Letter from P. Major
University of California, Davis
English Department
One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8686
530-752-2257 * Fax 530-752-5013
My Info:
Name: Links
Felicia Samson
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My Resume

I am delighted to recommend Felicia Samson for a leadership position in your district.  I have known Felicia for quite a few years now, and I cannot think of a person I would recommend more highly both for her experience as an inspirational, innovative teacher and as a respected leader of her peers.  My first knowledge of Felicia?s many abilities came from my involvement with various teacher/research groups through the Cooperative Research and Extension Services for Schools (CRESS center) here at UCD, including the History Project, Area3 Writing Project, Teacher Research Group, and Reading and Writing in the Content Areas (RWICA) program.  In summer and school-year workshops, Felicia?s commitment to developing her own pedagogical practices, while working collaboratively with other teachers, is exceptional.  In addition, her sense of humor and geniality make her a welcome member of any group.  She has also been a very persuasive advocate for effective teaching methods, whether as a member of the language arts and social sciences faculty back at Lee Jr. High in Woodland, her home school, or as a presenter in various teacher workshops around the area.  Felicia is someone to whom her peers listen and whose opinions/ideas they value.  Although I do not have first-hand experience of working as a colleague under her leadership, that she has been asked repeatedly to be the assistant principal at Lee, including responsibility for summer school, speaks to her experience and capabilities in the area of administration.  I certainly have heard many good things about her administrative work.

The other capacity in which I have come to know Felicia Samson well is as not only a teacher but also a mentor/trainer of new educators.  At UCDavis for the past three years, I have directed the Writing Ambassadors Program, housed in the English Department and University Writing Program.  Ours is an interdisciplinary, internship program for undergraduates who plan on K-12 teaching careers.  Our focus is training our Ambassadors to assist teachers in implementing reading- and writing-to-learn strategies across the content areas.  Felicia has been one of the most valued host teachers in the program.  Although the majority of our participating teachers get one Ambassador per quarter, I have often asked Felicia to work with more than one because I know how valuable that experience will be for them, whether in her social studies or English classes.  I always know that the interns with whom Felicia works will receive the best hands-on training and modeling in how an effective teacher can help students learn.  In her classes Ambassadors see in action many of the methods about which we have talked in our training classes, such as using reciprocal teaching and working with various learning styles.  Our interns also are encouraged to be active teachers themselves, whether working with the whole class on a project for which Felicia has asked them to be responsible or interacting with smaller groups and individual students needing extra help.  Felicia?s encouragement and willingness to give over the reins in a supportive atmosphere is ideal.  It is no surprise to me that the Ambassadors who work with Felicia overwhelming are the ones who are most excited about becoming teachers, most accomplished in what they take away from the experience, and most successful in credential programs and their future careers.

In this case, my experience of Felicia?s effectiveness with neophyte teachers and junior high students alike is direct in that I?ve observed her classes many times, both as director of the program and as part of my own research.  When she is teaching, I always learn something about technique and implementation.  When she is guiding Ambassadors as they teach, I know why they get so much out of working with her.  We even videotaped one of our interns conducting the class to be used as a teaching resource for our training.  But a more telling experience occurred when I happened to be in the room on the last day for one Ambassador.  Not only did Felicia thank the intern but also read the recommendation she had written for that Ambassador to the whole class.  What better way could there be both to make the future teacher feel even more positive about her chosen career and to demonstrate for 7th graders what recommendation letters are, how they help you get ahead in the ?real? world if you do a good job, and that continuing on in school to achieve a goal is a real possibility?  Felicia also has come to our Ambassador training sessions twice, as a volunteer, to participate in teacher panels talking about teaching and becoming a teacher.  My students often mention in their course evaluations how important those visits have been.

Because of her intelligence, generosity, skills with both her colleagues and students, and extensive experience, Felicia Samson receives my strongest recommendation.  Thank you for your consideration.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further help.

Dr. Pamela Major
Director, Writing Ambassadors Program
530 754-9817 or [email protected]
September 1, 2003
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