Shareef offers useful life lessons, wisdom
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 14:09
Working with children requires much care and effort, but it also takes a huge heart and that’s an unquestionable quality that takes some people years to develop.
Early childhood education department Chairperson Intisar Shareef has high standards for her students and requires them to be the voices for those who may not be able to speak on their own behalf.
“(The department) is here to help you, make you intelligent, employable. Our program is different. Fair, right and true. We make our students critically think for those who can’t talk for themselves,” she said.
ECE major Gideon Prior said that he has taken a couple of the instructor’s courses, including her Creative Activities course.
He said Dr. Shareef tries to teach students to give all younger children equal attention and how much of a great impact adults have on children.
Contra Costa College students learn how to become direct support people for children, in an orderly way, through physical, social and emotional creative and language development from Shareef’s lectures, PowerPoint presentations and hands-on work.
Her colleague, ECE professor Barbara Grillo, said the department and college are lucky to have her. She also said that Shareef’s extensive knowledge about child welfare makes her an outstanding instructor and this quality helps her publicly speak at keynotes around the Bay Area.
For example, KQED and KTEH Education Network hosted the Media and Early Symposium at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on June 17, 2010 where Shareef was alongside more than 80 highly regarded professionals in education, media and technology, Grillo said. Shareef has been chairperson of the department for the last six years, but has been a full-time employee of CCC since 1993.
Shareef said that one of the most pivotal moments of her career was when she directed the Foster/Kinship Care Continuing Education Program at CCC.
This ultimately made Shareef realize that she wanted to continue parenting, she said.
Since then she has adopted four children, and also has one stepson.
Shareef graduated from Trenton State University in New Jersey in 1968 where she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Before going back to school to obtain her master’s degree in guidance counseling from Kean College, which is also in New Jersey, she taught the sixth grade for one year, she said.
In 1982, Shareef had moved to California and started working toward obtaining her doctorate in Montessori education from Nova Southeastern University.
Shareef said that there were other things that drew her to Nova Southeastern, including the multicultural community and a newfound camaraderie between herself and former classmate and current dean of the LAVA Division, Dr. Susan Lee.
Dr. Lee said that she has known Shareef for 30 years and their paths have been “criss-crossing” ever since.
“My advice to (Shareef) when she is going somewhere is to not say anything for the first three minutes and let everyone look at you and wait to see what they say because she is a piece of art,” Lee said with a laugh.
Lee said Shareef’s personality matches her profession, as she is very courageous because she is an advocate for families and children.
“CCC has been a home to me. It has been an extension of my life because it is five minutes from my house. It’s really been a part of me,” she said.