Statewide Awards Program

Program Overview

ACSA Statewide Awards Program

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.

Program Overview:

  • State Special Awards: (state level only)
    – Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award
    – Marcus Foster Memorial Award for Administrator Excellence
  • Special Awards: (region and state levels)
    – Valuing Diversity Award
    – Partners in Educational Excellence Award
    – Robert E. Kelly Award
  • Administrators of the Year (region and state levels)
  • Every Student Succeeding Program (region and state levels)

Contact Us

ACSA Awards Program
Emily Agpoon, Program Coordinator
1029 J Street, Suite 500 | Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 329-3833 | fax (916) 596-9556


Every Student Succeeding Program

Each year, ACSA recognizes 19 pre-K-adult students, one from each geographic region, as well as two California adult education students, for overcoming the odds and achieving success.


Other ACSA Awards


Program Calendar

  • Aug. 1: 2021 Awards Program nomination window opens.
  • Week of Nov. 2: Online recognition events will be broadcast. Dates to be announced soon.
  • Jan. 14, 2021: Nomination deadline for 2021 awards.


Help & Resources

General program info:

  • Awards Program Overview
    See a snapshot program overview, with information on each of the award categories.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    Read the most commonly asked questions about the program and nomination process, including questions about eligibility and supporting documents.
  • Program Timeline
    View a detailed timeline of the annual awards program from start to finish.

Starting your nomination:

Region manager resources:

For additional help, please contact the awards coordinator.


Watch a training video for ACSA's online nomination platform

Nomination Forms

2021 Every Student Succeeding

2021 Statewide Awards Program

  • 2021 Award Nominations
    The deadline to submit nomination is Thursday, Jan. 14 at 11:59 p.m.

    You can view and access copies of your submitted nominations via the online nomination portal at any time. Just log in and look under My entries on the home screen, using the "Active season" dropdown to search past seasons.

Statewide Award Recipients

2020 Statewide Award Recipients

ACSA is proud to recognize the 2020 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.

2020 Special Awards


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.

Diann Kitamura
Superintendent, Santa Rosa City Schools
Region 4

Marcus Foster Memorial Award for
Administrator Excellence

ACSA established the Marcus Foster Memorial Award to honor educators who model the vision of Marcus Foster. 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.

Catherine Kawaguchi
Superintendent, Sulphur Springs Union
School District
Region 15

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.

Nancy Smith
Region 15

Partners in Educational Excellence

ACSA's Partners in Educational Excellence Award recognizes exemplary school-community partnership programs.

UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind
Region 16

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.

Amy McNamara
Associate Superintendent, Administrative Services, Acalanes Union High School District
Region 6


2020 Administrators of the Year


Superintendent of the Year

Craig Helmstedter
Superintendent, Ocean View School District
Region 13


Secondary Principal of the Year

Matt Bell
Principal, Pacific Grove High School, Pacific Grove Unified School District
Region 10


Middle Grades Principal of the Year

Margaret Nichols
Principal, Kerman Middle School, Kerman Unified School District
Region 9


Elementary Principal of the Year

Chris Christensen
Elementary Principal, Courreges Elementary School, Fountain Valley School District
Region 17


Central Office Administrator of the Year

Gerrie Kincaid
Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Panama-Buena Vista Union School District
Region 11


Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year

Alexander Senar
Assistant Principal, Royal Oak Middle School, Charter Oak Unified School District
Region 15


Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year

Erika Rivera
Assistant Principal, Sundance Elementary School, Beaumont Unified School District
Region 19



Classified Leader of the Year

Hector Gonzalez
Director of Facilities, Perris Union High School District
Region 19


Confidential Employee of the Year

Roberta Cheney
Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, Superintendent's Office, Turlock Unified School District
Region 7


Personnel/Human Resources Administrator
of the Year

Michael Shepherd
Director, Human Resources, Folsom Cordova Unified School District
Region 3


Adult Education Administrator of the Year

Blanca Rochin
Principal, Downey Adult School, Downey Unified School District
Region 14


Career Technical Education Administrator
of the Year

Susan Labrecque
Director, Resource Development and Transition Services, Solano County Office of Education
Region 4


Special Education Administrator of the Year

Anthony Ortiz
Director of Special Education, Ontario- Montclair School District
Region 12


Superintendent/Principal of the Year

Annette Lane
Superintendent/Principal, Pioneer Elementary & Mountain Creek Middle Schools, Pioneer Union School District
Region 2



Business Services Administrator of the Year

Nick Taylor
Chief Business Officer, Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District
Region 9


Student Services Administrator of the Year

D. Chris Calabrese
Director of Student Services, Brentwood Union School District
Region 6


Curriculum & Instruction Administrator
of the Year

Tandy Taylor
Director, Instructional Services, Cypress School District
Region 17


Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the Year

Jose Sanchez
Principal, Del Puerto, Patterson Unified School District
Region 7


Professor of Education of the Year

Andrea Somoza-Norton
Assistant Professor/Coordinator, Educational Leadership and Administration Program, School of Education, College of Science and Mathematics, California Polytechnic State University
Region 13


Retired Administrator of the Year

Judith Rossi
Region 2


Technology Administrator of the Year

Jennifer Burks
Associate Superintendent of Technology and Innovation, Poway Unified School District
Region 18




For information on regional award recipients, please find your Region in the dropdown menu or the map on our Regions page.

Download an archive of all past state ACSA Awards recipients.

Awards Program