Honor an Educator Awards

Congratulations to the honorees and thanks to the nominators for their generous support of the College of Education.


2022 Distinguished Award Recipients


Holloway, Amber ‘12 – 2022 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

Amber is a wife, mother of two beautiful children, and a passionate educator. 

Amber has inspired young people for the past 18 years as a math and science teacher in the Compton Unified School District. When she is not teaching in the classroom, Amber mentors youth as a basketball director and, for the past 20 years, has worked with high school students in USC’s summer and residential life programs. 

Amber thrives off of the intrinsic values life provides. In addition to her many accomplishments, her most admirable moments consist of being a surrogate to two wonderful families.

Amber completed the College of Education’s Educational Technology master’s program in January 2012 and has stayed engaged with the College of Education ever since. During the pandemic, Amber helped coordinate a successful virtual tutoring program. This program allowed us to support our community as K-12 children and their parents struggled to adapt to virtual learning. This program also helped our credential candidates get more experience and hours in the field so they could complete their credential during a very unique and challenging year. She ensured there were processes in place for the community to sign up to receive services and for our teacher candidates to volunteer. She trained the teacher candidates, and provided hours of technical, professional and emotional support to ensure they were fully prepared to work with the K-12 students. This program supports the College’s strategic goals, especially in regards to community engagement and technology and it would not have happened without her leadership. We commend Amber’s longstanding commitment to education and are proud to call her a Titan.



Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E – 2022 Distinguished Education Excellence Award 

The Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education) program was developed by the Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club in 2005 with the goal of providing essential resources and quality academic experiences for students in the greater Orange County community. Thanks to generous funding from the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, all programming is free of charge to participants. 

Each Ducks S.C.O.R.E. initiative uses hockey to teach concepts as they relate to language arts, S.T.E.A.M. education, physical education, and social/emotional learning. Over 60,000 students and nearly 1,500 educators benefit from some type of S.C.O.R.E. provided resource annually. 

While the betterment of student academic experience is a primary objective, the Ducks believe that investing in educators is the key to the continued success of these initiatives.  Innovative partnerships, like the First Flight Field Trip and CSUF College of Education collaboration, are essential to providing resources and experiences for current and future teachers. 

The Anaheim Ducks are proud to partner with CSUF and celebrate our shared vision of making Orange County better through our commitment to education.



Newport-Mesa Unified School District – 2022 Distinguished Education Partner Award

Over the past six years, Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Summer Language Academy, spearheaded by Laura Dale-Pash and Vanessa Galey, has engaged more than 175 newcomer and emergent plurilingual students in arts- and literacy-rich explorations of identity, language and culture.  As part of this month-long summer enrichment program, middle and high school students from 12 countries and 8 language groups collaborate with pre-service teachers from CSUF and district-based educators to read and create multi-lingual autobiographies, graphic novels, poetry, and art.  This partnership provides opportunities for students and educators to stretch their linguistic repertoires, and practice using their plurilingual voices to share their stories, their aspirations, and their vision for a more just, equitable and inclusive world.



No Limits Creative Arts – 2022 Distinguished Education Community Partner Award 

Our story begins with a little boy with a disability who wanted to dance and perform like his older sister.  Carla Hutchison had over 20 years of experience teaching dance to kids of all ages and knew she could offer a place where children with disabilities could dance as well. 

Like many mothers, Carla wanted the best for her son.  So, she developed a program where students would have the tools and structure to help them succeed in the arts and in life.  She saw a tremendous opportunity to create an inclusive environment by involving the greater community and inviting support from peer mentors.   

It has been almost 10 years since the inception of No Limits. During that time No Limits is hosted in 4 different studios in 3 different counties as well as providing 13 classes weekly for the 50+ students who are now enrolled in the Fall sessions.  Classes have expanded as well with students enrolled in Dance, Yoga, Voice, Musical Theatre, Tumbling and Art.

Students who have been part of the No Limits program have gained the confidence to join and be a part of the general population outside and within their own schools.  Many of those students have joined their school choir, theater and Associated Student Body.  

No Limits was a vision to help one little boy see his dreams and has managed to help numerous children realize that their abilities are truly unlimited.



Mendez, Sylvia – 2022 Distinguished Education Leadership Award 

Civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez is the oldest daughter of Gonzalo Mendez, a Mexican immigrant, and Felicitas Mendez, a Puerto Rican, who challenged segregation so that she and other Latino children could be provided the same quality education provided to white students. Her parents were plaintiffs in the landmark Mendez v. Westminster School District (1947) case that paved the way for Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and ended school segregation in California. 

In 1943 in Westminster, California, students of Mexican descent were required to enroll in segregated and inferior schools known as "Mexican Schools." When Sylvia was in the third grade, she and her brothers, Gonzalo, Jr. and Jerome, were denied admission to the “white” school near their Westminster home. The Mendez family, along with four other Latino families, fought to integrate the school. Mendez won in the Federal court in 1946, then again in appeal 1947, and helped make California the first state in the nation to end school segregation. Seven years later, Mendez served as significant precedent for the NAACP in its US Supreme Court school desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education. 

Miss Mendez, who still resides in Orange County, attended Cal State Los Angeles, earning a BS in Nursing. She worked 33 years as a nurse at the Los Angeles USC Medical Center, becoming Assistant Nursing Director of the Pediatric Pavilion. Since Miss Mendez retired, she has traveled to all seven continents and visited over 60 countries. 

Miss Mendez and her family have received numerous awards and recognitions, including a US Postage stamp commemorating the 60th anniversary of the appellate victory; public schools are named after Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez; there are now public schools that are name after her as well; a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the National Parent Teacher Association; the US Congress Civil Rights Champion Award; two books written about the life of Sylvia Mendez and another about the lawsuit; and two documentaries: the Emmy-winning film Mendez v. Westminster: For All the Children/Para Todos Los Niños by Sandra Robbie and Mendez v. Westminster: Families for Equality by Erica Bennett. 

On February 15, 2011, President Barack Obama presented Sylvia Mendez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. 

Sylvia continues the legacy left by her parents by fighting for quality education and by encouraging students to stay in school. 

Currently Sylvia and her family are among the participants in the story of “Courage: The Vision to End Segregation. The Guts to Fight For It”. This unique exhibition, which includes ‘Para Todos Los Niños /For All the Children’ is at the Museum of Tolerance located in Los Angeles, CA.



Bonfil, Jennifer

Honored by Annie Song 

Jenn is a southern California-based modern dancer and dance educator. She earned her BFA in dance performance at Chapman University and then went on to complete her MA in dance education through the University of Northern Colorado. Driven by her passion for dance education, Jenn has taught at West Coast Conservatory of Ballet, Chapman University, Cal State Long Beach, and Santa Ana College. In 2006 she joined The Wooden Floor, a creative youth development organization that empowers low-income youth through dance and access to higher education. Jenn has served as The Wooden Floor’s Dance Education & Curriculum Specialist since 2017. 

Jenn is passionate, patient, kind, and engaging. She sets high standards for her students yet reminds them to laugh, play, have fun, and make mistakes, too.  With Jenn’s loving guidance, the students become confident in their ability not just to dance, but to do their best in school and in life. 



Briete, Jenna

Honored by Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E

We are pleased to honor Jenna Breite for her exceptional contributions to the educational community in Fullerton. An athlete and graduate of CSUF, Mrs. Breite made an impact on the university and the city of Fullerton long before she entered the classroom. Later, as a teacher at Hermosa Drive Elementary, she oversaw the expansion of STEAM programming and access for students throughout the school. Her passion for STEAM runs slightly ahead of her love of sport. As coach and later player, Mrs. Breite embraced a partnership with the Anaheim Ducks to use hockey as a mechanism not only for physical education, but to reinforce the importance of literacy, social-emotional learning, and science education. Her impact as a classroom educator translated into a successful tenure as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) within the Fullerton School District and now as Vice Principal at Valencia Park Elementary School. Mrs. Breite is a mentor, coach, thoughtful peer, and an exceptional educator. The Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program is proud to recognize Jenna Breite. 


Centeno, Michelle

Honored by Teacher Created Materials 

Michelle Centeno is a perfect example of what an educator in today’s world should look like. She deeply cares for everyone in her district and it shows in how she interacts and provides for them. Michelle is relentless when it comes to making sure the students of Buena Park School District have the absolute best learning experience and are given every opportunity to succeed. She treats students and faculty alike with the utmost respect, and deeply values the opinions of those around her, always willing to collaborate and listen, so that the students’ success and well-being remains the top priority. Time and time again, Michelle exemplifies what being a true educator and leader is all about. 


Chapman, Joanne and Salcido, Carla

Honored by Dr. Rosario Ordoñez-Jasis and Mrs. Kathi Angus

We are honoring Joanne and Carla for their work with the Hazel Miller Croy Reading Center. They stepped into their roles as Director and Associate Director at the beginning of the pandemic and immediately embraced the many challenges as opportunities. Together they created and developed multiple virtual programs to meet growing needs of the community, including a summer reading incentive program, an academic success tutoring program, and a virtual reading intervention program. All of these programs facilitated online learning and provided social and emotional support to students struggling during the pandemic. Launching these programs to meet immediate needs required developing new teaching strategies, curriculum, and training for staff and volunteers. Due to Joanne and Carla’s creativity and hard work, the Reading Center was able to expand its impact dramatically at a time when assistance was most needed. 


Flores Gautreau, Dr. Cynthia – 2023 College of Education Distinguished Faculty Member

Honored by College of Education Leadership 

Dr. Flores Gautreau is the current Director of Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology (MSIDT), Director of the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Center for Creativity & Critical Thinking, and Professor of Elementary and Bilingual Education. 

During her time at CSUF she has published 18 high-quality scholarly and peer-reviewed articles, presented at over 20 conferences, and been awarded 14 internal and externally funded grants. Since she began leading the MSIDT program in 2016, she has increased enrollment by 500%. In addition, as the Director for the Schools First Federal Credit Union Center for Creativity and Critical Thinking, she provides professional development to K-12 teachers. Over the past few years, she has curated over 80 online webinars to support teachers’ development. She filled a dire need during the pandemic when teachers were unprepared to teach online and support their students.


Hubbard, Dr. Vaniethia

Honored by Dr. Linda Rose

Dr. Hubbard is a proud alumna of Cal State Fullerton. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, Community College Specialization from CSUF. I met Dr. Hubbard in 2016, during my service as President of Santa Ana College, when she applied for the position of Vice President of Student Services. Dr. Hubbard competed successfully, was hired, and currently serves as the Vice President of Student Services. With over 21 years of experience in P-12 and Community Colleges, her passion for teaching and learning continue to be strengthened. Her commitment to CSUF is ongoing as she has served on three Ed Leadership Dissertation Committees, and she will be teaching a course in the MSHE Program in the College of Education, during the spring 2023 semester titled the History and Function of the Community College. Dr. Hubbard has led regional and statewide initiatives through her appointment to serve on Advisory Boards, Task Force and other Committees created by the California Community College Chancellors Office. For example, Dr. Hubbard was recently appointed to serve as the statewide Chief Student Service Officer, Executive Board and selected to serve as a representative on the Community College League of California’s Advisory Committee on Legislation. Dr. Hubbard is a champion for students by consistently, and deliberately engaging with faculty, administrators, and staff to transform and improve the services provided to support students and their families for generations. Dr. Hubbard’s engagement to advance equitable, just, and inclusive initiatives extends beyond dialogue with students to a position of awareness and action. Again, it is a pleasure to honor Dr. Hubbard for her continued work as an excellent educator! 


Hanh Nguyen, Nancy 

Honored by Advance Beauty College

Nancy is an alumni of Advance Beauty College. After her graduation, she started her career as a nail technician and later returned to the school to enroll in the teacher training program. During her time in this program, she excelled as a student and demonstrated her potential to be an outstanding educator. The school recognized not only her impressive ability to teach bilingual English and Vietnamese but also to successfully manage a classroom. Because of her abilities as well as her devotion students, she was hired as a manicuring and esthetician instructor. After 6 years of diligently working and contributing, she has proven to be a patient and dedicated educator sharing her knowledge in creative ways. She also incorporates technology in the classroom through activities like Quizlet; a game composed of student teams with prizes to make learning fun and engaging. Her lesson plans are relevant, easy to comprehend and encourage class participation. With her support, students are successful in passing their State Board Examinations and are excellent at hands-on procedures when working with clients. In 2018, she was awarded the title of "Outstanding Teaching Professional'' by Dermalogica. She is an excellent educator that is beloved by her students and coworkers. She continues to work hard to elevate the next generation of beauty professionals. 


Nguyen, Suong

Honored by Advance Beauty College 

Suong received her Bachelors in Linguistics from Quy Nhon University in 1995 and became an educator straight out of college. She went on to earn her Master's degree from Hanoi National University and was chosen by the Ministry of Education to be trained in New Zealand to be an educator for Advanced projects. In 2015, she immigrated to the United States with her husband and two sons. She enrolled in the Cosmetology program at Advance Beauty College and eventually graduated and returned to become an instructor in 2016. Two years later, she received the Expert certificate from Dermalogica and began to study Barbering.  Currently, Suong is licensed to teach Cosmetology, Barbering, Manicuring and Esthetics in both English and Vietnamese. Her skills were invaluable during the pandemic as Suong was instrumental in helping Advance Beauty College transition to an online educational platform by creating digital lesson plans for all courses in both English and Vietnamese. She possesses both theoretical and practical skills to help students succeed in the beauty industry. Advance Beauty College is fortunate to have Suong Nguyen as part of our team. Congratulations, Suong! 


Sosa, Laura

Honored by The Sieven Family 

The Sieven Family wants to thank and recognize Laura Sosa for her tremendous work as the Principal of Killybrooke Elementary in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.  With an equal focus on academic success and personal development, Laura is making an everyday difference in the lives of the more than 400 students she helps to guide at Killybrooke.  Becoming Principal in the middle of COVID was no easy task, but Laura handled it was kindness, grace, and determination.  She is committed to serving every student and their family and is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure their needs are met.  She is a compassionate and strong leader who advocates for her students and staff.  We feel so fortunate that Laura is leading our school and our family is so thankful to Laura for all she does to support our students and community.  


Sawyer, Sue

Honored by Dr. Nancy Watkins

Sue Sawyer is an experienced professional educator with a record of improving student participation through strategic event planning and implementation. She is an inclusive educator who uses multiple modalities to engage students in Video/Media Production and Managerial Arts and consistently strives to improve educational experiences for all students. Ms. Sawyer spearheads the Career Technical Education (CTE) Stakeholder group for Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District and brings educational partners and industry together to improve CTE education for all students. A noteworthy accomplishment is Ms. Sawyer's creation and production of the annual district forum known as “EMPOWERED: Women in Industry”. EMPOWERED brings together a dynamic panel of women to discuss careers and inspire the next generation of female leaders through 21st-century learning. She is an educator to be honored!