ACSA announces 2020 award recipients

March 30, 2020
Each year, 21 Administrators of the Year awards and five special awards are given to outstanding California educational leaders and school-community partnership programs. ACSA’s 19 regions play a critical role in facilitating the awards, communicating with their members and charters and selecting state finalists to submit to the Awards Committee. The 2020 committee, chaired by Past President Holly Edds and served by current Board members Robert Frausto, Juan Cruz, Shelton Yip and Daniel Herndandez, reviewed close to 300 finalist nominations between Feb. 6 and March 9, when they met to select this year’s recipients. “There are so many dedicated and deserving educational leaders in our state, narrowing the honorees to just one from each category was a true challenge for the committee,” Edds said. “Thank you to the honorees as well as those who nominated them, you made our task a difficult one but also one that shone a spotlight on the amazing work in our schools and communities on behalf of our students.” The 2020 recipients will be featured in EdCal later this summer and honored at the Leadership Summit Statewide Awards Ceremony, taking place Nov. 6 in San Diego. ACSA congratulates the exceptional achievements of all of this year’s nominees, regional winners and state recipients, and is proud to honor their service to education. 2020 Special Awards Ferd. Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award Diann Kitamura, Superintendent, Santa Rosa City Schools, Region 4 Marcus Foster Memorial Award for Administrator Excellence Catherine Kawaguchi, Superintendent, Sulphur Springs Union School District, Region 15 Robert E. Kelly Award Nancy Smith, Region 15 Partners in Educational Excellence Award UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind, Region 16 Valuing Diversity Award 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 Keep up to date on award news and information at

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