Scroll Top

District/school leaders and school programs recognized

District and school leaders and school programs have been receiving local and state recognition these past few months and we want to celebrate them all!

superintendent picard and outstanding educator mary grace votran at the Murphy Awards

Columbia Middle’s Mary Grace Votran named Outstanding Educator at Murphy Awards

Administrators and board members celebrated the recognition of the District’s Outstanding Educator of the Year, Mary Grace Votran, at the 55th annual Murphy Awards held on Feb. 22 by the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce.

Mary Grace first joined the Sunnyvale School District in 2011 as a teacher. She quickly rose to the leadership role of instructional coach, helping veteran teachers hone their skills and share their best teaching practices. She also served as a mentor to new teachers. She returned to the classroom to teach in 2018.

Mary Grace is a rock star in the classroom, and the epitome of a “warm demander.” Students know she cares about them, and that’s because she truly does care about them. She doesn’t tolerate anything less than their best. Mary Grace is responsive to student and staff needs. She has modified the school’s reading intervention program to ensure students are invested and engaged. She created a new English Language Support class for long-term English learners that allow them to practice language skills through topics such as identity, grit, and goals. Other teachers look to Mary Grace as a model and source of support.

Congratulations Ms. Votran!

The Murphy Awards are given in celebration of Sunnyvale’s founder, Martin Murphy, Jr. The awards celebrate Sunnyvale business and community accomplishments that make the city a global leader in technology, innovation, and community spirit.


Ben PicardSuperintendent Benjamin Picard named Superintendent of the Year by ACSA

The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) is the largest umbrella association for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators. One of ACSA’s priorities is to ensure that school leaders are recognized for their excellence. Through its annual awards program, it will honor SSD Superintendent Benjamin Picard as the Superintendent of the Year!

According to ACSA, recipients of the award show strong support for the school management team; exceptional leadership in managing school programs; commitment to educational quality and student achievement; commitment to professional growth; and creativity and innovation in dealing with issues and problems facing public education. Congratulations Dr. Picard for the deserved recognition!




Tasha DeanAssistant Superintendent Tasha Dean recognized as an educational leader by CAAASA and ACSA

The California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) is recognizing Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and Special Education Tasha Dean for her accomplishments as an educational leader in the Sunnyvale School District. She will be honored at CAAASA’s Annual Awards Program reception on March 11, 2020, in Sacramento.

CAAASA is a 501c3 professional educational organization, comprised primarily, but not exclusively, of African American educational leaders, whose goal is to create a more diverse workforce in California schools by implementing strategies to address upward mobility in positions of leadership for people of color.

CAAASA has programs and workshops throughout the year, designed to prepare African American educational leaders to advance in their career goals and ultimately become Superintendents of school districts in California. These programs include the African American Leadership Academy; Aspiring and New Superintendent Academy (held at its annual Statewide Professional Development Summit) and Health and Equity Leadership Institutes covering a variety of critical issued faced by its members.

The awards program occurs during CAAASA’s Annual Statewide Professional Development Summit. This event includes educators from throughout the state, California elected officials and leaders in educational policy, practice and service from throughout the country.


Cumberland Distinguished 2020Cumberland Elementary named a California Distinguished School

Congratulations to Cumberland Elementary School for being named as a 2020 California Distinguished School. Sponsored by the California Department of Education and presented by California Casualty, the program recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for closing the achievement gap and for achieving exceptional student performance.

“These outstanding schools don’t just educate students; they also provide the young people of California the tools they need to be successful after graduation,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a news release. “Thanks go to all the staff at these schools—teachers, administrators, classified employees—and parents, who are working together to provide high-quality educational experiences for all of their students.”

A component of the California School Recognition Program, the Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools based on performance and progress on the state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and conditions and climate. Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years; therefore, awardees hold the title for two years.

These California Distinguished Schools, along with California Exemplary Arts Education Schools, National Blue Ribbon Schools, National Terrel H. Bell Awardees, and National ESEA Distinguished Schools, all were honored on February 10, 2020, during an awards ceremony at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Leave a comment