Mendocino College Faculty in Focus: Lynn Haggitt
Mendocino College (MC) English professor, Lynn Haggitt, was born and raised in San Francisco, until her late teens, when the family moved to Fort Bragg. She married and moved to Redwood Valley, where her two daughters grew up. After living in the Redwood Valley/Ukiah area for 25 years, she and her new husband Donny bought a 1940's farmhouse in Cotati, where she now lives. "I love Cotati, but I miss the warm weather in Ukiah," she says, "It's frustrating to barbeque in July with a hooded parka, gloves, and Uggs on!"
Many people may not realize Lynn was the first MC graduate to be hired as full time faculty. "When I started back to school at Mendo in 1991, I knew I wanted to teach, but I was not sure at what grade level," she says. "It was the professors at MC who inspired me to teach at the college level. I now work with the same instructors who were my motivators," she says proudly.
Like many students, Haggitt says she attended MC because it was nearby. "I wanted to go back to school when my youngest was in kindergarten," she says, "and I was lucky enough to have MC practically in my backyard." She admits she was a bit nervous about returning to school at her age. "I was sure I would be the oldest woman to begin classes in the history of the college," she says, smiling, "but I couldn't have been more wrong - the campus was wonderful."
After graduating with an AA degree from MC, she attended Sonoma State University (SSU), where she earned a BA in English Composition. She began teaching at MC as an adjunct English instructor in 1997, while working on her master's degree in literature at SSU. With guidance from full-time English faculty, Cheryl Howard and Virginia Wagner, she taught entry level English classes. "It was then," she says, "I realized I was in the wrong master's program." With only nine units left to complete her MA in literature, she switched to an MA degree program in Reading and Education, with a specialty in Basic Skills.
Her background includes working for Ukiah Unified School District when her children were small. She was a teacher's aide at Redwood Valley Elementary School, and also worked in the Pre-School Program at Oak Manor School & Nokomis. She has worked for both the Community Development Commission, and the Mendocino County Drug and Alcohol WINDO program. While growing up, she confesses, "My sister and I accompanied our dad on fishing trips to change the bait jars in his crab pots."
Haggitt says the best part of her job is "the students, the students, the students!" She notes one of the greatest advantages of teaching at a small college is really getting to know your students. "Helping them become successful, and eventually attending their graduations, is rewarding," she says. "I feel so proud of every one of them."
One of the first faculty to teach online ten years ago, Haggitt says technology and online teaching still excites her. "For students who cannot come to a regular classroom," she says, "online classes offer a lifeline to an education."
Haggitt enjoys frequent travels with her husband, Donny Mederos, who plays bass in the national Johnny Rawls blues band. She and her husband have six children between them - the Brady Bunch ... almost. Her two adult daughters also graduated from MC, and she has two "charming" grandsons.