Biola’s Education Leaders Attend Distinguished Conference

Alum and faculty attend Emerging Leaders Institute

Dec. 23, 2008 By Jenna Bartlo

(L-R) Janet Brazeal, Kathy Granados, Manuel Mendoza, Trinika Barnett, Adam Thropay,
Dr. Glen Thomas, Jacque Roberts, Scott Richmond, Dr. June Hetzel, Charlotte Evensen, Lisa Boulanger, Shelley Espinosa.

Biola University’s School of Education alumni and faculty descended upon the California State Capitol on November 6, 2008 for Biola University’s sixth annual Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI). June Hetzel, dean of Biola’s school of education, selected this year’s ten attendees based on their leadership potential as educators in California’s public and private schools.

Glen Thomas, a Biola graduate who recently retired from his position as executive director of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, facilitated the one-day event. Thomas, who had been good friends and attended Biola with Clyde Cook, Biola University president-emeritus, developed ELI with Hetzel seven years ago. The conference is solely for Biola alum and faculty and serves to further leadership in educators at Biola or who have attended Biola.

“Clyde told me that Glen was getting near retirement and wanted to serve his alma mater and continue to make a difference for Christ,” said Hetzel. “I sent Glen several creative ideas of ways he could get involved with Biola and he jumped at the idea of developing an Emerging Leaders Institute in Sacramento, where he had served in education so faithfully for decades.”

The day included several meetings and discussions as well as an overview of the educational system, how decisions are made and the California Department of Education. Additionally, they joined Biola alumna, Jacque Roberts, the Assistant Legislative Affairs Secretary in the office of Governor Schwarzenegger, for an open forum and a tour of the governor’s outer office.

“The day is incredible and I actually had one participant, Trinika Barnett, tell me that she learned more in one day than in an entire class,” said Hetzel.

During their time in Sacramento, Biola educators had the opportunity to discuss current issues and initiatives in the educational community with legislators, including Vincent Stewart, Assistant Secretary for Higher Education, and Patricia Rucker, a legislative team member of the California Teachers Association.  The alumni also had the privilege to meet with Keric Ashley, Director of the Data Management Division in the California Department of Education, who shared insights into accountability and assessment procedures for California schools and educators, as well as a thorough overview of the state’s role in educational legislation and reform.

Alumni who attended the event expressed an increased appreciation for the field of education and for those who strive to better the quality of education for California’s students through legislative action.

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at

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