Ed.D. in Educational Administration & Leadership, 2006
School of Education
June 1, 2015
Alumnus Combines K-20 Teaching, Mentorship, and Research
David Hernandez, PhD, EdD, has a passion for teaching his kindergarten students. He has been asked on more than one occasion to move back into an administrator’s role, but he has strongly resisted such a move.
“My kinder kids make me laugh every day, and rarely a day goes by without students telling me they love me or that I’m the best teacher they ever had . . . I guess those are pretty easy shoes to fill since I’m probably the first and only teacher some of these students have had,” he quipped.
Besides being a kindergarten teacher at Newport Heights Elementary School in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD), Dr. Hernandez serves as the Lead BTSA Mentor for the district. This role involves facilitating the induction of all new teachers in their first two years of professional practice, which was 58 new teachers for school year 2014-15.
After finishing his teaching and mentoring duties in a K-12 setting, Dr. Hernandez changes grade levels and, as Contributing Faculty for Walden University, supervises EdD students completing their doctoral dissertations. Dr. Hernandez finds that working with higher education students as they finish their terminal degree can be both challenging and rewarding. Teaching students how to conduct research using the scientific method and helping them find their scholarly voice can be his challenges. His reward is the potential for a much broader impact on the education of children across the U.S. through his graduate students. Dr. Hernandez is also a summer Lecturer in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program at UCI. He teaches ED 205, Critical Assessment of Teaching Practice and Learning, and has done so since the Summer of 2009. In this capstone course, students complete an action research proposal, which they can implement once they begin their professional practice in the classroom.
In 2014, Dr. Hernandez returned to the classroom as a student, completing coursework in California Southern University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology program. He has observed that frequently young children arrive in kindergarten with issues which prevent them from being successful in a classroom environment. These issues can arise from many sources (e.g., effects of poverty, neglect, dysfunctional family environment, diagnosed disability that does not qualify for placement in a special education classroom, etc.). Dr. Hernandez sees a real need for providing practical support to these youngsters who struggle in a general education classroom. After completing his training in clinical psychology, his goal is to finish his career in public education as an elementary school psychologist.
Finally, running a close second to his passion for teaching kindergarten is his enthusiasm for conducting his own research and publishing his findings. His current research efforts focus on weight management integration (the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors related to the management of one’s weight) of normal and obese weight adults. Phase 1 of this grant-funded research project was the initial development and pilot testing of the Body Knowledge Questionnaire (BKQ). Phase 2, the development and validation of the BKQ is currently ongoing (Walden IRB Approval #03-03-14-0437626). Dr. Hernandez invites those who want to know more about this exciting new research and those who also might wish to be a participant to click on the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7GHQZK5
Dr. Hernandez and his co-researcher presented the results of Phase 1 in a “highlighted” poster presentation at the 17thAnnual CDA/CSEM Professional Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in October 2014, and there is an article forthcoming in the June 2015 issue of The Diabetes Educator (online version is already released and available at http://tde.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/0145721715579107v1.pdf?ijkey=fWGyhEzqEjGkTgB&keytype=finite). This will be his third publication in calendar year 2015, and one of the articles was co-written with his CSU/UCI EdD program Cohort II colleague Theresa Grasparil. The citations for the three articles are:
Baltes, B., Hernandez, D., & Collins, C. (2015). Increasing cultural awareness through a cultural awareness program. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 5(1), 1-20. doi:10.5590/JERAP.2015.05.1.01
It can be downloaded free of charge at http://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/jerap/vol5/iss1/1/
Grasparil, T. A., & Hernandez, D. A. (2015). Predictors of Latino English learners’ reading comprehension proficiency. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 5(1), 35-57. doi:10.5590/JERAP.2015.05.1.03
It can be download free of charge at http://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/jerap/vol5/iss1/3/
Hernandez, D. A., & Hernandez, C. A. (in press). Weighing in on the Body Knowledge Questionnaire: Initial development and pilot testing. The Diabetes Educator, 40(3). doi:10.1177/0145721715579107