General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2008-09 > 2009-05-21: MC Professor Retiring after 32 years/Penny Walker

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 21, 2009 MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
Contact:           Chris Snyder, Media Assistant
T: 707-468-3098 or 707-489-5699, Fax: 707-467-1023
Mendocino College Professor Retiring after 32 years
                Ukiah, CA – After 32 years of serving in the Mendocino College Child Development Lab, Mendocino College Professor Penny Walker is retiring.  
Walker was hired in 1977 to develop the child development instruction program after teaching and working with child development at Hartnell and Monterey Peninsula College.  
“Penny was hired to start the Child Development program at Mendocino College back in the 70’s. Under her leadership, with her initiative and creativity, our CDV program is known throughout the region as “the place” to receive an excellent education in child development.  Penny was instrumental in the design and construction oversight of the Child Development Center on our Ukiah campus in the mid 1980’s,” Mendocino-Lake Community College District Superintendent / President Kathy Lehner said.
Mendocino College obtained board approval of a college child development lab and obtained state funding to start it in the fall of 1978.
Throughout her 32 years at Mendocino College, Walker has been instrumental in developing the child development lab. She was involved in the design of the new center when it was built in 1988.  
“So much has changed in early childhood – new assessments, new curriculum, new funding and yet the basis of teaching is still the ability to really see, to really listen to a child,” Walker said.
Walker organized the annual Children’s Fair in Ukiah for 20 years, as well as annual professional workshops for 100-150 participants.  Walker has also obtained ongoing grants for foster parent training, mentor teachers and fee reimbursements to students.
Walker served as president and board member of the professional organization for early childhood education and was appointed by the Mendocino County supervisors to the Child Care Planning Council (2004-2009).  She has also served on the Mendocino College Academic Senate and Curriculum Committee.
In the community, Walker has served on many community groups including the Council on Children and Youth, Head Start Policy Council, ROP and CARES advisory committees, along with serving on the boards of several preschools.  
Throughout her career, Walker has received recognition for her work in Child Development.  She served on a Chancellors Office Task Force on Child Development in 1980, was selected to attend Great Teachers Seminar (1987, 2000) and received the Faculty of Excellence (1999) and Superintendent’s Recognition(1997) awards.  
With all of Walker’s involvement with child development, one can’t even measure the impact she has had on the hundreds of students she has taught and advised.  According to Walker, the foundation of learning is the relationship between a teacher and a child.  It is a partnership that supports the child so that he or she is willing to try and be curious.
“I feel fortunate to have spent my career helping so many become this kind of teacher,” Walker said.   
   Walker, who is originally from Martinez, CA, obtained her B.Ed and M.Ed in education from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC in 1971 and 1975.  While pursuing her degrees, she taught in preschool and elementary school.  Her replacement, Conan McKay, will begin in August.
            For further information about the Mendocino College Child Development Center and Mendocino College, visit  

Created: May 22, 2009 @ 09:26 AM
Last Modified: May 22, 2009 @ 09:26 AM


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