Nina Mogar: Project Commotion's La Traviesa del Año Honoree, 2011
Mariannina "Nina" Mogar has been a faculty member in the Child Development & Family Studies Department at City College of San Francisco since 1966. Nina was one of the first instructors hired to teach credit classes. Over her 45 years at CCSF, she also taught parent-child classes, sharing her knowledge with generations of families. From 1993-94, Nina was the Child Development Credit Department Chair, and was instrumental in hiring instructors with years of hands-on experience in non-credit parenting classes.
A child of Italian heritage and a native of the West Village in Manhattan, Nina graduated from Hunter College in her beloved NYC in 1950. Her first teaching work was with 5th graders in Harlem, and later she went to England and taught early elementary children.
In 1960, Nina moved to San Francisco with her husband and began working in parent cooperative nursery schools, and in the many communities providing what would be a model of an enriched environment for young children. Nina was the first early childhood educator in the country to introduce ECE students, parents and the community to the critical importance of sensory motor experiences and child-directed play. She was determined that CCSF students and faculty/staff understand the neurological development of children, and apply that understanding in their work.
In 2004, Project Commotion Co-Founders Chagua and Susan enrolled in child development classes at CCSF. At the time, the two friends were working with children in movement programs, and wanted to grow their knowledge of child development, and particularly of children with “difficult behaviors”. Chagua and Susan enrolled in two classes with Nina in their first semester, and from the first day, they understood that they had found a mentor who would provide the resources, passion, and inspiration that would help them gain a deeper understanding of children. They realized that if they truly utilized the information that Nina was presenting, that they could create a new kind of movement program that could support the development of every child and provide support to families in need. These were the first visions of Project Commotion.
Nina has been a mentor for many ECE professionals in SF and will continue to challenge our thinking in order to provide the most responsive relationships for young children and their families.
Her passionate teaching style, her vast knowledge in the field of child development, and her dedication to the idea that supporting a child’s development means first understanding the child’s perspective—it is for these reasons that we honor Nina Mogar with our first presentation of Project Commotion’s “La Traviesa del Año” Award.
La Traviesa del Año translates to "Mischief-Maker of the Year". Each year, Project Commotion will honor the great mischief-makers in our midst: these are the people who lead by stirring things up, who push us to challenge our own thinking, and who inspire us to follow in their footsteps as they tread with fierce dedication to create and guide programs that truly support children and families in our community.