Dr. Nancy Akhavan

Email: nancy@nancyakhavanconsulting.com

Retired Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, CSUF and Education Consultant

Dr. Akhavan is a published author who has written numerous books for teachers and leaders and who presents at conferences across the United States. She also provides instructional coaching and leadership coaching to school leaders and teachers across the country. She has taught a variety of grade levels and courses including doctoral courses on Educational Leadership.

Dr. Dominic Dizon

Email: ddizon@communitymedical.org

President and Medical Director, Dizon Medicine, Volunteer Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF, Professor of Medicine, CHSU

Dr Dizon is a proud graduate of the UC Davis School of Medicine. He has been practicing Internal Medicine for 30 years and has been working in Emergency Medicine departments in the Central Valley for more than 20 years.

Dr Dizon believes the best part of medical practice is the doctor-patient relationship. Each patient is different with their own set of ideals, fears, and cultural values. After a long career as a full-time faculty professor of medicine with UCSF Fresno, he retired and founded Dizon Medicine with his wife Nhuha, who’s a dentist. They both believe in giving back to the community and formed their practice values based on community service, teaching and quality improvement. They are also blessed with 8 beautiful children. Their whole family enjoys volunteering together, tennis, golf, making and playing music, and just simply hanging out.

Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval

Email: sjimenez@mail.fresnostate.edu

President of California State University, Fresno

Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval immigrated to California as a young child and grew up tending the family farm as a bilingual and bicultural individual. He received his Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of California at Irvine and participated in Cornell University's School of Critical Theory summer program.

He believes that it is in the Arts and the Humanities that creativity meets eloquence of thought, a commitment to social engagement takes flight, and a vision for a greater understanding of our shared humanity comes into view. Indeed, the vision for a comprehensive and dynamic university education stems from advocating for a multifaceted curriculum: one that produces a nursing major who is influenced by artistic expressions that are imbued with empathy; an engineer who understands our inherent appreciation for painting; or the business major who has internalized the ethical lessons philosophy espouses.

As a scholar, Jiménez-Sandoval studies poetic discourses, Mexican literature, and Lusophone cultural productions. His research is influenced by deconstructionist and post-colonial theories, as these afford a theoretical and metaphorical space in which to explore the being-in-process that is unconstrained by a stagnant ontology. As he has seen first-hand the transformative power of learning, he envisions an integrated society nurtured by the quest for self-empowerment through education.

Dr. Rajee Amarasinghe

Email: ramarasi@mail.fresnostate.edu

Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematics, CSUF

Rajee Amarasinghe received his Ph.D. in mathematics education from Indiana University, an M.S. in computer science from Purdue University and M.S. in mathematics from Purdue University. He earned his B.S. in mathematics and physics from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and is a graduate from the Kotelawala Defense University, Sri Lanka. He was the 2004 faculty recipient of the Jan & Bud Richter Award for Excellence in Education for Liberal Studies Faculty at California State University, Fresno and the recipient of the 2000 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Indiana University.

Currently he serves as a professor and the department chair of the Department of Mathematics at California State University, Fresno and Co-PI of the San Joaquin Valley Mathematics Project. During his time at Fresno State, Rajee has received over $13 million grant funding in collaboration with school districts and other departments at Fresno State. He has directed professional development workshops for teachers locally and internationally and directs the Summer Academy in STEM workshops to enhance mathematics education for children in the Central Valley. He has co-authored three books in mathematics and mathematics education.

Dr. Xuanning Fu

Email: xfu@mail.fresnostate.edu

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Xuanning Fu is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, at California State University, Fresno. Dr. Fu obtained his doctorate degree in 1994 from Brigham Young University, and his research interest includes inter-racial marriage, education and social class, and meaning of work. He has published two books and 30 peer- reviewed journal articles on inter-racial marriage, divorce and on meaning of work. Dr. Fu has taught in four U.S. universities, including UC and CSU, and also worked as a statistician and researcher in the field of educational outreach. He is intimately familiar with California’s systems of higher education and pathways for student success. His most recent research focused on graduation and time to degree in higher education institutions.

Brent Woodward

Email: brent@sw2law.com

Attorney at Law

Mr. Woodward is an attorney with Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC, the largest locally- owned employment law firm in the Central Valley. He is a Fresno native and graduate of Bullard High School. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and his law degree from San Joaquin College of Law.

Mr. Woodward advises employers on labor law compliance and litigation prevention measures, and represents employers in pending litigation. He has extensive experience handling a wide variety of cases in the courtroom, including jury trials, bench trials, and administrative law proceedings. Mr. Woodward also has extensive experience handling appellate matters, including briefs in over 20 cases in the Court of Appeal, several of which involved oral argument.

Mr. and Mrs. Woodward are the parents of seven children, two of which are graduates of University High (’18 and ’22).

Dr. Nichole Walsh

Email: nwalsh@mail.fresnostate.edu

Associate Professor for the Department of Educational Leadership

Dr. Nichole Walsh comes to the UHS Board of Directors with 20+ years of experience in the field of education. Dr. Walsh’s experience includes teaching, leading, and consulting in elementary and secondary settings across the Central Valley and throughout CA. Currently, Dr. Walsh is an Associate Professor for the Department of Educational Leadership with a focus on K-12 educational administration and is a core faculty member in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership Graduate Group. She also serves as chair of the Fresno State University Policy and Planning Committee and as a Faculty Senator. She is proud to be a three-time Bulldog graduate as well as a former drum major of the Fresno State Marching Band.


“to create a school that articulated a vision for education in the 21st century”

At the end of the 1990’s, the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities on the campus of California State University, Fresno, conceived the idea of starting a charter high school on campus and received grants to do so. The Dean appointed Dr. Wendy Costa to write the charter, and Dr. Vida Samiian oversaw the project. The intent was “to create a school that articulated a vision for education in the 21 st Century that would be based upon the latest educational research, implement best practices in instruction, and serve as a model of educational innovation.”

With the support of Fresno State’s President, the Dean began the process of creating the school. He called on many different educational leaders in the community to assist him. This collaboration included University administrators, professors, master teachers from local high schools, and community members from throughout Central California. The result of this collaboration was the UHS Charter and its unique curriculum and organization, which includes a clear vision and mission. The school would be a liberal- arts college prep program that included music in its curriculum.

University High School opening in the Fall of the 2000-2001 school year as an independent, direct-funded charter high school, unaffiliated with any larger organization or management group, and governed by it own school board. The school was initially chartered by Sierra Unified School District and remained under Sierra Unified until chartering with Fresno Unified in 2007, as required by new charter law. UHS began using classrooms leased by Fresno State, and as it expanded, used additional portable facilities. In August of 2009, after years of delay, the new 22 room permanent facility began construction. The permanent facility includes 22 classrooms with three music rooms, four science labs, computer lab, and a weight room. On November 17, 2010, the school closed for a day so everyone could move from the old facility to the new one. On November 18, 2010, University High School held its first day of classes in the new facility, and on November 30, 2010, in an official Dedication Ceremony, the school dedicated the building to the former Dean, Dr. Luis Costa, and the Fresno State President at the time, Dr. John Welty, the two men significantly responsible for our school’s existence.

The vision and mission of University High School have not changed much over the years because they adequately express exactly what the school aims to achieve. The vision speaks to what University High School tries to accomplish and the mission speaks to the path the school has chosen to achieve the vision. For the past 20+ years, University High School has grown into the crown jewel of education in the Central Valley, winning many awards for its academic achievement.


Students will feel confident to express themselves

University High School is a 9-12th grade Liberal Arts high school on the campus of California State University Fresno where ALL students experience an accelerated college preparatory program through dual enrollment with the university, two years of Latin and four years of music theory and music performance in all grade levels.

University High School seeks to foster a culture of care, support and understanding for ALL students where they can grow academically, socially, and personally while establishing a foundation for success in college, career, and beyond.


University High School will work collegially with the California State University Fresno by establishing and maintaining a process for dual enrollment. The school will maintain the benefits of a small school environment while providing students the opportunities available on a large public university campus.

University High School educators will use and continually develop exemplary instructional practices to provide a rigorous and challenging college preparatory curriculum. The goal of all instruction will be student learning which will be met through the study of classical languages, literature, advanced mathematics, hands-on science, social sciences, music education and music performance. Curriculum components will be incorporated into the graduation requirements that will prepare students for a successful college experience and integration into the workforce.

University High School will promote positive partnerships between teachers, parents, students, and the community to create a supportive climate for its students and the school. Students will learn the importance of community through service and activities that connect them to the broader world. Through service and outreach, the school will stand as a positive model and example for other schools and districts in both the public and charter school communities.

University High School will maintain high expectations for ALL students and be open to students that have an appreciation of music, a willingness to work hard, and a desire to be challenged academically in an accelerated and rigorous college preparatory environment.


The UHS school board governs the school through the policies and documents it has approved. Please refer to any of these documents if you have questions about how our school works.

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