One of ACSA's priorities is to ensure that school leaders are recognized for their excellence. Through our annual awards program, we honor students, administrators and community organizations for their achievements and their dedication to public education.
Join us in celebrating 20 years of Every Student Succeeding!
Beginning June 20, watch a new feature video in our 21-part series every Monday. See the full stories and watch the videos of this year's extraordinary students on our Videos page, on Facebook and on Youtube.
- 2016 Award Recipients have been announced! Read the complete list
- Awardees will be recognized at the 2016 Leadership Summit in San Diego, CA:
Every Student Succeeding Luncheon: Nov. 10. Awards Celebration/Dinner: Nov. 11.
Individual tickets for both events will be available later this year.
- Download nomination forms for the 2017 Awards Program.
Awards Program Overview
Nominations forms are available in fall for the following year's program, due to each region by its deadline. The regional awards committees meet to select their nominees for the state awards in December and January, and the state committee convenes in spring to select that year's recipients. This year's honorees were announced in March, and will be featured in EdCal articles throughout summer and fall and honored at the Leadership Summit in November.
- Each year ACSA recognizes a select group of individuals for their significant contributions to education through three prestigious awards named in memory of past ACSA leaders: Ferd. Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award, Marcus Foster Memorial Award for Administrator Excellence and Robert E. Kelly Award.
- In addition, members are honored for outstanding performance and achievement as Administrators of the Year in 21 job-alike categories.
- The Valuing Diversity Award is given to the member whose efforts to promote diversity epitomize ACSA’s mission statement.
- Programs and businesses that collaborate with administrators in support of education are also recognized though the Partners in Educational Excellence Award.
- ACSA also recognizes the extraordinary achievements of students through the Every Student Succeeding Program.
Ray Curry Award and Negotiator of the Year
The ACSA Human Resources Council Personnel Institute Committee presents the Ray Curry Award annually to an outstanding human resources/personnel administrator.
The award will be presented on Oct. 6 in Sacramento at 2016 Personnel Institute.
During ACSA's Negotiators' Symposium, an outstanding ACSA Human Resources administrator will be awarded the Negotiator of the Year Award. The 2017 nomination form and more information about the award will be available this fall.
Contact Margaret Arthofer in ACSA Educational Services with any questions about the Ray Curry Award and Negotiator of the Year.
2016 Award Recipients
ACSA is proud to recognize the 2016 state award honorees. We offer our sincerest congratulation to all of this year's nominees, who without exception represent the excellence and commitment of California's educators.
Ferd Kiesel Memorial
Distinguished Service Award
The Ferd. Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award is ACSA's highest honor. Each year, we honor one individual who has made a significant contribution to education. The award is named after Ferd. Kiesel, ACSA founding president, a man whose personal commitment to schools and students-and to this association-was exemplary.
Communication Resources for Schools
Marcus Foster Memorial Award for
ACSA established the Marcus Foster Memorial Award to honor educators who model the vision of Marcus Foster vision. Foster took risks to improve educational opportunities. His inclusive management style gave community and staff comfort and confidence. He was creative, and willing to try new ideas to reach out to students. Foster was a skilled manager of change. Recipients of this award receive a $5,000 grant for a designated high school senior or seniors.
Whittier Union High School District
Robert E. Kelly Award
ACSA's Robert E. Kelly Award honors individuals who help advance the high quality of public education and who have made significant contributions on a volunteer basis over the years. Recipients of this award receive a $5,000 grant for the nonprofit, tax-exempt charity of his or her choice.
Partners in Educational Excellence
ACSA's Partners in Educational Excellence Award recognizes exemplary school-community partnership programs.
Napa County Digital Early Learning Program
Valuing Diversity Award
ACSA's Valuing Diversity Award recognizes those who further ACSA's mission by promoting diversity and support for all children, parents and staff.
Dr. Shelley Holt
Deputy Chief of Student Services
Fontana Unified School District
2016 Administrators of the Year
Superintendent of the YearDeborah Flores
Gilroy Unified School District
Secondary Principal of the YearDr. Gina Zietlow
Principal, Gahr High School
ABC Unified School District
Middle Grades Principal of the YearJay Adams
Principal, Masuda Middle School
Fountain Valley School District
Elementary Principal of the YearLiz Herbstreith
Principal, Ralph Dunlap Elementary School
Orcutt Union School District
Central Office Administrator of the YearGigi Patrick
Chief Human Resources Officer
Vallejo City Unified School District
Secondary Co-Administrator of the YearCarrie Schwartz
Assistant Principal, North Hollywood High School
Los Angeles Unified School District
Elementary Co-Administrator of the YearTheodore Cribari
Assistant Principal, Capri Elementary School
Campbell Union School District
Classified Leader of the YearJudy Miller
Director, Risk Management & Environmental Safety
Perris Union High School District
Confidential Employee of the YearTraci Fullerton
Central Union School District
Personnel/Human Resources Administrator of the YearShawn Tennenbaum
Human Resources Director
San Benito High School District
Adult Education Administrator of the YearCarol Waxman
Petaluma Adult School,
Petaluma City Schools
Career Technical Education Administrator of the YearBill Edminster
Director of Tulare Adult School and Principal,
Tulare Joint Union High School District
Special Education Administrator of the YearHeather DiFede
Senior Director, East County SELPA
San Diego County Office of Education
Superintendent/Principal of the YearDon Clark
Eastern Sierra Unified School District
Business Services Administrator of the YearVincent Christakos
Assistant Superintendent, Business Services,
Hemet Unified School District
Pupil Personnel Administrator of the YearJane Mills
Director, Student Services
Palm Springs Unified School District
Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the YearStephanie Pierce
Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Santee School District
Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the YearJan Gordon
Principal, Argus Continuation High School/Endeavor Alternative Center
Ceres Unified School District
Retired Administrator of the YearRick Light
Technology Administrator of the YearDiana Nardi
Coordinator, Testing and Assessment
Palmdale Elementary School District
For information on regional award recipients, please visit our Regions section to find each region's individual web site.
ACSA believes every student deserves equal opportunities to succeed. On every school day throughout California, dedicated educators and courageous students overcome tremendous obstacles to reach their goals of academic excellence. Their success is our success; their powerful stories are our inspiration.
ACSA's Every Student Succeeding program honors students who exceed our expectations and the educators who support them along the way. We are proud to highlight these young men and women who have overcome great obstacles to succeed. They face life's challenges head on. Their stories are remarkable and their futures are bright.
The purpose of this award is to honor students at all grade levels who have succeeded, against all odds, beyond expectations or simply won the hearts of the administrators and other educators who helped them achieve their goals. One student from each region will be honored.
The success of these students should be tied to the work of ACSA administrators and requires background information about how an ACSA member has contributed to the student's success.
We know that other educators will also have made significant contributions to their support, including board members, teachers, guardians, community members, etc.
Nominees should be students who have made a special effort to succeed and have overcome obstacles such as:
- Returning to school
- Leaving a gang
- Improving their attendance
- Changing their attitude
- Overcoming physical and mental barriers
They should also be active in:
- After-school programs
- Community service
- Student conflict resolution
- Cross-age tutoring
- Peer mediation
- Peer tutoring
Nominees can come from programs such as:
- Adult Education
- Alternative Education
- Continuation School
Nominations must be sent directly to the nominee's region. Each region will select one winner and honor them at region events throughout the year. Nomination forms are available for download under Nomination Forms.
Contact your region president or check your region's web site for the region deadline. The deadline for submission of 2017 recipient information to state ACSA by region presidents will be in March 2017. Regions, please send your completed student nomination form (only one student recipient per region) to the state ACSA Awards Program coordinator:
Students will be honored at ACSA's Leadership Summit in November, as well as at various regional events. ACSA will actively publicize award recipients through the news media, and ACSA's website, publications and social media channels.
Nomination forms for 2017 are available now.
Download the PDF nomination forms below. The forms should be filled in electronically. Handwritten forms are NOT recommended.
Nomination instructions and criteria for each award can be found at the top of the nomination form. Be sure to follow all the instructions carefully and submit nominations to your regions by the region deadline.
Submit state ACSA award nominations and region packets to:
Attn: Emily Senecal, ACSA Awards Program
1029 J Street, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814
Submit via online form or fax to 916.596.9556
- Download All Nomination Forms
Download a PDF containing all 7 of ACSA's 2017 nomination forms and the award program overview. Individual forms available below. *Open in Adobe Reader or Acrobat to view attached forms.*
- Administrator of the Year Nomination Form
ACSA membership required. The Administrator of the Year awards recognize outstanding and achievement by individual administrators, classified managers or confidential employees in 21 job-alike categories.
- Instructions for Administrator of the Year Nominations
Step-by-step instructions for filling out the Administrator of the Year nomination form, including a one-page checklist.
- Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award Nomination Form
The highest honor ACSA can present to an individual, made in honor of Ferd Kiesel, ACSA's founding president.
- Marcus Foster Memorial Award Nomination Form
ACSA membership required. Recognizing outstanding leadership and significant contributions to education by a school administrator.
- Robert E. Kelly Award Nomination Form
ACSA retired membership required. Recognizing an individual who, upon retirement, contributes significantly to public education or educational leadership by volunteer work in his or her community.
- Valuing Diversity Award Nomination Form
ACSA membership required. Given to an administrator who epitomizes ACSA's Mission Statement by his or her efforts in promoting diversity and support for all of the children, parents and staff at their school or district.
- Partners in Educational Excellence Nomination Form
Given annually to exemplary school-community partnership programs that promote effective educational performance, enhanced student achievement and strong community involvement in educational quality.
- Every Student Succeeding Program Nomination Form
Honors students at all grade levels who have succeeded, against all odds, beyond expectations, or simply won the hearts of the administrators and other educators who helped them achieve their goals.
Please see below for downloadable samples, tools and links to online resources designed to assist you in the nomination process.
For more help, contact the awards coordinator.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Read the most commonly asked questions about the Awards Program and nomination process.
- Awards Program Overview
Download a PDF copy of the program overview, with information on each of the award categories.
- Award Nomination Tips Cheat Sheet
Download a PDF cheat sheet of the nomination tips and pitfalls to avoid.
- Instructions for Admin of the Year Nomination
Step-by-step instructions for filling out the Administrator of the Year nomination form, including a one-page checklist.
- Sample Admin of the Year Nomination
Download this helpful sample of an Administrator of the Year nomination form with required criteria explanation.
- Award Recipient Archive
Download an archive of award recipients by year from 1975 to the present.