Pat Zuniga is from a family of educators, being a teacher was a natural calling for him. He is a native of the state of Washington, more specifically, the Columbia Basin. He has studied educational theory and methodology in several universities throughout the United States.
He considers Ellensburg, Washington his home but has spent significant time and made lasting memories in Prosser, Washington and currently resides in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland), Washington. His experiences as a student, teacher, coach, and community member has shaped and continues to shape his curriculum theory.
As an undergraduate and before the age of 26, Pat studied different aspects of education at Washington State University (BA, History '00) and Grand Canyon University (MA, Teaching '04). To expand his knowledge and teaching he has participated in various training sessions at the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership, Eastern Washington University, and the University of San Diego.
In 2012, Pat began to suffer from physical and health difficulties associated with depression, general anxiety disorder, and alcoholism. In 2014, after a long bout with alcoholism, he was forced to resign from teaching. In the late summer of 2015, he was admitted to a local hospital with a slim chance of survival. After tremendous care of medical professionals, support from loved ones, and the encouragement of a network of incredible friends and associates, Pat amazed almost everyone with an above average and nearly unscathed recovery. He returned to education as a substitute-teacher in local school districts in January of 2016.
After five months of substitute-teaching in school districts in and around the Tri-Cities, Pat enrolled in the University of Kansas to study Curriculum and Instruction with the hopes of earning a Master's of Science in Education (he graduated in December 2017). Additionally, he attended Summer High Cap training at William and Mary University.
His research is motivated from his struggles with alcohol but also merged with his previous interests in educational studies to focus on how to create the paradigms necessary to encourage a culture of achievement and discourage a culture of failure. Pat is particularly passionate about the use of sport psychology and athletic coaching in the classroom as well as the impact of the Internet and social media on teaching and learning.
Pat's goal is to combine his personal story with his professional knowledge and skills to create educational environments and learning experiences that emphasizes individual empowerment and feelings of self-worth; students to strive for and achieve optimal learning by re-focusing the culture of knowledge on individual effort and achievement, recognition of personal growth, and positive character acquisition.
Click below to access Pat's E-Portfolio created and presented to the University of Kansas. The Master's project gives an explanation of his theory and includes both research and artifacts to display the theory in action.