Lemoore High School 1968 grad Rosemarie Bezerra-Nader honored during Fresno Celebration of Women's History Month

Lemoore High grad Rosemarie Bezerra-Nader
Lemoore High grad Rosemarie Bezerra-Nader
Photo Newman Garcia Photographic Studio and Gallery

Rosemarie Bezerra-Nader, a 1968 Lemoore High School graduate, has come a long since her modest Lemoore beginnings where she was raised on a local dairy farm in Kings County by a pair of hard-working parents, who were never able to attend high school,  and wanted nothing more than to see their children attend college.

Her parents got their wish, and more. And it was in her hometown of Lemoore where Rosemarie, where after earning high school and college diplomas, began a teaching career that ultimately led to a college teaching career, the authorship of a slew of mathematics books, and throughout a long productive career, a treasure chest of honors.

One of those honors occurred recently when the personable but talented Bezerra-Nader was one of seven women recognized March 9, by Fresno Councilperson Esmeralda Soria at the 6th Annual Celebration of Women’s History Month at Fresno City Hall.  

The women who live or work in the Fresno’s District were honored for their contributions in one of the following areas:  Arts and Culture, Business and Labor, Community Advocacy, Education, Health and Wellness, and Public Safety.  A reception was hosted for the honorees and their guests.    

Specifically, Bezerra-Nader was honored for her contributions to education, especially her work with returning and nontraditional students; many of these were interested in STEM careers, but not prepared for college-level math. “Women like Rosemarie Bezerra-Nader are leading the way and making a positive difference in the lives of our residents through their spirit and commitment,”  stated a special plaque presented to the former Lemoore High School grad. 

Rosemarie was raised on a dairy farm in Lemoore.  Her parents, James F. and Mary O. Bezerra,  never attended high school, and their dream was for their children to have a college education. She remembers her parents fondly, encouraging her in her school years.

“For one thing, my parents constantly told me they wanted me to have a better life,” recalled Bezerra-Nader. “They kept hammering away at education,” she said recalling, that initially, she wanted to be a medical doctor. “I did a lot of studying, and I was pretty much an “A” student before I met chemistry and algebra. I was basically told I was an overachiever.”

She also loved music and eventually excelled in math, a subject she teaches today at Fresno City College. “I got straight “As” in all my math classes,” she recalled. “I just did well in math.” She also gave music lessons in her spare time.

Rosemarie would like her dreams to be achievable for others, particularly nontraditional students who would like to have careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or the trades.  She has worked passionately researching, developing, writing, and sharing math curricula and methods.  She has worked tirelessly to open the proverbial “math gate” for struggling students whose academic lives are on hold because of mathematics.

Rosemarie started her teaching career at Lemoore Elementary more than 45 years ago, where she also attended elementary school. As a student at Lemoore High School, she was selected as the Girls’ State Representative, was the recipient of the Bank of America Plaque in Fine Arts, served as Student Body Treasurer, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed,” and was a CSF (California Scholastic Federation) Life Member. 

In recent years, she served on the Lemoore High School Foundation for Educational Excellence Board. She annually donated the “James F. and Mary O. Bezerra Memorial Scholarship” to a Lemoore graduate who demonstrated a high moral character while overcoming a hardship.

Rosemarie earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno (CSUF), and her master’s degree from Fresno Pacific University.  Before starting her career at Fresno City College, she taught K-12 classes in Lemoore, Fowler, Clovis, and Fresno schools.  She was an adjunct instructor for CSUF (teaching a variety of professional development classes for teachers), and in her “spare” time, she taught private music lessons.

Bezerra-Nader is an author of three published mathematics textbooks: Arithmetic for Success (Kendall Hunt Publishing); The Bridge Between Arithmetic and Algebra (Kendall Hunt Publishing); Mastering Whole Numbers, the Express Way (Rainmaker Publishing).  These nontraditional texts have helped lead to the success of returning students who were not prepared for college-level math classes.

In her current position as a math instructor at Fresno City College (FCC), Rosemarie has mentored new colleagues, especially adjuncts.  

“I teach math very differently. My ultimate goal is I wanted to find a way to reach people who had been unable to learn math and figure out what the problem was.”  She often worked with students who had trouble with math. Her methods became popular, she remembered. And her instructional efforts eventually led her to write books on the subject.

All this was a surprise considering her early struggles with math. “I didn’t come easy to me early on. Math is the best way to teach critical thinking.”

She interacts with other departments at FCC and other colleges, asking how to make math relevant to their programs.  She serves on the college’s Academic Senate and the Instruction Committee.  She gives presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences, including the International Critical Thinking Conference at Sonoma State University, The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and The California Mathematics Council of Community Colleges.

Rosemarie actively supports the reinstatement of developmental classes (like arithmetic) that many colleges eliminated after Assembly Bill 705 (AB 705) was passed.  Recently, her article AB 705 and Its Unintended Consequences was published in the Journal of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges and The California Senate Rostrum.  In these articles, she recommends solutions to those unintended consequences. 

Rosemarie’s community work has included acting as a past volunteer coordinator for the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery Program.  She and her husband led their neighborhood to collaborate with Fresno County, the City of Clovis, and Caltrans to create and promote support for an intersection alternative on Freeway 168 that prevented the displacement of any resident in the area.  She has been a church musician, has provided music for numerous weddings and private parties, and is currently a member of the Clovis Community Choir.  

She received an excellence in teaching award given by The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.  She was also a nominee for California’s annual Hayward Excellence in Teaching Award.

Rosemarie credits her strong work ethic, persistence, and a sense of community to the example her parents modeled for her.   She is grateful to her husband, Dr. Fareed Nader, CSUF Engineering Professor Emeritus, for his encouragement and support throughout the years. 

 “I plan to continue teaching as long as I am able to,” she said. “Education is a key to life. Education is not just limited to getting a degree.” She insists that the ability to learn is paramount. “It’s just the key to everything. It really is. Through education, we learn a lot from life experiences.”

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