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

  • Nov. 9: 2018 State Awards Ceremony at the Leadership Summit in San Diego.
  • Jan. 17: 2019 nominations due by 11:59 p.m.
  • Feb. 7: Regions submit 2019 state finalists by 11:59 p.m.

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 demo of ACSA's online nomination platform (14 min.)

Statewide Award Recipients

2018 Statewide Award Recipients

ACSA is proud to recognize the 2018 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.

2018 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.

Elliott Duchon
Superintendent, Jurupa Unified School District
Region 19

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.

Stacy Love Bryant
Deputy Superintendent, Palmdale 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.

Laurel Olsen
Region 8

Partners in Educational Excellence

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

Footsteps2Brilliance Literacy Partnership
Region 12

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.

Manuel Colón
Chief Academic Officer, Educational Services,
Anaheim Union High School District
Region 17


2018 Administrators of the Year


Superintendent of the Year

Mary McNeil
Superintendent, Needles Unified School District
Region 12


Secondary Principal of the Year

Mark Anderson
Secondary Principal, Marshal Fundamental, Pasadena Unified School District
Region 15


Middle Grades Principal of the Year

Manuel Nunez
Principal, Seaside Middle School, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Region 10


Elementary Principal of the Year

Beverly Hayes
Principal, Olivewood Elementary, National School District Region 18


Central Office Administrator of the Year

Jennifer Williams
Executive Director Administrative Services, Fullerton Joint Union High School District
Region 17


Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year

Katie Salo
Assistant Principal, Mt. Carmel High School, Poway Unified School District
Region 18


Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year

Shane Hulin
Assistant Principal, Sinclear Elementary School, Ceres Unified School District
Region 7

Classified Leader of the Year

Tamara Neely
Director, Classified Professional Learning, Fresno Unified School District
Region 9


Confidential Employee of the Year

Marlene Moreno
Administrative Assistant to the County Superintendent, Tulare County Office of Education
Region 11


Personnel/Human Resources Administrator
of the Year

Steven Hovey
Chief Personnel Officer/Associate Superintendent, Riverside County Office of Education
Region 19


Adult Education Administrator of the Year

Rocky Bettar
Director of Adult Education/Career Preparation, Rowland Adult and Community Education (RACE) Center, Rowland Unified School District
Region 15


Career Technical Education Administrator
of the Year

Rhonda Buss
Director of Secondary Schools, ABC Unified School District
Region 14


Special Education Administrator of the Year

Charity Plaxton-Hennings
Director of Mental Health and Psychological Services, Secondary Special Education, Riverside Unified School District
Region 19


Superintendent/Principal of the Year

Natalie Miller
Superintendent/Principal, Latrobe Union Elementary School District
Region 2

Business Services Administrator of the Year

Sheldon K. Smith, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent, San Luis Obispo County
Office of Education
Region 13


Student Services Administrator of the Year

Cynthia Guerrero
Director, Child, Welfare, and Attendance, Huntington Beach City School District
Region 17


Curriculum and Instruction Administrator
of the Year

David Bowling
Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Instruction, Wasco Union Elementary School District
Region 11


Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the Year

Amos Nugent III
Principal, Community Collaborative Charter School (CCCS) North Sacramento, Gateway
Community Charters
Region 3


Professor of Education of the Year

Keith Larick
Doctoral Program Chair, Brandman University
Region 3


Retired Administrator of the Year

Steve Bailey
Region 13


Technology Administrator of the Year

Phil Benfield
Director, Information Systems Center, Santa Clara County Office of Education
Region 8


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.

Nomination Forms

2019 Every Student Succeeding

2019 Statewide Awards Program

  • 2019 Award Nominations
    All ACSA awards program nominations need to be submitted through the online platform by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019.