Jeanada Nolan Scholarship

About the Sponsor

Jeanada Nolan was born in Fresno, California where she attended high school and Fresno State during the years of the Great Depression. She graduated in 1938 with her B.A. degree in psychology and art. At that time, she was one of two married women attending college at Fresno State. She received her master’s degree in education from Sacramento State in 1953. She received her doctorate in early childhood administration in 1977 from Union Graduate School. Jeanada was the first in her family to complete college. She became a registered Social Worker in 1945.

She began her career as a social worker with the Fresno County Welfare Department and had her first child. She later became divorced and during World War II remarried and worked in a parent participation preschool at Sacramento City Schools while her husband attended law school. Within a few months she was asked to be a teacher and within a year was coordinator of the program. Jeanada’s life has been dedicated to working in the field of early childhood education and parent education. Jeanada describes parent education as simply “preventative social work.”

From 1966-1972, she was Chief of the Bureau of Preschool Education for the state of California and worked with Wilson Riles, Superintendent of Public Instruction. Under Wilson Riles, she also served as Coordinator of the Statewide Task Force on Early Childhood Education from 1971-1972. In addition, when funds first became available for Head Start, Jeanada was actively involved in the planning and implementation of Head Start at both the national and local levels. During her career she served on a number of advisory committees for several California governors and was an active member of the California Congress of Parent and Teachers, serving as an Advisory Board Member from 1971-1974.

The Jeanada Nolan Scholarship in Early Childhood Education reflects Jeanada’s determination to succeed in accomplishing what others had told her could not be done and her desire to help students who will work in the field of early childhood education. Afflicted with macular degeneration in her retirement, Jeanada would also prefer students who are visually impaired and/or single parents be given first consideration for the scholarship.





  • Minimum 3.0 overall GPA
  • Limited to students majoring in Child Development or Early Childhood education
  • Any class level
  • Financial need is required
  • Must be enrolled at least half the time at time of award