NAU–Yuma 2019 Full-Time Teacher of the Year
Dr. L. Ruth Whisler, NAU-Yuma Assistant Clinical Professor, Arts & Sciences Department
Ruth Whisler earned an Associate in Arts degree from College of DuPage in Glenn Ellyn, Illinois and a BSW and MSW from George Williams College of Social Work, Aurora University, Aurora, Illinois. She earned her Ph.D. in Leadership in Higher Education from Capella University and her dissertation research was focused on Female Leadership in Hispanic Serving Institutions. For the past three years she has served as Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work and the Director of Social Work Field Education for Northern Arizona University’s Yuma Branch Campus. She has also worked as part-time faculty for Arizona Western College. The first in her family to earn a college degree, she worked for private, government and non-profit agencies as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. While working in a Trauma Level I hospital in the Chicago area, she started programs for family assistance, began groups for men recently released from prison who were living with HIV-AIDS, and provided in-home mental health care. She served as the Director of Community College Programs and University Internship Programs for a global non-profit organization where she traveled and worked internationally with students, schools and consulate officials to bring students to the United States for successful study. She served both NAU and AWC as part time faculty since 2004. She has also worked at Arizona Western College as the Coordinator of International Student Programs, Executive Director of the Arizona Western College Foundation, and Chief Human Resources Officer. In addition, she has served as a member of the Executive Board of Eurocentres Language School, San Diego.
NAU-Yuma 2019 Part-Time Teacher of the Year
Mrs. Judith M. Watkinson, NAU-Yuma Adjunct Professor, Education Department
Mrs. Watkinson grew up in the United Kingdom. She obtained her Teaching Degree in Nursery/Infant Education from London University in 1978, and her Master’s Degree in Early Education from NAU-Yuma in 1998. She worked as a lower grade teacher in a village school in Kent, England from 1978 to 1980. At this time the whole family relocated to Modesto, California, where her husband worked for an eighteen-month period. The family returned to the UK and Mrs. Watkinson continued teaching in the lower elementary school until 1983 when the family returned to California. In 1986, Mrs. Watkinson worked for Head Start as an education coordinator for three years. Following a move to Chicago, after three years the family finally settled in Yuma, Arizona, where Mrs. Watkinson secured a position teaching early care and education at Arizona Western College. She remained in this position for twenty years as Professor of Early Childhood Education and retired from her full-time position in 2013. She has been an adjunct for NAU teaching early childhood education from 1998 until today. Mrs. Watkinson has been active in the area of Early Childhood Education in Yuma. She has presented at numerous local conferences and has sat on the Arizona articulation task force committees for Early Childhood Education and for Education for twenty years. She has been an active member of the local affiliate of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). Mrs. Watkinson was on the local YMCA Board for eight years and was a founding member of the First-Things-First Family Resource Network, a statewide organization that funds early education and health programs. She served on the board of the First-Things-First Yuma Regional Council for nineteen years.