In a career that spanned 50 years, celebrated teacher, instructor, and author Barbara Frazee was deeply inspired by concerned educators in her youth to join the profession and ultimately became just as caring toward and beloved by her own students. Holding a Master of Arts in British and American literature and a Bachelor of Arts in English, both from California State University, Fullerton, Ms. Frazee’s accolades have included being named Outstanding Teacher of the Year at Lathrop Intermediate School in the Santa Ana Unified School District and receiving the Outstanding Educator Award from Rancho Santiago Community College as well as the Profiles in Excellence for Curriculum Development Award. In addition to being honored in Marquis Who’s Who of Professional Women, she has been listed in Who’s Who in America and a winner of the publisher’s Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ms. Frazee’s credentials certified her to teach in secondary schools and community colleges. With expertise in English literature, English composition, and criminal justice, she was an instructor and lecturer in correspondingly named departments at Santa Ana College from 1975 to 2019 as well as a teacher of report writing at the office of the Orange County Sheriff, Coroner Division, from 2010 to 2019. During that time at Santa Ana College, she also taught advanced officer training for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. She was a part-time teacher at Rancho Santiago Community College from 1975 to 2019 and a teacher in the Santa Ana Unified School District from 1970 to 2010.
Looking back, Ms. Frazee recalls that the criminal justice class she taught was created from a need identified in her English composition classes by firefighters and police personnel, who told her that her traditional English lessons needed to be more practical, basic, and simplified for their daily job uses. From that vital suggestion, she created a class that was structured for law enforcement. She also co-authored a book with former Deputy Sheriff Joe Davis titled “Painless Police Report Writing,” which became a law enforcement textbook that was published by Prentice Hall in 1993, an accomplishment Ms. Frazee found to be extremely worthwhile and rewarding.
Citing her success as the result of her love for people, passion for teaching, ease with students, and hope for their futures, Ms. Frazee recognized that each student learns differently, thus, she became adept at teaching the same concepts using various approaches. Witnessing the achievements of her previous students gratifies her as they have moved on to flourish in their respective careers. Some of them became principals, attorneys, and one was an investigator with the Office of the Orange County District Attorney, to name a few. Most important to Ms. Frazee has been the satisfaction of making a difference in young people’s lives by helping them advance their skills, better themselves, and become successful. Many of her former students return to thank her for helping to lift their spirits and never losing faith in them. She still spends Christmas Eve with one of those students and her family.
Ms. Frazee is enjoying a leisurely retirement socializing, baking, reading, and supporting the performing arts, yet she has remained active in a variety of volunteer, community, and educational activities that are the most meaningful to her. As an example, each year through the El Segundo Woman’s Club, she carries on a philanthropic legacy that her late mother started years ago by sponsoring the merit- and need-based LaVon Frazee Memorial Scholarship for as many as six seniors graduating from El Segundo High School. Born in Los Angeles to parents John and LaVon Freeze, Ms. Frazee is a member of the American Association of University Women and a past chair of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional society for women educators.