Denette Zaninovich

Assistant Professor Education
Student Teacher Placement Director
University Mentor for the Multiple Subject Program
BAH 120


M.A., English Language Development, Fresno Pacific University
Reading Resource Specialist Certificate, Fresno Pacific University
B.A., Fresno Pacific University

Share why you teach at FPU

I am committed to the powerful profession of teaching which shapes, directs and impacts many lives. When I left Fresno Pacific in 2005 to follow my calling to teach the female offenders in the California state prison system, I saw how my students struggled and frequently failed to meet their academic requirements. I saw first-hand how their failures in elementary and high school had contributed to the causes for their incarcenations. I thought often about how I wished that I could have helped them sooner in their lives. These women's stories had a great impact on my view of the importance of preparing good teachers who can be effective in working with all students. I have a new appreciation and sense of urgency which drives my desire to return to a role where I can positively impact the preparation of new teachers. I have seen what the lack of educational success does up-close; I have heard prisoners tell me that if they had been assigned to better teachers who had acquired expertise in curriculum planning when they were preparing to become teachers, they might have found an advocate who could have been able to help them make better choices in life.

Scholarly Interests

I have great interest in all areas of teacher education, second language acquisition, and in the supervision of beginning teachers. At this time research of great interest to me is in the areas of supervision, mentoring, and in forming partnership schools. I also desire to unitize technology and pilot technology tools in the mentoring field. I desire to use technology that brings instant feedback and communication to all stakeholders.

Professional and Service Experience

During the past 20 years of my professional teaching experiences, I have gone from the border of Mexico working with second language learners to our California state prison system working with hardened criminals. It's been quite a journey going from early literacy to incarcerated adults. I have worked in the following arenas in education:

  • Testing coordinator/teacher - California Women's Facility
  • University mentor/placements - Fresno Pacific University
  • Classroom teacher - Roosevelt Elementary, Dinuba
  • Substitute teacher - Kings Canyon Unified, Fresno / Nogales Unified, Arizona

Personal Experiences

In my most recent profession I worked at the Board of Parole in Sacramento. This experience rounded out my experience in working with inmates. I was able to see from the intake to the departure of the incarceration process. These combined experiences of working in prison and working at the Board of Parole brings me to my passion of early literacy in ways never experienced before. So, I return to FPU excited to share how my mission and vision to calling and redemptive service has grown.

My past in the profession has been experiencing this demanding call to teach, and I have learned that without faith, love and a community, teaching can be draining. These are my experiences and truths as having been a teacher in public, private and prison schools, as a coordinator and as a university mentor. These are the experiences and challenges that our student teachers will also have. Through my walk I am blessed with having experienced all these things first-hand. I can help our FPU students find their calling, understand their challenging profession while pushing them towards excellence in their educational goals. As a faculty member in this community, I look forward to sharing and supporting their walk and faith so that they can beome empowered Christian educators who are leaving FPU as strong, motivated, secure and fulfilled teachers. They will impart FPU full of passion, care and committed devotion to this calling in the teaching profssion. Through faith they will succeed and everyone will see their redeeming qualities as professionals as I did in my walk these past 20 years.