On November 9, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2018 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize the unsung heroes in our community whose actions, thoughts and words have had a transformative impact in our region. We will highlight the nine honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.


Danella Barnes-Penman_smName: Danella Barnes-Penman

Occupation: Former Physical Educator, Sanger Unified School District

Nominated by: Department of Kinesiology

In 1998, Sanger Unified School District became the first school district to hire certified elementary physical educators to teach physical education. The program proved to be successful, with other districts following suit soon after. One person who saw it all play out was Danella Barnes-Penman, who served as coordinator of the program for 11 years.

Barnes-Penman would go on to teach physical education for a total of 28 years. Teaching was her passion. In fact, it was in her blood. Her father, an agriculture teacher, gave her the tools and motivation to pursue it.

In addition to teaching at Sanger Unified, Barnes-Penman also taught part-time in the Department of Kinesiology at Fresno State for 25 years, having just retired in spring of 2018. During her time at the University, she taught courses that focused on pedagogy and methodologies – a personal favorite of hers.

“Working with student teachers was my passion. Watching them transform from recent graduates to wonderful young educators over a year was simply amazing.”

Teaching the next generation of physical educators is one way Barnes-Penman gives back to her alma mater, Fresno State. It’s where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education (Adaptive Physical Education). It’s also where she earned her master’s degree in Educational Administration – as well as multiple teaching credentials.

For Barnes-Penman, teaching is not only honorable, but satisfying beyond measure.


The 2018 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held on November 9, 2018 at Fresno State. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at 559.278.3603 or bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.