Alum of Sac State’s College of Continuing Education Named Teacher of the Year

Donja Harding

Congratulations are in order to Donja Harding, who was named the 2023 Natomas Unified School District Teacher of the Year. Harding is a proud alum of the Community College Faculty Preparation program, offered by Sac State’s College of Continuing Education (CCE).

Donja Harding is a compassionate and devoted educator who is dedicated to effectuating positive change in the field of education. With a keen focus on student development and a knack for creating engaging and innovative curricula, she consistently works to meet the needs of diverse student populations.

“Being named Teacher of the Year for Natomas Unified School District is such an honor,” Harding says. “Our district is one of the most diverse in the country and our teachers work hard to ensure the academic and social success of all our students. As the representative for such an elite group of educators, I feel proud and inspired to keep educating and preparing our students to effectuate positive change.”

Donja’s teaching experience includes a variety of educational settings and grade levels. She has taught a wide range of subjects, such as middle and high school history and English, geometry, AVID, and public speaking at MTI College.

Donja’s professional journey did not begin in education. She has garnered valuable experience in legal research, content creation, and marketing, having worked in several law firms and major corporations such as Hewlett-Packard and Nintendo. This diverse background and her personal experiences growing up in Oak Park have equipped her with a broad skill set and a unique perspective, which she uses to inspire and engage her students.

About the program she graduated from at CCE, Harding says, “This year, I earned my Community College Faculty Preparation Certificate through the College of Continuing Education. The program provided the coursework, support, and classroom experience I needed to prepare me for instructing college students. Although I have two master’s degrees, the certification is a clear indicator of my ability to teach a college course.”

“Our program is a great opportunity for individuals who want to instruct at the community college level but may not currently have the experience of teaching adult learners,” says Tiffany Trotter Vrattos, the senior program management specialist. “This program will not only set you apart with the knowledge you will gain in our classes, but it also gives you hands on experience actually working side by side with a community college faculty mentor. And the best part is that the coursework is specifically designed in an online experience for the busy professional.” 

Donja is currently co-writing the Ethnic Studies curriculum, demonstrating her commitment to education beyond her campus. In addition, she is a member of the DEI Early Adopters, DEI Change Management, and Supplemental Materials teams, where she has contributed her input, insights, and expertise to drive positive change and promote inclusive practices.

As for her future plans, Harding says, “In the fall, I will continue working to develop the Ethnic Studies curriculum and DEI strategies for our district while collaborating with my colleagues at Leroy Greene Academy to meet the needs of student body. In addition, I also plan to teach Communications courses at the community college level.”

Donja’s academic background includes a Master of Education from the University of San Diego, a Master of Arts in Communications from Pepperdine University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Philosophy from Sac State. She holds a multiple subjects credential and authorizations in English, social science, and mathematics. She is currently completing certifications in Ethnic Studies and Social Justice.

“CCE expresses its heartfelt congratulations to Donja Harding as the Natomas Unified School District Teacher of the Year,” says Dr. Pamela Wimbush, dean of the College of Continuing Education. “This is an amazing accomplishment. We are fortunate to have an esteemed educator, such as Donja, as a part of the CCE community to advance DEI in her school district and beyond.”