Statewide Awards Program

2017 State Awardees will be announced on Monday, March 27.

Check here or in your March 27 edition of EdCal for a complete list of the 2017 ACSA Award recipients, including Administrators of the Year.

The list of 2017 Every Student Succeeding honorees is available now.

Join us in celebrating Every Student Succeeding

Watch a new feature video in our 19-part series every Monday beginning in June. See the full stories and watch the videos of this year's extraordinary students on our Videos page, on Facebook and on YouTube. Watch Now

Program Overview

About ACSA's 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.

Complete Award Overview

  • 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.

Contact Us

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

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.
Information about the 2017 award will be available later this year.

During ACSA's Negotiators' Symposium, an outstanding ACSA Human Resources administrator will be awarded the Negotiator of the Year Award. Information about the 2018 award will be available late this year.

Contact Margaret Arthofer in ACSA Educational Services with any questions about the Ray Curry Award and Negotiator of the Year.

Award Recipients

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.

Thomas DeLapp
President, Communication Resources for Schools
Region 2

Marcus Foster Memorial Award for
Administrator Excellence

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.

Sandra Thorstenson
Superintendent, Whittier Union High 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. Recipients of this award receive a $5,000 grant for the nonprofit, tax-exempt charity of his or her choice.

Glen Ishiwata
Region 8

Partners in Educational Excellence

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

Napa County Digital Early Learning Program
Region 4

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
Region 12

Administrators of the Year

Superintendent of the Year
Dr. Deborah A. Flores

Gilroy Unified School District
Region 8

Secondary Principal of the Year
Dr. Gina Zietlow

Principal, Gahr High School
ABC Unified School District
Region 14

Middle Grades Principal of the Year
Jay Adams

Principal, Masuda Middle School
Fountain Valley School District
Region 17

Elementary Principal of the Year
Liz Herbstreith

Principal, Ralph Dunlap Elementary School
Orcutt Union School District
Region 13

Central Office Administrator of the Year
Gigi Patrick

Chief Human Resources Officer
Vallejo City Unified School District
Region 4

Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year
Carrie Schwartz

Assistant Principal, North Hollywood High School
Los Angeles Unified School District
Region 16

Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year
Theodore Cribari

Assistant Principal, Capri Elementary School
Campbell Union School District
Region 8

Classified Leader of the Year
Judy Miller

Director, Risk Management & Environmental Safety
Perris Union High School District
Region 19

Confidential Employee of the Year
Traci Fullerton

Superintendent's Secretary
Central Union School District
Region 11

Personnel/Human Resources Administrator of the Year
Shawn Tennenbaum

Human Resources Director
San Benito High School District
Region 10

Adult Education Administrator of the Year
Carol Waxman

Petaluma Adult School,
Petaluma City Schools
Region 4

Career Technical Education Administrator of the Year
Bill Edminster

Director of Tulare Adult School and Principal,
Tulare Joint Union High School District
Region 11

Special Education Administrator of the Year
Heather DiFede

Senior Director, East County SELPA
San Diego County Office of Education
Region 18

Superintendent/Principal of the Year
Don Clark

Eastern Sierra Unified School District
Region 11

Business Services Administrator of the Year
Vincent Christakos

Assistant Superintendent, Business Services,
Hemet Unified School District
Region 19

Pupil Personnel Administrator of the Year
Jane Mills

Director, Student Services
Palm Springs Unified School District
Region 19

Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year
Stephanie Pierce

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Santee School District
Region 18

Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the Year
Jan Gordon

Principal, Argus Continuation High School/Endeavor Alternative Center
Ceres Unified School District
Region 7

Retired Administrator of the Year
Rick Light

Region 2

Technology Administrator of the Year
Diana Nardi

Coordinator, Testing and Assessment
Palmdale Elementary School District
Region 15

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

Download an archive of all past state ACSA Awards recipients.

Every Student Succeeding

2017 Every Student Succeeding Honorees

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
  • At-risk
  • Bilingual
  • Continuation School

Nomination Process

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.

Download the nomination form.


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:

Attn: Emily Senecal, ACSA Awards Program
1029 J Street, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814
916.329.3833 | Fax: 916.596.9556


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

Nomination forms for 2018 will be available by Sept. 1.

2017 Nomination Forms

  • 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.
  • 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.

Help & Resources

For additional help, contact the awards coordinator.

  • Sample Admin of the Year Nomination #1—All Categories EXCEPT H, I, S, T, U
    Download this helpful sample of an Administrator of the Year nomination form with required criteria explanation.
  • Sample Admin of the Year Nomination #2—Categories H, I, S, T, U
    Download a sample Administrator of the Year nomination applicable for Classified Leader, Confidential Employee, Professor of Ed, Retired Administrator and Technology Administrator. (These categories have special standards to address, rather than the standard criteria.)
  • Awards Program Overview
    Download a PDF copy of the program overview, with information on each of the award categories.