Richard Gonzales is an early educator located in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. He first experienced the field of early education as a volunteer for a local preschool while pursuing a bachelors degree in music performance. Upon realizing a growing appreciation for the field, he switched majors and instead went on to complete a degree in Early Childhood Studies at California State University, Channel Islands. While working towards his degree, Richard was able to experience several different classrooms and age groups and discovered that both his true passion and skill set within the field was without question, infants and their families. He currently works for the Early Childhood Care & Education Services Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he is an Infant Lead Teacher.
Infants and their families have remained the core focus of Richard’s work within the field of early education. When he first came to UCSB he was introduced to Learning Stories as a form of assessment. For Richard, they made absolute sense within the context of an infant learning environment. Richard has used learning stories to document the development of the children in his classroom, form collaborative partnerships with his families while also sharing valuable information on development in an accessible way, and help project a sharper image of professionalism for the field of early education. Family response to his learning stories has been positive, with several families sharing them far and wide amongst their extended families. Richard hopes dearly that the stories remained preserved for the children to read as they grow.
Outside of the classroom, Richard is an active amateur musician. Trained as a classical flutist he has performed in many large groups local to the Santa Barbara area including the SBCC Concert Band, SBCC Symphony Orchestra, and as Principal Flute of the Westmont College Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Santa Barbara Community Flute Ensemble where he has primarily played the low flutes, a group of instruments he considers his specialty and has deep fondness for. He is also the bass clarinetist for the SBCC Clarinet Quartet. When not in the classroom or on-stage, Richard enjoys spending time with his family and friends, visiting new places and learning as much as he can about them, developing his skills in his newfound woodworking hobby, and then binging all of that back to his classroom to share with his children. Richard firmly believes that to be a teacher is to be a lifelong learner and to be challenged is to be offered a chance to grow; thus he is always on the lookout for new experiences.