Smith, Lonna

Smith, Lonna

Date Updated



Secondary Education, Linguistics and Language Development

Academic Rank

Lecturer B

Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

Carnegie Mellon University, 1969, BFA Music

University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, 1970, Ohio Teacher Credential

San Jose State University, 1983, MA, Education

Teaching Experience

Northwest Local School District, Cincinnati, OH, 1970-1976

The Summit Country Day School, Cincinnati, OH, 1976-1977

St. Martin of Tours Elementary School, 1977-1981

Morgan Hill Unified School District, 1981-1984

West Valley College, 1985-1989

San Jose State University, 1989-2004

Administrative and Professional Experience

Meeting and event planner

Selected Publications

“Give Her a Chance,” in English Learners in Higher Education

“Faces in the Crowd: Stories of Developmental Education Students,” in The Many Faces of Developmental Education

“Creating an Integrated Language Development Program,” in Journal of College Reading and Learning

Read, Write, React: An Integrated Approach to Reading and Writing, with Robert J. Ramonda, McGraw-Hill Co., Inc., 1997

Personal Commentary

On a warm day in the late summer of 1980, I found myself on the SJSU campus with a mission – to talk the “powers that be” into giving me a teaching credential without requiring me to take any classes. I figured that, since I had taught music in elementary and secondary schools in Ohio, there was no reason for me to go back to school to learn to do what I already knew. But the State of California and the Department of Secondary Education had other ideas. I needed ten units of course work, and no amount of arguing would change that. Determined to get the biggest bang for my bucks, I decided to earn those ten units by taking classes toward an elementary classroom credential. Then I could get two credentials for the price – and effort – of one.

When I got to the head of the registration line, panic set in. It had been eleven years since I had been a student, and I wasn’t certain I still had what it took. And with no intention of teaching anything other than music, I was not looking forward to classes in reading, math and science methods. In fact, I felt so out of place, I almost chickened out.

After registering, I walked over to the Student Union to get some lunch. As I passed the Music Building, a feeling of peace came over me and some words rang in my mind, “Don’t ever leave.”

I never did. My dreaded classes turned out to be exhilarating, and I felt a special affinity for reading and language arts. After earning my two credentials, I decided to continue on to an M.A. in Education with a focus in Reading. Although I spent a few years teaching in the elementary schools and at several community colleges, I continued to be active on campus. Finally, in January 1989, I started teaching at SJSU.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the SJSU faculty for 15 wonderful years. I was especially fortunate because I worked with two very different populations of students. In the Departments of Special Education and Linguistics and Language Development, I taught underprepared freshmen, many of whom were struggling with the acquisition of academic English. And, in the Department of Secondary Education, I helped prepare post-baccalaureate students for a teaching career.

As a proud member of the emeritus faculty, I continue to enjoy my association with SJSU as an active member of the EFA and a fledgling group of emeritus faculty from the College of Education. Those words, “Don’t ever leave,” will never be forgotten, and that’s just fine with me.


Smith, Lonna