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Our newest "First 40" Member is Brandman University!

Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. As part of the Chapman University System, Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with innovative curriculum and strong support services designed for students with busy schedules. The university offers 50+ undergraduate, graduate, credential and certificate programs across its five schools in areas of arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and health. Brandman serves an average of 12,000 students annually with programs available online and at over 25 campuses throughout California and Washington. The university’s online programs consistently rank among the top in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

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Dr. Polk is a former National Board Certified Teacher (Early Childhood/Generalist) who frequently consults for West Ed as they create and implement CDE’s professional development materials related to dual language learners. She previously served as an Early Childhood Education Consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). In this position, she provided guidance and technical assistance to a number of major projects and programs, including the First 5LA Universal Prekindergarten Research Advisory Committee.

Most recently, Dr. Polk was assigned to the California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN)—Region 11 as the Early Childhood Education/Dual Language Learner Lead. In this capacity, she designed, developed, and delivered professional development for preschool teachers and administrators.

Before joining CPIN, Dr. Polk provided direction and guidance to the First 5LA funded Family Literacy Support Network (FLSN). In this role, she employed her expertise in early childhood education, emergent literacy, and assessment to assist Los Angeles County ECE providers in using child outcome data to individualize instruction and for program improvement.

Dr. Polk has supported and significantly contributed to a number of efforts to identify and support the needs of young Dual Language Learners (DLL). Most recently, she co-coordinated the panel presentation Principles and Practices from Multiple Perspectives a Panel Presentation focused on Promoting Language, Literacy and Learning for Preschool English Learners. Dr. Polk has delivered training based on the resource guide Preschool English Learners: Principles and Practices to Promote Language, Literacy, Learning (California Department of Education, 2007) to hundreds of early childhood educators. In addition, through the Division for School Improvement at LACOE, she designed, developed and delivered a four-day module based on this document.

In 2004, Dr. Polk coordinated the California Department of Education (CDE) Even Start Office ECE/ DLL Round Table discussion that included researchers and practitioners. This work resulted in the compilation of early childhood educators’ frequently asked questions regarding the most effective practice for school readiness and young DLLs. To culminate this work, Dr. Polk authored a discussion paper highlighting considerations for meeting the needs of young DLLs in program development and implementations. In addition, Dr. Polk participated in an eight county collaborative efforts to review the research and best practices for meeting the needs of preschool age DLLs. The collaborative developed six research-based guiding principles to respond to questions from the field.


Question: What does Creativity mean to you?

Answer: Creativity is the desire, will or act of thinking in an unexpected or innovative way.

Question: What inspired you to become a First 40 member?

Answer: As an educator of educators and a parent, I was inspired by the CCL's mission. The mission aligns with Brandman's, and we are delighted to support opportunities for all children and teachers to engage in creative activities.

Question: Who is your "Creative Hero"?

Answer: I have two creative heroes. My Dean Dr. Christine Zeppos consistently inspires the School of Education to be solution-orientated. This promotes creativity and innovation in our work. At home, my son Max is my creative hero; whether he is studying for a test or tinkering in the garage, he consistently looks at the world in new ways and generates new ideas, and he shares these ideas with self-confidence and passion.

The Child Creativity Lab recently kicked off its “First 40” Member Campaign, which is designed to reach a goal of $40,000 through the generous gift of $1,000 from 40 individuals, organizations, and businesses.

Members of this exclusive group are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set themselves apart from others through this important designation. In addition, once the museum is open, a unique “First 40” donor recognition piece will be highlighted to celebrate, in a tangible way, their active role in the enrichment of children, dedication to the community, and generous support of the Child Creativity Lab.

To learn more about the "First 40" Campaign, please click HERE.