Meet the Faculty
Leslie Baxter-Tager (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Penelope Blair (Adjunct Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Penny Blair is the WestEd Program for Infant Toddler Care, Partners for Quality Infant Toddler Specialist & Training Coordinator (PITC PQ) for Region IV, which includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. As the Infant/Toddler Specialist Coordinator for the Program for Infant Toddler Care Region IV, she covers three counties in the South Bay Area: Alameda, San Mateo and San Francisco. She provides outreach into these counties to meet the needs of Infant Toddler Caregivers in training in the PITC six Essential Policies which go toward raising quality care for very young children in Group Care outside their families. Ms. Blair also teaches in the Community College system at De Anza College, and supports the PITC Demonstration site at Chabot College. Previously to training with PITC PQ she worked in the area of Parent Education through the local school districts in San Mateo. Her experience also includes directing in School Age, Infant Toddler and Preschool Programs in the Bay Area. She has a certification in Psychiatric Social Work from the UK and specialized in work with families and their adolescent children before coming to the States from UK in 1975. She received an MA in early childhood education from San Francisco State University.
Patty Hall (Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Patty received her BS in Sociology from The University of Connecticut and began her career working with families as an Advocate in the Fair Housing Department in Hartford Connecticut. When she relocated to Northern California she found her true passion was working with young children and their families in child care and early education. As a site director, she has been instrumental in creating innovative programs for children aged 3 months to 13 years of age. She was a founding Director at Palcare, Inc. in Burlingame, a nationally recognized day and nighttime program affiliated with San Francisco International Airport. After completing her M.P.A. at The College of Notre Dame, in Belmont, CA in 1998, she joined Cañada College to start-up the Child Development Center. She currently teaches a variety of courses in the ECE/CD program as well as holding faculty leadership roles at the College, in the District and across the State. She completed her doctoral studies in 2008 by successfully defending her dissertation entitled: Personal Weblogs in the Early Childhood Practicum Experience: Asynchronous Group Experience as a Tool for Developing Reflective Teaching Characteristics.
Nirmala (Sheila) Dillman (Adjunct Faculty)Business, Education and Professional Programs - ECE
Maureen Harrigan (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Sharon Keplinger (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Sharon has been an adjunct professor in the ECE/CD department at Cañada College since 1987. She has a BA in Child Development from California State University, Chico and a MA in Education from Stanford University. She has worked as a Teacher, Assistant Director, and Director in ECE programs since 1976 in the Bay Area. She worked for the Child Care Coordinating Council for 10 years in a variety of positions. For the past 15 years, she has been a Program Coordinator for the Palo Alto Unified School District. Her responsibilities include the preschool program, Young Fives and Parent Education programs.
Lisa Kiesselbach (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Jan Lawrence (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Jan earned her a Montessori Credential at Notre Dame University after earning a B.A. in Romance Linguistics at SFSU. She did additional graduate work with Dr. Rodgers of Vancouver University College researching second language acquisition utilizing the Montessori Method. She is currently the Director of the Early Learning Center at NDNU. She was invited to join the faculty of Cañada Community College in 1998 and continues serving as adjunct professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education/Child Development and teaches the courses in both English and Spanish. Her background in linguistics and experience with Italian bilingual education inspired the development of a methodology for second language acquisition through the arts and cooking with a strong emphasis on language as culture bound. This method has been used to teach both adults and children French, Spanish, and Italian. In 2000, she founded a Spanish language and culture community service project in Nayarit, Mexico called the Escuela de Juanita. In the Spring of 2008, she received a grant from the Trustee’s Fund of the San Mateo Community College District for a digital media project on the Montessori Early Childhood Model in its cultural context to contribute to its library system as a resource for instructors.
Deborah Proett Lukas (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Debbie is an Early Childhood Education/Child Development instructor at Cañada College in Redwood City, teaching family support and development classes. She is a founding member of the Family Support Advisory Committee that developed the curriculum for the Family Support Specialization based on an interdisciplinary approach of child development and family life studies. Her background is in child and family development as an early childhood caregiver and parent educator for 20 years with a master’s degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. She works with the Parent Services Project (PSP), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating family support into early childhood programs through training, technical assistance, and education. Debbie joined the PSP Inc. staff after serving as the Family Support Project Manager at the Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County.
Elisa Magidoff (Instructor)Business, Education and Professional Programs - ECE
Julia Mannheimer (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Julia joined the faculty of Cañada College in 1989 and has over 30 years of experience as an Early Childhood Specialist. Classes taught include: Child Development; Infant Development; Administration in ECE/Business and Legal; Anti-Bias Curriculum; The Teaching Experience; Communicating with Parents; and PreKindergarten Learning and Development Guidelines. She worked as a Teacher, Assistant Director and Director in ECE programs serving infants through school-age children and their families. She was the Executive Director of GeoKids, the parent co-op child care facility at the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park. Julia has worked as a consultant to ECE programs while employed by The Children’s Health Council in the Outreach to Child Care Program. She lives in Danville with her husband and son and continues to work as a parent educator and consultant.
Pauahi McGinn (Instructor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Mauricio Palma (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Mauricio is the director of the Early Learning and Education Initiatives at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. His career was launched from the Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County where he led the creation of the Spanish Speaking Family Child Care Providers Association and the organization of family support networks in the region. In the course of his professional trek, he has worked hand-in-hand with parents, teachers, directors, principals, superintendents, service providers and faith leaders interested in family support and civic engagement practices. In addition to his community work, Mauricio has taught at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University, and has been teaching early childhood education for the San Mateo County Community College District since 1991.
Mary Anne Patterson (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Maryanne received her Master’s degree from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena and has been teaching courses at Skyline and Cañada Colleges since 2002. Maryanne has been at the state level administering a state preschool program, center director for military child care centers, and director for city government child care programs and administering state preschool for a countywide program. She has been a presenter at local, state and national conference workshops on subjects related to child development, family support, and early school readiness. Maryanne is also a Professional Growth Advisor to many early childhood professionals. She is a board member to an early childhood program in San Mateo County.
Paul Proett (Assistant Professor)Business, Design and Workforce - Early Childhood Education
Paul has been an adjunct instructor since 2002, teaching courses at Cañada and Skyline Colleges. Paul also taught at Cañada, Skyline and Chabot Colleges in the previous years of 1985-87.Paul spent 20 years in various teaching and administrative roles in Early Childhood Education. He worked in advocacy and local resource and referral agencies as well as taught and directed in a variety of early childhood settings. Paul founded two child care centers- one for Apple Computer and a center called Palcare in San Mateo County. Paul also spent 15 years as a Human Resource professional in technology corporations, advising, consulting and training professionals. Paul holds a Bachelors (BS) Degree and partial completion of a Masters (M.Ed.) degree from University of California at Davis.
Karen Wiggins-Dowler (Assistant Professor)Student Services - Child Development
Karen Wiggins-Dowler is a Master Teacher at the Mary Meta Lazarus Child Development Center at College of San Mateo and a CA State Mentor Teacher. Kären teaches the Practicum class at Skyline college during summer session. She has a degree in Anthropology, training in Elementary Education from California State University, East Bay and has done post-baccalaureate studies at San Francisco State University. She has an avid interest in observation and assessment and in documenting children’s growth and development.
Val has been the ECE/CD Program Coordinator at Cañada College for four years and has taught in the ECE/Child Development Department at Cañada College for 28 years. She has a BA in Child Development from California State University, Chico and a MA in Early Childhood Education from Stanford University. She has been a strong advocate for early childhood professionals in the San Mateo County community for over 30 years, primarily through her work at the College as well as The Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County where she worked for 23 years. She has been a presenter at local, statewide and national workshops and conferences on subjects related to child development and family support. She has a special interest in middle childhood, diversity in ECE, human resource administration and family support programs. Her community activities and memberships include: Member of San Mateo County School Readiness Task Force, SaMCares Advisory committee member, Mentor selection committee member and membership in NAEYC. She also serves as a Professional Growth Advisor for the Child Development Permit.