Technical Expertise + Educational Vision = Continuing Education

Technical Expertise + Educational Vision = Continuing Education

Janet Adams
1987 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
2001 MA in Education: Administrative Services
Online Instructor for Continuing Education
Education Experience Coordinator for Kingsburg Historical Park

Janet Adams has combined a lifelong journey in education with innovative classroom technology to inspire generations of students.

Since 2016, Janet has taught four technology courses in FPU’s Office of Continuing Education (CE), which offers certificates and training for professionals and lifelong learners. Courses are delivered through a combination of printed materials and online learning students can take at any place or time, and Janet loves providing resources to help students develop their ideas.

After retiring from public education in 2010, Janet initially brought her technical experience and educational vision experience to FPU as special projects coordinator for the CE program. Her first major effort was Father Serra and the California Missions. One of her students played the part of Father Serra in live broadcasts to teach students about the missions in real time, and this idea was later expanded to include other historical figures such as Isaac Newton.

Trevor Thomas (BA ’14) as Father Serra

From seminary classes to mathematics, Janet found experts worldwide willing to share their knowledge. Her students got to meet via video with a man at the Anne Frank Hall in England, a member of the Football Hall of Fame and many more.

In an age before Zoom, these experiences revolutionized teaching. “Can you imagine taking children to the beach and having site rangers teaching tide pools? To me, we were bringing the world to the classroom,” Janet says.

Janet in the studio using Tri Castor system which allows a live video conference using green screen technology.

The goal for Janet was that other teachers would bring that type of learning to the classroom. “We need to sit there and go, ‘Where are the experts in the world? How can I connect to them? And how can I get a different voice in my classroom?’” she says.

Getting started

In 1987 FPU graduate faculty and AIMS Foundation co-creator Larry Ecklund encouraged Janet and her husband, Bruce, to enroll in the credential program. They both needed new jobs, and Janet’s experience teaching Sunday school, Bible studies and cooking classes, as well as her bachelor’s in nutrition and minor in chemistry (Fresno State, ’75), made the program a good fit. “We could sit with our leaders and talk about what it was like in the classroom, from challenges to curriculum to working with students, and we felt like we were supported 100% in that program,” she says.

By that fall, Janet taught seventh- and eighth-grade language arts, home economics and art at Riverview Elementary in Kings Canyon School District. The principal believed in her and supplied anything she needed, including the school’s first computer lab and two kitchens where she could teach nutrition.

In 1989, after a fire destroyed the computer lab and kitchens, Janet transferred to the larger Kingsburg School District, where she taught third and fourth grade and then junior high school mathematics, pre-algebra and algebra. During that time, she implemented new field trips and introduced new curriculum that helped her students thrive.

Encouraged by the superintendent, Janet became an administrator and started Central Valley Home School (CVHS) in 1996. Quickly outgrowing its first home in an elementary school closet, CVHS relocated to offices donated by First Baptist Church. Home schools were still new to the area, and Janet went above and beyond to make CVHS stand shoulder-to-shoulder with more traditional schools, hiring credentialed teachers (which was not required for home schools) and studying finances and school rules to implement new policies. CVHS still operates today and has served thousands of families.

After earning an M.A. in Administrative Services from FPU in 2001, Janet became a school principal and district categorical director until a stint as speaker for Glencoe textbook publishers led to a consulting position with Harcourt Publishers in 2003. She presented topics on math, science, English and history to groups of up to 200 teachers, which required not only a lot of studying and preparation but many long hours of travel. “I had my suitcase packed every single night, and I could walk Fresno Airport with my eyes closed,” she says.

In 2005, Janet left Harcourt to become education/learning coordinator for the Kings County Office of Education. Here she learned the technology she would bring to her work in CE. At Kings County, Janet created opportunities to implement modern technology in classrooms across 16 districts and got connected to the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC), which introduced her to high-tech cameras and video conferencing. With generous funding from her boss, she implemented that technology to film experts statewide, from the oceanfront to the Redwoods, so teachers could bring their knowledge directly to the classroom.

A rich personal life

Outside FPU, Janet has served as the educational coordinator at Kingsburg Historical Park, training docents and helping preserve history. She enjoys preparing K-6 students for leadership by teaching about museum etiquette and the importance of history. “This is how you treat the grounds and how you enjoy going back to the past, because you are the future,” she tells them.

Janet with grandsons Jensen and Nolan Kampsen.

When Janet is not working, she enjoys trekking, hiking or camping at the ocean or mountains. She and Bruce have been married for 44 years, and they have three adult children and five grandchildren.

Janet comes from a family of teachers and critical thinkers, but just as importantly, a family that believed in her. That background and connecting with great leaders at FPU sparked her inspiration to teach. Her advice to aspiring teachers would be, “Connect yourself with brilliant people who love students but who are not afraid to move forward,” she says.

Janet and her husband Bruce
Janet and Bruce (TC ’89) Adams

Learn more about Janet’s online courses through FPU’s Continuing Education:

Not receiving our monthly Alumni eNews to your inbox? Sign up here.


Francesco Parisi (BA '20)

Freelance writer