Student Focus – Debi Batini
Debi Batini is a Smith River Rancheria citizen that lives in the wonderful and exciting town of Santa Rosa, CA. She really enjoys living there and has made it her home for the past six years. She enjoys the community and location and remains employed as an Agriculture Science teacher with the Santa Rosa School District at Elsie Allen High School. Before that she worked for one year as a teacher in the Healdsburg High School District. Debi enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, hiking, and going to local festivals.
Debi Batini graduated from Sonoma State University in May, 2010 with a Master‘s in Education with a concentration in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and an emphasis in psychology. She has also attended College of the Redwoods and Chico State University. While at Chico State Debi earned a Bachelor‘s in Agriculture Science with an emphasis in Education and obtained her teaching credential from CSU, Chico.
Debi was teaching full time and attending classes at night in order to earn her M.A. and without the support of her family, friends and coworkers it would have been very difficult. ―I am extremely grateful for the scholarship money Smith River Rancheria awarded me.‖ Debi says that without the financial assistance she received from the Tribe it would have been very difficult to afford all the costs associated with going back to school. The biggest roadblock Debi encountered while pursuing her M.A. was working fulltime and taking a fulltime course load. It was difficult at times to balance work and school, and she was thankful she stayed motivated and completed her coursework to earn her degree. She also takes pride in always strives to do her best, and she is extremely proud of her cumulative GPA which was 3.975.
Debi grew up on a small dairy in Arcata, CA. She was a fourth generation dairy farmer on the land that her great-great grandparents bought.
Currently, her parents still own the property and raise dairy replacement heifers on their ranch. Her brother‘s names are Charley, Jon and Gary. She is the daughter of Gary and DeAnna Batini. Her grandparents on her moth-er‘s side are Laurant W. Neal and Beatrice Palmer and on her father‘s side are Joe and Ann Batini. Her great-grand parents are George W. Neal and Josephine Marie Bonnaz. Her great-great grandparents are Lauren Bonnaz and Flora of Yan-daa-k‘vt whom both lived at Mvs-yee-se‘-ne.
At the end of her senior year of high school, she was elected to be a State Future Farmers of America (FFA) Secretary. In order to fulfill her duties as the State FFA Secretary for California it was required to postpone attending college for a year after she graduated from high school. During her year as the State FFA Secretary she traveled throughout the state presenting work-shops to high school agricultural classes. She attended and presented at numerous leadership conferences and served as an ambassador for the FFA organization and the agriculture industry. After she completed her year of service, she started taking undergraduate classes at College of the Red-woods in order to transfer to Chico State University. As part of her involvement with the FFA, Debi traveled to Germany and Austria on an International Leadership Conference for State FFA Officers. She absolutely enjoyed her trip and learned a lot. One unique thing she learned in Germany was that some of the dairy farmers would attach their milking parlors to the family house so that the cows‘ body warmth would help heat the house and they would be near for ease of milking.
“As an educator, my personal goal is to not only challenge those students that are already academically successful, but to encourage those having a difficult time.” By pursuing her M.A. in Education she wanted to become a more effective teacher and utilize her experiences in the pro-gram to create a more conducive learning environment for her students. Ultimately, she would like to be involved in a state‘s Department of Education focusing on curriculum and instruction development.
Debi isn‘t a first generation college student. However, she is the first person in her family to obtain a Master‘s Degree. As for inspiration, there wasn‘t one specific person that pushed her to seek a higher degree. When she was first exploring the idea of going back to school to get her M.A. she received a lot of support and encouragement from her family, friends and colleagues. However, she was mostly self-motivated to pursue a higher degree. To her, professional educators are individuals who serve as a motivator, supporter, mentor, and are those that genuinely care about another‘s education and personal welfare. From making one think and act beyond their own personal boundaries and daily routines to creatively teaching the curriculum, every day educators have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of many. Ultimately, she decided to pursue her M.A. in Education to continue to grow as an educator and take the experiences she gains throughout the program and apply them in her classroom. Recently, Debi received the 2011 Excellence in Education award sponsored by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.
Debi encourages anyone that is considering going to a college, university or vocational program to do it. Furthering your education will open up so many opportunities. “Education is empowering; and at the end of the day no one can ever take your education away from you once you have it.” “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Smith River Rancheria for the generous scholarship that was given to me to assist in furthering my education. I am extremely grateful for the support!”
Submitted by Lenora Hall, Tribal Council