Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year

August 17, 2017

ACSA is honoring this year’s Administrator of the Year Award recipients, and each is being profiled in EdCal leading up to the formal awards gala at the 2017 Leadership Summit in San Jose.


Becoming a leader in education: Julianne Hoefer, Director of Educational Services, Fountain Valley SD

Stewarding a culture of learning and sharing with the community being served is a well-known component of good educational leadership. It is also Julianne Hoefer’s specialty.

When she arrived at the Fountain Valley School District as principal of Cox Elementary, she revolutionized the school, focusing on 21st century learning, technology and the use of data. After being promoted to district director, she spread this revolution across all 10 schools under her purview. Her ability to transform instructional programs resulted in three California Distinguished School Awards, two National Blue Ribbon nominations and eight Gold Ribbon program awards. It also landed her recognition as ACSA’s 2017 Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year.

Hoefer never intended to be a school administrator.

“I became a school administrator a bit by chance,” Hoefer said. “I really wanted to teach at the university level and had no intention of being an administrator. Fortunately, I was talked into becoming first an assistant principal and later a principal. I caught the leadership ‘bug’ and there was no going back.”

She is quick to highlight the vital role that teamwork played in her evolution to administrator.

“The only reason I am an administrator today is because of my first staff,” Hoefer said. “They taught me about the power of shared leadership. They focused on the whole child and owned student achievement. They came to me with ideas and when I made mistakes. I loved working with them, a team of teachers committed to make a difference in the lives of students. Everyone wants to be part of a team and I had found mine.”

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Her passion for working with teachers and making a difference in the lives of students hasn’t wavered since her first foray into educational leadership. Looking at her track record, it is easy to see that evidenced in her work.

In her current role as director of Educational Services, Hoefer single-handedly manages all state and federal programs district-wide. Her attitude toward her accomplishments is humble, prioritizing students and educators first.

“What I am proud of accomplishing thus far is what I have learned through the grapevine about what the teachers said when I left my last principalship,” she said. “I am a people person whose passion is kids and who believes my role as a leader is to inspire groups to achieve more than they expected.”

While appreciative of this ACSA honor, Hoefer said it’s all about the students for her.

“While I am humbled and appreciate the recognition of this award, the truth of the matter is that making a difference in the lives of students is reward enough,” she said.

For Hoefer, ACSA has been instrumental in her own personal development, allowing her to expand her leadership capacity in each successive role. She has completed several ACSA Academies and encouraged several other leaders to do the same. She is a passionate advocate for students when it comes to legislation and has testified before the State Board of Education. She is a regular participant in Legislative Action Days and has participated in the ACSA endorsement sub-committee. She has been a member of the state Board of Directors and currently co-chairs the new Leadership Development Committee.

“ACSA has been instrumental in my career,” Hoefer said. “I joined ACSA as a student before I even had an administrative position. Over the years, ACSA has provided professional growth through the many academies I have taken (curriculum and instruction, personnel, superintendent, categorical, and innovative technology) and conferences I have attended. I also have developed an incredible cadre of colleagues up and down the state. The networking and connection with other administrators is priceless.”

The theme of the upcoming Leadership Summit is “Leading Beyond Limits,” an idea that Hoefer clearly embodies.

“I had the opportunity when I was an assistant principal to work with an incredible special education teacher,” she said. “She taught the students with the most intensive needs in the district. Where most would see limits, she saw possibility.

“I remember she had a student whose initial preschool IEP included information that made it seem unlikely that the student would ever walk or talk and definitely not read. During his time with the teacher, he began walking and speaking through assistive technology. What was most remarkable was that the teacher continued to make the impossible, possible and she taught the student to read. Over time his reading skills continued to improve and he transitioned from the severe SDC class to the moderate SDC. This teacher taught me that anything is possible when a team of committed individuals sets out to make a difference in the lives of students.”

It is clear that Julianne Hoefer took that lesson to heart, as she set about to make a real difference in the lives of all of the students and educators that she has influenced along the way.


All ACSA Administrators of the Year will be honored at the President’s Gala and Awards Celebration during Leadership Summit in San Jose, Nov. 3. To register, go to www.acsa.org/leadershipsummit.

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