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Top Dog 2022

Violet L. Chuck, 1978

2022 Outstanding Alumna Award
Kremen School of Education and Human Development

Violet Chuck

Violet Chuck fondly remembers her childhood in Los Angeles. Her parents had immigrated from China before her birth. Chuck and her siblings enjoyed growing up in Los Angeles, helping with the family business, and, early on in their lives, learning the value of education. She said, “Education was the most important focus. Being raised by an immigrant family allows one to have a different perspective. As my parents saw things slightly differently, I too had a different appreciation of the world out there. I always had the belief that there were significant opportunities out there to be explored.”

Taking advantage of one of those opportunities, Chuck completed her undergraduate education at UCLA, where she studied to become a teacher. She then spent a year teaching in the Los Angeles public school system. Embracing change led her to move with her husband to Firebaugh, where her husband farmed and began their family.   

After having her children, Chuck decided to return to teaching, working half days in a small, rural district west of Firebaugh. “I taught kindergarten to eighth grade, and I eventually got involved with reading specialist work because there were so many non-English families. I was working with many dual language students and wanted to acquire necessary skills. I enrolled at Fresno State to take classes in the evening. There was a need to learn about the language and how to best educate immigrant children.”

At Fresno State Chuck first earned a reading specialist credential and then went on to earn her master’s degree in education administration in 1978. 

“As soon as I obtained my administrative credential, I was offered a principalship position in Firebaugh. At that time, it was Firebaugh Joint Elementary School District, and I started there with middle school students. After that I was principal at the primary level and then principal at the junior high school. Soon after, Firebaugh Joint Elementary School District unified with Las Deltas Elementary School District and became a K-12 unified district. I was fortunate to be in the district at this time of unification since it provided the possibilities of professional growth and advancement. I was offered the position of director of special projects for grants and projects, then became the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.”

Throughout her tenure in Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified, Chuck was instrumental in expanding opportunities for students through establishing academic decathlon teams, working with the Odyssey of the Mind competition, implementing advanced placement courses, and providing distance learning for high school students. She eventually finished her public service career serving her last 10 years as the superintendent of the Firebaugh Las Deltas Unified School District.

In 1993 Chuck was recognized with the Administrator of the Year Award from the Central Valley Congress of Administrative Women in Education. 

Chuck retired from her role as superintendent in 2002, but returned several times to serve as interim superintendent for Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District and Golden Valley Unified School District. She also has provided consultation services to California School Boards Association and Springboard Schools.

Chuck founded and currently is executive director of Educare Services, Inc., which provides state-subsidized preschool programs in Fresno and Kings counties.  Educare Services, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, established 20 years ago. Its mission is to help families set up their children for educational success throughout their academic careers. Educare works to develop successful partnerships with local schools and communities to deliver a high-quality preschool experience.

“Helping children to understand their own value is the reason why I continue working with children. ” 

“Children have enormous capability to learn — and learning goes beyond books. It’s how you get along, how you express yourself. They’ll learn to read at the right time, but, first of all, they have to have confidence in themselves. And that’s one thing I’ve realized — if they believe in themselves, they have the ability to attempt and accomplish almost anything.”