on numerous grants and contracts, bringing in over $10 million in external funding over the years. Dr. Hanson’s primary research interests and grant activities have centered on inclusion in early childhood education, early social-emotional development, policy in early education, and early intervention for young children who are at risk and/or disabled. Dr. Hanson has published widely in the areas of early intervention, atypical infant development, family services, cross-cultural training, and personnel preparation. Her textbook with co-author Ellie Lynch, Developing Cross-Cultural Competence: A Guide for Working with Young Children and Their Families is widely used and in the 4th edition.

David Hemphill

David F. Hemphill

Ph.D., Professor

Former Professor, Chair of the ELSIT Department, Founding Director of the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, and Associate Dean of the Graduate College of Education David Hemphill taught in the ELSIT Department of the Graduate College of Education for over 35 years. He retired and became Professor Emeritus in May 2020. Hemphill's research and teaching interests included international and multicultural education, cultural studies, critical theory, postmodern and postcolonial theory, popular culture and popular music, adult education, literacy, second language acquisition, and research methods. He is the co-author of:

- Life at the Margins: Literacy, Language, and Technology in Everyday Life (Teachers College Press, 1997)
- American Popular Music: A Multicultural History (Cengage, 2005)
- Language, Nation, and Identity in the Classroom: Legacies of Modernity and Colonialism in Schooling (Peter Lang, 2015)
- "English Language Learning in Globalized Third Spaces: From Monocultural Standardization to Hybridized Translanguaging. In D. Macedo (Ed.) Decolonizing Foreign Language Education: The Misteaching of English and other Colonial Languages. (Routledge, 2019)
- Opening Third Spaces for Research in Education: Challenging the Limits of Technocratic Methods (Meyers Education, 2021)

Hemphill received the Imogene Okes Research Award of the American Association for Adult, Alternative and Continuing  Education for his adult literacy research. He secured extensive external funding for numerous innovative grants in adult  education, literacy, and international education. He also led the development of two doctoral programs and served as the Founding Director of the EdD. in Educational Leadership. Hemphill pioneered multiple international initiatives in China, Hong Kong, Brazil, and Argentina, and worked as a visiting scholar in Poland, Thailand, and Japan. In addition, Hemphill helped design the MA in Education, Concentration in Equity and Social Justice in the ELSIT Department. Prior to coming to the university, Hemphill worked for a decade as an English language teacher and program director in community-based organizations in Oakland and San Francisco serving adult Asian immigrants and refugees. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Asian Languages from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in Bilingual Education and Ed.D. in Educational Organization and Leadership from the University of San Francisco. He was brought up in Tokyo and Washington, DC and speaks several Asian and European languages. He is also a
trombonist and musical arranger.

Dr. Pam Hunt

Pam Hunt

Ph.D., Professor

Pam Hunt’s work in the field of special education on behalf of students with significant and multiple needs has made lasting contributions to advancing the inclusion of the students as fully participating members of their school communities. Dr. Hunt has worked on this agenda since she was a young teacher. Her work tells the story. She earned her master’s degree in an area of education only a handful of teachers entered in the 1980s. She worked in schools and then began a professional journey that led to a number of federally funded projects that opened the door to understanding how students with and without disabilities became friends while learning together in school. Sixteen grants and many publications and presentations later, she continued to pursue a systematic course of scholarship, teacher preparation, and technical assistance until her retirement in 2019. Since the 1980s, Dr. Hunt had been directly involved in 12 federal grants and contracts from the US. Department of Education in the role of principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or director--procuring a total of $14,300,000 in external grant funding: $5,150,000 in research grants, $3,400,000 in personnel preparation grants (which supports students’ tuition), and $5,750,000 in technical assistance and training grants. Her final research project, a $2,750,000 research grant awarded to Dr. Hunt and Dr. Elizabeth Kozleski at the University of Kansas, was funded in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. The results of the major study for this projected provided guidance to educators on effective models for implementing comprehensive early reading instruction to students with significant disabilities in general education classroom settings with general education peers participating in the lessons as “reading buddies.” In 2016 Dr. Hunt received San Francisco State University’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Professional Achievement.

Pamela LePage

Pamela LePage

Ph.D. Professor

Pamela LePage is a Professor Emerita of Special Education. She served as Mild to Moderate Program Coordinator and the Director of the Combined Credential Program with Elementary Education. While at SF State, she also helped found, and then serve as the Executive Director of Autism Social Connection, a socialization program for children with autism.  

Before coming to SF State, Dr. LePage worked as a faculty member at George Mason University in an interdisciplinary master’s program for practicing teachers. She also worked at Stanford University as the Director of the Committee on Teacher Education. Before working in higher education, Dr. LePage was a special education teacher for 11 years. 

With colleagues, Dr. LePage has written, cowritten, or coedited five books including, 1) Teaching Students with High Level Autism: Evidence From Families, 2) Transforming Teacher Education: Lessons in Professional Development, 3) Educational Controversies: Towards a discourse of reconciliation, 4) Preparing Teachers for A Changing World: What teachers should learn and be able to do, and 5) From Disadvantaged Girls to Successful Women: Education and Women’s Resiliency. She also wrote numerous articles as well as grants that funded programs like the Combined Credential Program and the Autism Specialization ProgramHer research focuses on women’s resiliency, teacher education, and autism.

Julia Marshall

Julia Marshall

E.d.D., Professor

Julia Marshall is professor Emeriti in Art Education.   She earned a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts at George Washington University and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture at University of Wisconsin.

She moved to the West Coast and earned a doctorate in Education at University of San Francisco.  She is the 2017 recipient of the National Art Education Association Lowenfeld Award, granted to those who have offered significant contributions to the field. Julia has written multiple articles for national publications and journals, Studies in Art Education, Art Education Journal and International Journal of Arts Education.  She has wrote chapters for multiple books on art education, and wrote a book with David Donahue, Art Centered Learning Across the Curriculum: Integrating Contemporary Art Into the Secondary School Classroom.

Dr. Jacob Perea

Jacob Perea

Ph.D., Professor

Jacob Perea served as Dean of the Graduate College of Education from 2000-2012, when he returned to teaching in the Department of Equity, Leadership and Instructional Technology. He retired and became Professor Emeriti in June, 2017.

Since beginning his teaching career at San Francisco State in 1975, Dr. Perea’s research, teaching and service to education has focused on social justice. In the surrounding community, Dr. Perea worked with school-age youth to encourage and to provide mentorship to enter college, developing the highly successful Step-to-College program 30 years ago. Step-to-College, located in San Francisco and San Mateo county high schools, continues to serve over 200 high school students annually who complete two college level courses at San Francisco State.

Until his retirement and beyond, Dr. Perea teaches undergraduate, credential, graduate-level, and high school courses. These classes are in the areas of cultural education, policy and implementation, bilingual education, policy and pedagogy, and general education.

His interests also include international education and he coordinated and worked with student teachers in a Chinese Language credential program as part of a collaboration with the Nanhai campus of South China Normal University, Guangzhou China. In addition, Dr. Perea is active in San Francisco Bay Area Latino and American Indian communities in the area of education and alcohol and drug abatement.

Phillip Prinz

Philip M. Prinz

Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Prinz is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Special Education in the Graduate College of Education (CGOE) at San Francisco State University (SFSU). He served on the faculty of the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education administered by SFSU and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Previously, Dr. Prinz was on the faculty in the Communication Disorders Program at The Pennsylvania State University and the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Colorado (Boulder and Denver campuses). He completed a B.A. in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); an M.S. in Journalism at Northwestern University; an M.S. in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences at Boston University; and a doctorate in Applied Psycholinguistics and Special Education at Boston University. Dr. Prinz holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech & Language from the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) and a License in Speech & Language from the State of California. He conducts communication/language and literacy assessments with children and adults and consults with school districts, clinical facilities and families. Dr. Prinz currently serves on the Board of the California Communications Access Foundation (CCAF) and Ability Central, a nonprofit organization specializing in improving access to communication for Deaf and people with disabilities.

Dr. Prinz has conducted research emphasizing atypical language and literacy acquisition in preschool and school-age children; language differences and disorders across spoken, written, and signed modalities; American Sign Language (ASL) acquisition and assessment; the relationship between ASL proficiency and English literacy development; and the differentiation between typical vs. atypical language abilities of English language learning (ELL) children (second language learners). He has received research grants from the U.S. Department of Education (Office of Special Education Programs) and was a recipient of Research Fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Fulbright Commission. Dr. Prinz received an Ed Roberts Senior Fellowship from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and the University of California, Berkeley.

Isabel Quita

Isabel Quita

Ph.D., Professor

An empowered teacher is a learner who is an inquisitive thinker and a reflective decision maker. One who learns and investigates the teaching-learning process. I view learning as a construction and teaching process. This process facilitates development.

As an advocate of a constructivist approach to a teacher's education, I believe in teaching that emphasizes learners to be actively involved in making sense of information and experiences—to reflect on their learning as well as to connect classroom experiences with real life situations.

Nancy Robinson

Nancy B. Robinson

Ph.D., Professor

Nancy B. Robinson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in the Graduate College of Education. With her colleagues, Drs. Gloria Soto and Patti Solomon-Rice, Dr. Robinson developed graduate specialization in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) that includes a graduate certificate for SLPs and related professionals in AAC. Through a series of federal grants funded by the USDOE/Office of Special Education Programs, most recently Project Building Bridges, Drs. Robinson, Soto and Solomon-Rice have prepared SLPs to provide AAC services with children and youth with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Over the course of her career, Dr. Robinson served as Interdisciplinary Training Director at the Center for Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii from 1988-1998 where she and a team of colleagues provided outreach to improve service systems for individuals with disabilities and their families in US Pacific Jurisdictions. During her time in the California State University system from 1998-2019, first at Chico State and then San Francisco State, she served as a faculty member and in several administrative roles including Interim Dean in the Graduate College of Education at SF State. Dr. Robinson the co-author of two books: Assistive Technology for Young Children: Creating Inclusive Environments with Dr. Kathleen Sadao and AAC in the Schools: Best Practices for Intervention with Dr. Gloria Soto. In 2013, she was recognized as a CSHA Fellow of the Association and in 2014, CSHA Honors of the Association

Dr. Sandra Rosen

Sandra Rosen

Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Sandra Rosen, Professor in Special Education, taught at SF State University for over 30 years. With degrees and professional experience in both physical therapy and several areas within the field of visual impairment, Dr. Rosen also coordinated programs in the areas of Orientation & Mobility (O&M), Visual Impairment, and Physical & Health Impairments at various points in her career. She also developed and coordinated special certificate and grant funded programs preparing professionals to be rehabilitation teachers of blind adults and guide dog mobility instructors.

Dr Rosen’s work is internationally recognized. In an invited collaboration, she established a university level program in Siberia, Russia to prepare O&M specialists. This was the first such university program in Europe. Dr. Rosen continues to provide ongoing consultation to support international efforts to prepare O&M specialists. In addition to internationally-cited and award-winning publications, Dr. Rosen is internationally respected for ground-breaking innovations in the professional preparation of O&M specialists. As examples, she developed the first (and only) computer-based interactive curriculum for the professional preparation of O&M specialists. Her latest contribution to the field of O&M is an online curriculum in teaching movement skills to blind travelers through proprioceptive facilitation. This approach is expected to significantly enhance how O&M instruction is provided to blind children and adults as it continues to become integrated into standard O&M practice.

While at SF State university, Dr. Rosen received 40 grant awards and contracts, totaling several million dollars. During her career, Dr. Rosen received six regional, national, and international awards for her work, including the Lawrence E. Blaha Award which is the most prestigious award available in the field of O&M. She also received the Distinguished Faculty Award in Service from San Francisco State University in 2022.

Wendy Scheffers

Wendy Scheffers

Faculty Lecturer, Orientation and Mobility

For over 40 years, Wendy Scheffers was a beloved instructor of graduate students in San Francisco State University’s Master’s and credential program in Orientation and Mobility (O&M). Herself a graduate of SFSU’s pioneering O&M and Teacher for the Visually Impaired programs and a nationally Certified O&M Specialist, Wendy helped launch hundreds of successful SFSU graduates on careers in schools and agencies across the United States and around the world. Beyond her work at SFSU, Wendy is a nationally recognized expert in orientation and mobility.


Pamela Wolfberg

Pamela Wolfberg

Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Wolfberg is a professor in the Department of Special Education serving as coordinator of the Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate (University-wide) and on faculty with the Mild Moderate Support Needs program and Joint Doctoral Program with the University of California, Berkeley. Her primary teaching responsibilities include graduate seminars focused on autism theory, research and practice; atypical child development; and ethnographic research methods. Her scholarship involves deep engagement with autistic people at the intersection of neurodiversity, peer socialization, play culture and the arts. As originator of the Integrated Play Groups (IPG) model and founder of the Autism Collective for Peer Socialization, Play and Imaginationshe has an active international agenda leading research, training and global outreach efforts to advance social inclusion and creative expression as fundamental human rights.