Hazel Mahone's work as a groundbreaking educator with close ties to Sac State has led to an honorary doctorate from the University. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Hazel Witten Mahone’s teaching career began in West Virginia, shortly after the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling outlawed racial segregation in public schools.

As an African American educator, she has been blazing trails ever since.

During Spring Commencement ceremonies, Mahone will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Sac State and CSU trustees.

Mahone is a Sacramento State emerita faculty member who continues to support education and educators through her Vision 2000 foundation, which is committed to addressing the needs and interests of public schools.

The foundation provides state-of-the art educational and vocational programs, such as the College Prep Math & Reading Academy, that are designed to close achievement gaps and help students succeed. Vision 2000 is a Sacramento State “Promise Zone” partner, collaborating with policy makers, school leaders, and key community stakeholders to aid students.

“Hazel is my hero and the hero of countless children in Sacramento,” said University President Robert S. Nelsen. “Her decades of work to create opportunities for some of the most vulnerable students in the region is astounding.”

Mahone “embodies the true spirit of the Hornet Family,” he said.

Her teaching career took her to every level of the K-12 system. She has served on the faculty at University of the Pacific and San Francisco State as well as Sac State. Mahone has served as deputy director of the California School Boards Association, and became Sacramento County’s first female school district superintendent when she took over leadership of Grant Joint Union in 1978.

She created Vision 2000 in 1991. Its summer college-prep math and reading academy at Sac State is one of the most important events of the year on campus.

In 2015, the Hazel Malone College Prep school was named after her.

Mahone’s honorary degree will be conferred during Sac State’s College of Education Commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19. – Cynthia Hubert