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Retired state senator to lend her experience and expertise to Bakersfield College

California Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, right, discusses some of the proposed tax breaks advocated by GOP lawmakers during a news conference Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Republicans say their ideas would keep money in the hands of low-income people instead of redistributing it through state programs. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Retired state Sen. Jean Fuller is teaming up with Bakersfield College to lead and expand the school's Early College program.

Fuller will bring her relationships with businesses and national policy organizations to scale up the program aimed at high-school students.

The Early College program aligns curriculum and adds college-level coursework into the high-school schedule, giving participating student an opportunity to earn a certificate or associate degree by high-school graduation.

Once named California Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrations, Fuller's experience in education spans more than three decades.

Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian says Fuller's background highlights her investment in education.

"Bakersfield College is privileged to partner with Sen. Fuller, an extraordinary leader who has maintained a career-long commitment to education," Christian said in a news release. "She is a powerhouse with a heart for the students in the Central Valley and the communities we serve. We are so excited to have her working with us."

Fuller said her passion for education grew out of her own experiences growing up in Shafter.

"Families didn't want their kids to go off to college," she said, in the news release. "Mothers and father wanted their children to stay close, stay as a family and continue the family tradition."

She credits Bakersfield College with giving her the skills, confidence and strength to pursue a meaningful career which she said, "Isn't finished yet."

Last May, Bakersfield College graduated 38 Wonderful Academy Early College high-school seniors with an associate degree in Agriculture Business.

Although the Early College program is still under development in rural-area high schools, the goal is to integrate the program and help every student obtain a college degree.

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