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John D. Welty Center for Educational Policy and Leadership

Leaders and Associates

Welty Center Leadership

Franks photoDr. Mabel Franks, Welty Center Director

Kremen School of Education and Human Development

Dr. Mabel Franks,  director of the Welty Center, has served 10 years as  Welty coordinator and associate,  EAD program  advisor, mentor and lecturer and EdD adjunct faculty  in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development in the Educational Leadership and Administration Master’s Program and Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. Dr. Franks works closely with Kremen faculty, Welty associates and district leaders to  expand and deepen partnerships  throughout Central CA, collaborating to build coherence,  leading and supporting Welty projects, including  resource development, mentorship, coaching, training, learning academies, conferences, networking, individualized support, district partnerships and post secondary academies.  Dr. Franks holds a MA in administration  and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of LaVerne. 

Dr. Franks' K-12 career spans a total of 35+ years as teacher and principal in the Clovis Unified School District, and Assistant Superintendent in Fresno Unified School District, the 4th largest district in California, supporting Middle Schools and Special Education.  Dr. Franks  has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, national business reports and regional news media for her innovative thinking and focus on leadership and student engagement and academic achievement and has received numerous awards  at the district, county and region levels.  

Dr. Franks' research on effective school reform underscores the need to unite the entire school community in a common cause, a quality education for  our children- all our children.  Dr. Franks' areas of expertise include organizational leadership; systems thinking; school reform and change; building coherence; organizational development; people dynamics, interpersonal skills and conflict management; student meaningful engagement; data teams and  collaborative problem solving and decision making. 


photo of borisDr. Virginia Boris, Welty Center Associate

Virginia “Ginny” Boris serves as coordinator of  Welty Center projects, having recently retired as  the Director of the Welty Center and  lecturer with the Master’s and Doctoral level in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.  Committed to making the University experience relevant, Dr. Boris enhanced the University’s Central Valley footprint through course-based fieldwork, interagency partnerships, and Welty Center programs and events.   Boris Elementary School, serves as a lasting tribute to Dr. Boris and her 38-year commitment to  Clovis Unified School District as teacher, high school administrator, middle school principal, area superintendent and 15 years as Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.  

The focus of Dr. Boris' outreach and research is supporting schools and school districts in building their capacity to promote collaborative teacher efficacy, systems coherence, professional learning environments, and capacity to achieve high outcomes for all students.  Dr. Boris has conducted extensive studies on curriculum alignment having focused her doctoral work on the subject.  Working closely with district and school leaders, Dr. Boris designs and delivers customized workshops to support and expand their leadership capacity.

marc photoMarc Johnson, Welty Center Associate and Educational Consultant

Marc Johnson retired in June 2013, after a 37-year career in public education as a teacher and administrator.  He has served a co-director and coordinator of the Welty Center at California State University Fresno after retiring as the Superintendent of the Sanger Unified School District, where he had served for 14 years. Sanger Unified students include high minority, high poverty, and high English Language Learner populations. In 2004 the district was one of 98 school districts in California to be named a Program Improvement (PI) District due to low performance of English Learners.  Two years later the District was one of the first to exit PI status due to the continued improvement in student achievement in all groups, but in particular with EL Learners.  In 2011, Mr. Johnson was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.

Marc Johnson mentors superintendents, advises state and national educational leaders and presents workshops across the nation on building collaborative cultures and growing effective Professional Learning Communities.  

photo of nancy akhavanDr. Nancy Akhavan, Assistant Professor and Educational Consultant

Department of Educational Leadership
Kremen School of Education and Human Development

Nancy Akhavan is a former teacher, staff developer,  principal, and assistant superintendent, currently serving as Assistant Professor and faulty member at California State University, Fresno.  She has taught a variety of courses including doctoral courses on Educational Leadership. She also provides instructional coaching and leadership coaching to schools and teachers across the country.

In addition to her professor related duties at Fresno State, Dr. Akhavan also serves as the chair of Phonics special interest group of IRA, and editor of the CLEAR Voz journal, presenter for the Welty Center, and advisory board member for the Bonner Center for Character Education.  Areas of expertise include:

  • Literacy, reading and writing instruction
  • Content-based reading instruction
  • Standards-based instruction
  • English language learners
  • Educational reform
  • School and district leadership—in both urban and rural setting

BakerRosalie Baker, Educational Consultant

Rosalie Baker worked in K-12 education for over 30 years, serving as a teacher, principal, and district administrator.  As the Assistant Superintendent for the Clovis East Area in Clovis Unified School District she was a key leader in the first internal coherence seminar series called Building Coherence for Instructional Improvement (BCII).  Currently, Rosalie works as both a presenter and facilitator in the Welty Center's internal coherence efforts across the Central Valley.



Gary GiannoniGary Giannoni, Educational Consultant

Gary Giannoni has worked in schools for 40+ years.  He retired in June, 2008 after 32 years in the Clovis Unified School District, twenty-five years as an administrator.  While working as a leader in Clovis, he served in many roles; an elementary principal for four years, intermediate school principal for two years, and high school principal for seven years.  He spent the last seven years at the district level as the Director of Secondary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, and Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services.  

Since retirement from CUSD, he has been a Project Lead for eight years with Pivot Learning Partners, serving as an Executive Coach at the district level, as a curriculum and leadership skills coach for site principals/vice principals, and professional development presenter/facilitator for rural school districts with high poverty, high second language and highly diverse student populations.  He has also consulted with CVELI and the Welty Center in districts throughout the Central Valley and Sacramento Area.  His experience includes:

  • Cognitive Coaching
  • Instructional Rounds
  • PLC protocols
  • System-based leadership w/ focus on Continuous Improvement
  • Data Teams protocols
  • Building Coherence through Instructional Improvement

photo of linda hauserDr. Linda Hauser, Faculty and Welty Center Associate

Department of Educational Leadership
Kremen School of Education and Human Development

Linda Hauser has been in education for over 40 years,  serving as a Professor at California State University Fresno, Educational Leadership Department,  in the Educational Leadership and Administration Master’s Program and Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. She served over 28 years in K-12 public education as the Chief Academic Officer for Fresno Unified School District, and as Area Superintendent, Administrator for Professional Development (K-12), elementary school principal, secondary learning director, resource teacher and teacher in Clovis Unified School District. She received her BA in Communicative Disorders (deaf education emphasis) and teaching credential from Fresno State, her MA in Administration and Reading Specialist Certification from Fresno Pacific University and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of LaVerne. 

Dr. Hauser has been recognized as a Fresno County Administrator the Year. Under her leadership as principal, her elementary school was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. She has done extensive work in schools and districts in organizational development and facilitation and has led the development of numerous programs and projects. She has been a conference presenter at AERA, National Staff Development Council (NSDC) conferences, ACSA Leadership Academy presenter and consults with schools and districts throughout the state. She was an award recipient from NCSD for a model professional development program: Project BEST (Beginning Educator’s Support in Teaching). Dr. Hauser serves as a dissertation advisor for doctoral students and research in her areas of expertise that include:

  • Organizational Development
  • Executive and Cognitive Coaching
  • Instructional Rounds
  • Performance Excellence Criteria/Developing High Performing Systems
  • Alignment of the Instructional System
  • Project Management
  • PDSA - Cycle of Inquiry - Model for Continuous Improvement
  • Data management practices and program/system evaluation

M NogaMary Noga, Educational Consultant

Mary Noga is an educational consultant who is dedicated to building the capacity of teachers and site-level professional learning communities.  Through job-embedded experiences with K-12 teachers and administrators she guides the process of systems thinking based on the local vision and research-based decision-making to affect the work on the instructional core. Mary has extensive experience with Central Valley school districts presenting workshops plus facilitating instruction and curriculum development based on supporting the California Dept. of Education Math Framework.  At the forefront of her work is ensuring that students learn and maintaining a culture of collaboration.  Mary's educational career prior to retirement encompassed 31 years in Clovis Unified School District.  Her teaching experience included seven years in primary grades, nine years in middle school, and fifteen years at the high school level.  Her areas of expertise include:

  • Professional Development
  • Educational Planning
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Effective PLC's
  • K-12 Mathematics

photo of steve weilSteve Weil, Educational Consultant

Steve Weil retired from Clovis Unified School District after 34 years in public education. He has served as a secondary history and business teacher, high school counselor, middle school learning director, high school deputy principal and principal. He retired with 14 years experience as an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Since retiring in 2007, Steve has worked as a leadership coach and project lead with Pivot Learning Partners. He has also worked with Welty  on a number of leadership projects with the Rural Network and Middle Leaders programs. His areas of expertise include:

  • Executive Leadership coaching for Superintendents and principals.
  • Strategic Planning and project management.
  • Professional Development
  • Alternative Education expertise