Honor an Educator Awards
Congratulations to the honorees and thanks to nominators for their generous support of the College of Education.
2020 Distinguished Award Recipients
Junn, Dr. Ellen – 2020 Distinguished Education Leadership Award
Ellen Junn became the 11th president of California State University, Stanislaus, on July 1, 2016. As President of Stan State, she has established a strong reputation for leadership focused on implementing new and innovative student success programs- especially for non-traditional students - and supporting student success initiatives, including Freshman Convocation, Freshman Year Experience seminars and Design Your Life courses, as well as building new state-of-the-art Technology-Enhanced Active Learning Classrooms (TEALCs). Other initiatives support faculty success with enhanced funding for research, scholarship and creative activity by encouraging the integration of high impact practices and supporting numerous faculty learning communities. These efforts have helped to enhance the lives of Stan State students while also raising the University’s national profile. In the last year, U.S. News & World Report placed Stanislaus State at No. 8 in the West for social mobility, and Washington Monthly named the University the No. 1 “Bang for the Buck” public college in the West Region. MONEY Magazine ranked Stan State No. 5 among the nation’s “Most Transformative Schools.” In addition, the University has been listed on Princeton Review’s Top 385 Colleges for 14 consecutive years, and CollegeNET ranks the University No. 8 in the nation on its Social Mobility Index.
Junn has a remarkable and extensive 35-year history in higher education, of which 33 years are in the CSU system. She worked at five other CSU campuses before joining Stan State. She served as provost and vice president at CSU Dominguez Hills, provost and vice president at San Jose State University, associate provost at Fresno State, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Development at CSU Fullerton and assistant professor at CSU San Bernardino. She also served as a visiting professor at Indiana University.
Among her numerous community leadership roles, Junn serves on the board of directors for the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, a Governor-appointed board charged with collaboratively partnering with a wide variety of key Central Valley constituencies to initiate, recommend and advocate for a prosperous economy, quality environment and social equity. She also serves as a member and past president of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and is a member of the Stanislaus Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Steering Committee.
Junn earned a bachelor’s degree in experimental and cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan, from which she graduated cum laude and received high honors in psychology. She obtained both a master’s and a Ph.D. in cognitive and developmental psychology from Princeton University. In addition, she holds a Management Development Program Certificate from Harvard University.
She is the first Korean-American woman president appointed in the U.S. to a four-year public institution. Her husband, Allan Greenberg, is a retired physics professor, and her son, AJ Murphy, completed his doctorate in American History from Columbia University, and his wife, Emilie Conolly, is completing her doctorate in American History from New York University.
Gallegos-Garcia, Zoila, ‘13 – 2020 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award
Zoila Gallegos has been a bilingual educator for 27 years. Currently, she is an Assistant Principal at Brookhurst Junior High School in the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD). Prior to joining AUHSD, Ms. Gallegos served as a Literacy Specialist at Los Angeles County Office of Education in Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, working with adjudicated and at-risk youth.
Zoila has an extensive educational background. In 1992, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU). Soon after, she passed the state examination to earn a Bilingual credential. In 1996, she earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology. In 2010, she enrolled at Cal State Fullerton, where she was awarded a Master of Science in Education -Reading. In 2018, she earned an Administrator Service credential.
Zoila is a passionate educator who knows firsthand the struggles many immigrant children face. She was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and like many Dreamers, Zoila was brought to the USA by her mother at two years old. When Zoila began school, she entered an English-only kindergarten classroom. She was at a complete disadvantage since she only spoke Spanish, and school was extremely difficult for her. Although Zoila excelled in math, she struggled with reading and writing. For most of her K-12 educational experience, Zoila performed significantly below grade level. Despite the numerous challenges she faced growing up, she never gave up on pursuing higher education.
Education has been Zoila’s passion. She wholeheartedly believes that pursuing a college degree can transform an individual’s life. As a result, her love of learning led her to a career in education. For most of her career, she has worked with adjudicated and at-risk youth including her service as a Literacy Specialist at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, CA, since 2010. During this time, she spearheaded numerous reading initiatives and advocated for incarcerated students. She petitioned Los Angeles County officials to fund libraries in the classroom and students’ living units. Zoila was relentless in her efforts to bring quality reading materials to the students. As a result, Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall was granted a one million dollar budget to build the first County of Los Angeles Library branch inside a juvenile hall facility. In 2016, the Los Padrinos Library opened its doors to the residents and staff at the juvenile facility. The library contained 4,000 book sand a full-time librarian specialized in books for youth. As a result of her efforts, she touched the lives of countless students who otherwise would not have ever known the pleasures of reading. The same year, Zoila was named Teacher of the Year for Los Angeles County Office of Education and a top teacher for Los Angeles County. In 2017, she was also honored by the Los Angeles County Probation Department. In 2018, the CSUF Department of Literacy and Reading Education named her Outstanding Alumna. Zoila is a dedicated educator who is committed to serving all students, especially the most at-risk in society.
Siudzinski, Tracy, ’08 – 2020 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award
Tracy Siudzinski has 23 years of experience working in the field of learning and development. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), earning a Bachelor of Arts in Social Ecology. While in college, Siudzinski began teaching at a non-profit organization called Academic Chess, where he helped to educate public school students about chess strategy and piece movement. Upon graduation in 1997, Siudzinski began working at Sprint PCS and eventually joined the Education and Development team. He garnered recognition at Sprint for his teaching prowess and design techniques, which he used to ensure thousands of employees reached their full potential. Siudzinski’s deep passion for adult learning earned him multiple teaching certifications from organizations like Franklin Covey, Achieve Global, and the American Management Association.
In 2004, Siudzinski joined SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union (FCU) as a Senior Learning Specialist and was later promoted to Senior Instructional Designer. In these roles, he was responsible for facilitating classes for their team members aligned to the credit union movement. He also designed learning programs to strengthen the mission of SchoolsFirst FCU to provide world-class personal service and financial security. During his tenure at the credit union, Siudzinski attended California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), and earned his Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology (MSIDT) degree in 2008. Siudzinski’s culminating research project was entitled, Web-Based Training in the Workplace: Examining the Use of Asynchronous Flash-Based Instruction to Promote Transfer of Learning.
Siudzinski left the credit union in 2010 to join the Walt Disney Company, working at the Disney University, as an Instructional Design Manager. During his employment with Disney, Siudzinski fostered the sound practice of adult learning principles while leveraging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and gamification to create global learning programs for cast members and Imagineers.
In 2014, Siudzinski returned home to SchoolsFirst FCU as the Manager of Learning and Development. He has continued his education by completing Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) at Pomona College in 2018. Under Siudzinski’s management, over the last four years, the credit union has expanded the use of virtual/remote classroom technology, making a difference in the lives of hundreds of team members by eliminating over 20,000 hours of travel time and providing significant savings for travel-related expenses. His community service with the credit union includes volunteering his time with Credit Unions for Kids to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in North America. Through credit union support, Siudzinski stays active with CSUF through his lifetime alumni membership, and he has mentored multiple MSIDT students over the years.
Westminster School District – 2020 Distinguished Education Excellence Award
The Westminster School District (WSD), located in West Orange County, is comprised of more than 9,400 students. A total of 17 schools serve students in Pre-K to 8th grade, consisting of 13 elementary sites, three middle schools, and one site with a child-care center and special District programs. The District employs approximately 1,000 employees. The District provides a strong academic program with an emphasis on preparing students for 21st-century learning.
“Building tomorrow’s leaders today” is Westminster School District’s vision. The district offers students multiple opportunities to become skilled in the areas of digital citizenship, world languages, and college and career readiness. Specialized academies provide choices for families such as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), Dual Immersion programs and Computer Science Magnet schools. WSD is the first district in the State to offer a Vietnamese Dual Immersion program, which supports the heritage language of its local community, Little Saigon. The Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program received the 2017 California School Boards Association (CSBA) Golden Bell Award, which recognizes programs that are necessary to address the changing needs of a student’s education. Additionally, there are nine recent California Gold Ribbon Schools, seven Title 1 Academic Achieving Schools, and one California Distinguished School across the District.
WSD believes in shared leadership and collaboration. Professional Learning Communities and School Leadership Teams build a shared leadership model and are part of every school site. At the student level, the goal is to create students who are prepared for leadership. Collaboration and leadership skills are promoted in the classroom. WSD’s mission statement emphasizes a commitment to building leaders: “Prepare all students to be responsible, resilient, resourceful, and productive world citizens in a changing and diverse society.”
The Westminster School District serves the City of Westminster as well as portions of Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, and Midway City. As a multicultural community with deep roots in Western, Vietnamese, and Mexican histories, Westminster was designated in 1996 as an “All American City” by the National Civic League for civic accomplishments. On October 2, 2019, the district officially dedicated its Central Office to the Mendez family in honor of the landmark civil rights case Mendez v. Westminster School District, which ended segregation in schools.
Gillman, Bonnie Malkin – 2020 Distinguished Education Partner Award
Bonnie Malkin Gillman is the founder and Executive Director of the Grandparent Autism Network (GAN), a nonprofit organization established in 2006 to support families worldwide. She manages the website, www.ganinfo.org, which provides grandparents with information about autism and ways they can help to improve the quality of life for their families. Ms. Gillman also serves as the Executive Director of the Family Autism Network (FAN), a program under the auspices of GAN. She created the website, www.faninfo.org, to increase access to autism resources, recruit volunteers to expand social opportunities and to develop lifetime support for the autism community. Both sites provide information about autism events, programs, services, research studies and advocacy efforts.
In 2014, with enthusiastic support from Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Autism Director, Dr. Erica Howell, and her students, Ms. Gillman initiated a series of cost-free “Socials for Adults with Autism (ages 16+) & Their Caregivers.” The success of these events enabled her to forge a unique collaboration with faculty members and students from California State University, Fullerton, Chapman University and the University of California, Irvine. Students and faculty members from all three campuses host families at socials throughout the year, enabling students to learn about the challenges confronting individuals with autism and how autism impacts three generations in families. Under the capable leadership of Dr. Debra Cote, 350 guests attended CSUF’s annual Spooktacular Social in October 2019. GAN members welcomed the guests who were encouraged to participate in student-planned activities. Caregivers networked and enjoyed respite time together. Faculty members and professional autism service providers delivered expert information and resources for the families. Students from ten local colleges and universities participated in the event, providing one-on-one support for each guest with autism. The students arrived as volunteers – and they left as autism advocates.
In 2016, Ms. Gillman sponsored a Project SEARCH site at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in collaboration with the Regional Center of Orange County, the Department of Rehabilitation, Goodwill, the University of California, Irvine and Santiago Canyon College. The program provides job training for young adults with developmental disabilities to help prepare them for competitive employment opportunities. Utilizing CHOC’s program as a model, additional Project SEARCH sites have been established at UCI Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Orange County-Anaheim Medical Center. Two additional sites are under development.
Ms. Gillman’s service to the autism community has received commendations from the State of California Autism Task Force, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange County Department of Education, and Interagency Autism Group. She is the recipient of California State Senator Lou Correa’s Women Making a Difference Award, the national Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism Award, the Regional Center of Orange County’s Volunteer Spotlight Award, the UCI Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities’ Help and Hope Award and the Chapman University Thompson Policy Institute’s Pursuit of Excellence Award.
Black, Dan O., ’67 – 2020 Distinguished Education Community Partner Award
Dan Black enrolled at CSUF in 1964 and took, without great intention, a freshman physics course. He credits this course — taught by future friend and mentor, the late Dr. Ray Adams — for influencing his decision to pursue a degree earned in1967 and a career in physics.
Following graduation, Mr. Black worked in sales and marketing for EG&G, a firm that manufactured physics equipment. In 1973, he started his first company, Trace Analysis Laboratory, which he left a year later to launch MineraLab – later renamed Advanced Medical Nutrition, Inc. – that he sold in 1998. He then co-founded ProThera, a nutritional supplemental company.
A proud Titan, Mr. Black, has been an active supporter of future alumni, particularly in science and business, both by meeting with students and supporting student educational endeavors. In recognition of their contributions to the University and students, Mr. Black and his wife, Kathy Chao Black, were honored with the naming of Cal State Fullerton’s Science Laboratory Center, “Dan Black Hall,” in 2006.
In July 2017, Mr. Black supported a new blended program to allow teacher candidates in any subject area to earn both their credential and a graduate degree in an 18-month time frame in the College of Education. This program was designed to prepare candidates to be culturally and contextually responsive teachers, ready to teach effectively in diverse local and global communities. Over 150 people were interested in the program, and after a rigorous screening process, 12 earned both a Master’s degree in Secondary Education and a teaching credential and are currently teaching in districts throughout Orange County.
Mr. Black has been a long-time major donor to CSUF, supporting many areas of the University, including the College of Education. He currently serves on the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors and the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. As his many gifts of time, talent, and treasure over the years have proven, Mr. Black is a true university citizen and cherished alumnus.
Honored by Dr. Natalie Tran
Ms. Julie Ballesteros is a Principal at Plavan Elementary School in Fountain Valley School District. Her dedication, commitment, and care for the students and staff are unmatched. She is the hardest working principal that we have ever met – working late nights and weekends to support programs that bring children, parents, and the community together. We are grateful to have you as our leader and know that our children will in thrive in your care.
Honored by Dr. Eugene Fujimoto, Dr. Ron Oliver, and the Department of Educational Leadership
Pam was born in Whittier, California, and grew up in La Habra. She graduated from CSUF with a degree in sociology and obtained an elementary teaching credential. Pam taught for four years before she joined American Savings and worked in hazardous insurance for nine years. She came to CSUF in 1990 and has assumed a variety of positions – excelling in all. Since 2010, Pam serves as the Department Coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership. Pam loves to read, is very involved in genealogy, and pursues anything to do with Hawaii (particularly Hawaiian music and dancing). A little-known fact about Pam is that she enjoys basketry and has attended several conferences and trainings on basket making. Pam is highly respected by both students and faculty in the Department of Education and throughout the university. She has a pleasant personality, a great sense of humor, and a high level of commitment. She is a joy to work with and is a pleasure to have as a colleague.
Bryant, Dr. Renae
Honored by Dr. Natalie Tran
Dr. Renae Bryant is a dedicated and innovative educator and leader. She is most recognized for the work in the communities of the students in which she serves. She has played an instrumental role is launching the first Vietnamese elementary dual language program at Westminster School District and now the first Vietnamese secondary dual language program at Anaheim Union High School District in the state of California. Thank you for all you do to support our students, families, and community!
Honored by Dr. Pablo Jasis and Dr. Rosario Ordoñez-Jasis
Pablo and Rosie Jasis have the pleasure of introducing the talented and beloved Instrumental Music Director and teacher, Ms. Deborah Carnahan. A master soloist and chamber player, Ms. Carnahan teaches at East Whittier Middle School. For forty years, she has inspired and mesmerized many generations of students with her assertive-yet-nurturing leadership. In the process of enhancing their musical talents, she teaches her students life-long lessons on dedicated discipline, poise, hard work, joint creativity, and the profound enjoyment of music. According to Emiliano Jasis, “Ms. Carnahan loves music but more importantly she loves children.” Her Orchestra, Band Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Bands have earned local, state and national recognition. Mrs. Carnahan was awarded District Teacher of the Year, the LA County Bravo Award, the Southern California School Band Orchestra Association GOLD Award, and the National Band Association Citation of Excellence. We are happy to present this Honor an Educator Award to Ms. Carnahan.
Honored by the McGill Family
Stephanie is a fifth-grade teacher at Olinda Elementary School. Stephanie provides her students with opportunities for leadership, responsibility, and independence while making learning fun. Her lessons in science are interactive and help inspire students to explore and be creative. Through her kind and encouraging classroom environment, Stephanie develops individual strengths in each student and prepares them for future success in school and beyond. Congratulations Stephanie!
Honored by Dr. Nancy Watkins
Katie DeGraffenreid has been a math educator and instructional coach for over twenty years. Katie's innovation as a middle school math teacher inspires students to see the beauty and brilliance of math. Katie is focused, creative, and caring. A lifelong learner, Katie believes that educators must be brave, take chances, fail, and learn. She was recently named one of PYLUSD's 2020 Teachers of the Year.
Honored by Ms. Adeline Carroll and the Department of Special Education
Mario is the longest-serving adjunct in the College of Education's Department of Special Education (SPED) at CSUF! Serving for over 30 years, Mario is committed to sharing his academic excellence with young people both in the classroom and in the field! He is passionate and knowledgeable about special populations and shares ways SPED teachers can assure equal education and social access for all students. It is an honor to work alongside Mario and our entire staff is pleased to honor him as one of our outstanding educators!
Honored by Ms. Leslee Milch
Luann is a National Board Certified teacher who teaches in the Fullerton School District. For the last few years she has been an invaluable volunteer, supporting National Board candidates participating in the CSUF CMTI National Board Support Program. She is to be commended for her dedication to her students and contributions to the profession.
Honored by Dr. Estela Zarate and her son Diego
Diego would like to honor Ms. Kern for the care she gives him, for her frequent check-ins, and the life-skills she teaches. He likes when she talks about her children to provide examples.
Honored by Ms. Kay Krausman
David Krausman received his Bachelor of Arts from Cal State University Pomona. He continued his education at Chapman University graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Masters in English. In 2016, David joined Chapman University’s Wilkinson College as administrative assistant to the Departments of English, Peace Studies, and the office of the Dean. Currently he holds the Graduate Programs Coordinator position in the Dean's office. His avid interest in the Japanese culture initiated his joining the Fullerton Sister Cities Association. David guides student exchange trips to Fukui, Japan, educating young people in the Japanese culture.
Honored by Dr. Melinda Pierson and Dr. Erica Howell
Janet Martin is an exemplary teacher who supports students with mild/moderate disabilities in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. She treats students with the utmost respect, utilizes class-wide positive behavior supports, and implements differentiated curriculum in fun and engaging ways for her students. Ms. Martin has also provided inspiration to countless CSUF students entering our Education Specialist programs. Faculty consistently hear remarks from the students about the innovative teaching strategies that they observed and how they were welcomed so warmly into her program. It is an honor to partner with Ms. Martin!
Honored by Ms. Hiam Awni
Andrea Meissner is an educator, mentor, advocate, principal, and leader at Richard Henry Dana Exceptional Needs Facility in the Capistrano Unified School District. The school serves children from culturally, linguistically, diverse, and exceptional backgrounds from birth through fifth grade. Ms. Meissner now completes her 26th year at CUSD and has served students and families in a number of leadership positions such as Curriculum and Instruction Specialist, Special Education ADR Specialist, and Assistant Principal. Ms. Meissner is committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure instructional programs and a curriculum that fits students’ needs are in place. She is passionate about providing a quality education as she supports high levels of teaching and learning in order for each student to succeed. After 33 years in education, she is deserving of this honor as she continues to make a difference in the field of education by creating positive student outcomes.
Honored by CalStateTEACH
Vanessa Okamoto is a first year 2nd grade teacher at Allegiance STEAM Academy-Thrive (ASA Thrive), a public charter school in Chino. Prior to CalStateTEACH, she was an active community member serving on the school board for this school. She is also on the Desert/Mountain SELPA panel serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. She is committed to ensuring that all students, especially English Learners with disabilities advance in their learning outcomes.
Olmstead, Dr. Christine
Honored by Dr. Al Mijares
We would like to recognize Dr. Olmstead in her leadership at both the County and Statewide level. Dr. Olmstead started at the Orange County Department of Education in March of 2012 as an Administrator in our Educational Services Unit. She has been a classroom teacher, Principal and Administrator at districts in Orange County prior to her career at OCDE.
Dr. Olmstead was instrumental in securing funding for a statewide initiative for the Multi-Tiered System of Support. In April 2016, the Orange County Department of Education, in partnership with the Butte County Office of Education and the SWIFT Education Center, was awarded a large grant to implement MTSS statewide. This effort, California Scale-Up MTSS Statewide (SUMS) provides a process for Local Education Agencies (LEA) to assess their strengths, coordinate supports to their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP), and align their MTSS efforts with the eight state priorities.
Her leadership with other County Offices, State Agencies and School Districts across the state is well respected by all who have encountered her. With her and the Superintendent’s leadership, we have been awarded numerous statewide contracts and grants, including the Health Framework, TUPE Capacity Building grant and many more.
Christine is passionate about the students in Orange County and California and is striving every day to make a difference. She can be heard regularly stating that “ALL” means “ALL” and that every student should receive the services they need.
Ordoñez-Jasis, Dr. Rosario
Honored by Dr. Lisa Kirtman
Dr. Rosario Ordoñez-Jasis is an alumna of CSUF and currently a Professor and Chair in the Department of Literacy and Reading Education. She joined the Department in 2001 after completing her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. She has over 20 publications, over 40 scholarly presentations, and 4 funded grants since joining the faculty.
Over the last 25 years, she has worked with diverse teachers, parents, administrators, and community members to reveal how language, identity, and culture impact school and community-based literacy practices. A highlight of this work is the partnerships she created with the Navajo Nation and Gila River Indian communities in Arizona.
Her honors include the Emma E. Holmes Faculty Fellowship, Milton A. Gordon Award for Creative and Scholarly Activities, and the College of Education Excellence Partnership Award.
She is model faculty member who has served the College of Education as an exceptional teacher, leader, scholar, mentor and colleague.
Pierson, Dr. Melinda and Myck-Wayne, Dr. Janice
Honored by Dr. Katherine Bono and Dr. Sharon Seidman
Dr. Sharon Seidman and Dr. Katherine Bono would like to honor Janice Myck-Wayne and Melinda Pierson for their collaborative work on the Integrated Teacher Education Program in Child and Adolescent Studies and Special Education. Working with Janice and Melinda throughout the process of developing and implementing this program has been a wonderful experience for Sharon and Kate. Both of these amazing faculty members are collaborative, considerate, and inspiring partners. They are clearly passionate and committed to supporting CSUF students and to developing well-prepared and motivated special education teachers. We are so excited to be able to honor them through this fantastic event.
Honored by Advance Beauty College
Mimi Pourvajdi has been doing hair for almost 40 years and has exceeded 100,000 haircuts to date. She attended beauty school while still in high school and completed the program before graduating high school. She attended El Camino College and achieved her AA in History of Arts while working part-time at a small beauty salon. Over the years, she worked at resorts, Beauty Brand- where she worked her way up from stylist to master stylist, and building her own business behind the chair. Due to an injury that didn't allow her to be behind the chair full-time, she began a career as an educator. She has now found her passion and has been teaching for four years at Advance Beauty College. Mimi genuinely cares about the students and their success at school and future prosperity in their craft. She has a cheerful, positive attitude and energy and is respected and well-liked by her colleagues and students. She has worked with battered women to do makeovers to prepare them for job interviews and worked with cancer patients to uplift their spirits in difficult times. She has a husband and two sons that she is proud of and her mom and dad have supported her throughout her life.
Honored by Dr. Estela Zarate and her son Diego
Diego would like to honor Ms. Sheinbaum for the support he has received from her this year and the opportunities she has given him to strive in school. He feels she has extended her role beyond that of a teacher.
Honored by the Sieven Family
Lori’s reputation as a loving, caring and effective educator precedes her. With a steady sense of calm and boundless grace, Lori helps to develop strong, confident, and capable students who are ready and excited for the transition from preschool to elementary school. From the first moment students meet her, they immediately are comforted in knowing that she is their shepherd, providing support, guidance, and strength. Lori is easily able to identify her students’ gifts and partners with their families to leverage those strengths to promote their individual academic, social and emotional growth. With an ever-present smile, Lori makes each and every one of her students feel special and loved. Our family is so thankful for Lori and we want to recognize her for the tremendous impact she has made in the lives of so many!
Honored by Advance Beauty College
Lupe Solis started out working at American Apparel as an order puller. When they saw her natural leadership ability, she was promoted to a lead and eventually promoted to distribution manager. After 14 years with the company, she decided to follow her passion in the beauty industry. She attended beauty school at Advance Beauty College and after receiving her cosmetology license, she went back to school for the teacher training program. The school saw her skills and potential in educating and managing staff and students and hired her as the campus manager. It has been five years and she continue to be an amazing mentor to many of the educators and students who work with her. Not only is she a great leader, but she also creates a culture where everyone feels like family and enjoys coming to work daily. Managing a school of over 300 students, 28 staff, and hundreds of demanding clients daily is not an easy task, but she makes it seem effortless. We appreciate her hard work and dedication as she continues to inspire, educate and give back to the students and staff at Advance Beauty College. We are proud to celebrate and honor Ms. Lupe Solis.
Honored by Teacher Created Materials
Lesly Spangler is a model teacher at Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School. She creates a wonderful classroom environment where students feel valued, respected, and are excited to learn. She serves as a teacher mentor, is on the Instructional Leadership Team and the Grade Level Leadership teams, and is always one of the first to organize and plan instructional events.
Lesly also has a heart for the community. One of the many ways she supports families at Eisenhower is demonstrated through the assistance she has given to a family of 8 children whose sole parent has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Among other things, Lesly has organized food donations for the family for the last few years.
Lesly is also passionate about her colleagues. She offers to help with instruction or discipline, organizes celebrations in their honor and is the one who constantly thinks of and helps implement things they can do to support each other, their students, and their community.
Lesly is truly an inspiration, and we at TCM are proud to honor her excellence in education.
Honored by Dr. Pablo Jasis and Dr. Rosario Ordoñez-Jasis
Mr. Tighe is a proud graduate of CSUF where he earned a teaching credential and Master’s degree. Although he was fully credentialed to become a successful school administrator, his calling was to be an extraordinary and inspirational math teacher. Recently retired, Mr. Tighe taught mathematics for 36 years at his alma mater, East Whittier Middle School. There he inspired and motivated generations of students – including our sons Diego and Emiliano - with his unique dedication and love for his subject. According to Diego, “Mr. Tighe demonstrated a commitment to and confidence in his students and showed them the power of perseverance.” Mr. Tighe won numerous awards including the PTSA Honorary Service Award, East Whittier Middle School Teacher of the Year, District Teacher of the Year, and LA County Teacher of the Year. We are happy to recognize Mr. Tighe and his exceptional commitment to the academic development of generations of students.
Honored by Dr. Al Mijares
Sonia is a dedicated, knowledgeable, self-directed, innovative educator with over 22 years of education experience working with at-risk youth in various academic programs and settings. She possesses a strong ability to engage behaviorally challenging students, and differentiate instruction. She is effective in assessing student academic needs, therefore, providing a system of support based on the level of need. She has a strong ability in utilizing a variety of instructional strategies, including technology and academic scaffolds to provide equity and achievement among all students. Sonia is skilled in curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation. She is a seasoned mentor teacher, ELA, Social Studies, and ELL curriculum leader, and collaborator. She offers our students the ongoing support that is vital to their academic success and their ability to maximize their potential.
Sonia is kid-focused, always puts students first, passionately cares about them being successful and rising above their difficult situations, which shows in her approach. She has an outstanding rapport with the students and goes above and beyond. She deals with difficult situations daily; behavior issues, upset parents, yet makes excellent decisions rapidly. Her peers respect her as she’s willing to share her knowledge and experience. She is a self-starter who is always willing to participate in committees to improve her classroom and the program. She is resilient with a positive attitude. She completes daily tasks with both enthusiasm and attention to detail.
Honored by Larry and Theresa Rovira
Laurie Troudy is a retired educator with 40-years of dedication to the special needs community. She received her BA and Teaching Credential from San Diego State, Specialist credential from Long Beach State, and state credentials from the State of California, Cal State Diagnostic Center, and CSU San Bernardino. Laurie spent her last 30-years within the Walnut Unified, developed Student Study Team guidelines, assessed students’ needs, developed programs, and expanded their preschool program. Later on, she organized the logistics to implementation of a twelve-week, intensive, full-day, and pullout reading clinic for students. She laid the required foundations, set up the training to utilize Lindamood-Bell, Read 180, Project Read, Language Live, and other Direct Instruction Reading Programs. Additionally, she trained district staff in the areas of diagnostics, report writing, IEP's, parent communication, modeling effective classroom teaching and behavior strategies with new staff members. It is an honor to recognize Laurie as an educator that has made an impact on our family’s life.
Honored by Ms. Dianna Lopez and Mr. Gabriel Lopez
Honored by Dr. Natalie Tran
Ms. Lauren Voss is a Kindergarten teacher at Plavan Elementary School in Fountain Valley School District. She is a skilled teacher who shares a great passion and love for working with young children. Our daughter often describes her as a “very nice” teacher, which means she is kind and caring. This is complimentary to the structured and supportive learning environment that she has created in her classroom. Thank you for your care, dedication, and commitment to teaching our children.
Honored by Dr. Al Mijares
Allen has been a teacher working in various locations with our at-risk youth in Orange County. He has been at our Sunburst Program since 2018 where I have observed him leading the class and engaging the students about world events. He engages students by using SKYPE to interact with others students in foreign countries. For many of our students, this is their first exposure to people and cultures in far-away lands. It was obvious that the students were involved in the assignment and excited to learn. When you walk in his classroom, the first thing you notice is how well he manages the class, and how much students respect Allen.
Allen also helped the students raise funds and accompanied them on a field trip to Washington DC to learn about the U.S. Government and Civics. This is just one of many examples of how Allen goes out of his way to engage students and open their minds to a way of learning that has a lasting impact.
Honored by the McGill Family
A proud Cal State Fullerton Titan graduate, Helen finds the strengths within each of her third-graders at Olinda Elementary School to encourage, challenge, and help them thrive. Through her kindness, patience, and a great sense of humor, Helen makes learning fun and fosters her students’ love of math and reading. Congratulations Helen!