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 2018 Innovation in Education Awards Winners Include SDCOE Graduate, Executive Director

Margarita Frando, a graduate from the San Diego County Winner Margarita Frando, JCCS studentOffice of Education's (SDCOE) Juvenile Court and Community Schools was announced yesterday as the first-ever winner of the Dr. Rudy Castruita Scholarship Award. This $2,000 scholarship presented by the Classroom of the Future Foundation (CFF) is given to an exceptional JCCS student who has overcome personal struggles, developed into a true student leader, and is pursuing a STEM degree.

Frando, who graduated from JCCS' 37ECB campus in January, is currently enrolled at San Diego Miramar College and is pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse. She is described as an exceptional young woman who has overcome many personal struggles to develop into a true student leader and advocate for others.

The scholarship was presented at CFF's 15th annual Innovation in Education Awards before more than 500 educators and business leaders.

SDCOE's Executive Director of Innovation Dr. Erin English was honored at the event with the 2018 Innovative Educator Award.

"Innovation isn't about technology," said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. "It's about identifying where there are gaps in our existing systems and plugging them, and about creating new supports so every child can gain the skills needed to thrive. I'm pleased to see these districts, schools, and individuals being honored for doing just that."

Following an intensive application and selection process, four classroom programs were recognized at the event for their ability to get students excited about learning and enhance learning outcomes through the effective use of technology. Each classroom awardee received a financial grant of $5,000 to help expand the program in their school district. In addition, CFF recognized seven educators for the extraordinary impact that they each have made on the learning environment in San Diego County. The organization also honored exceptional students in the AVID program with High Tech Academic Achievement Scholarships.

Through the Innovation Awards program, CFF has provided more than $350,000 over the last 14 years to innovative classroom programs across San Diego County, as well as to extraordinary educators. This funding has helped to scale innovative programs in winning districts, as well as encourage other districts to adopt similar approaches. During the same period, CFF has distributed more than $520,000 in High Tech Academic Achievement Scholarships to more than 300 deserving students from the low- and middle-income communities.

"Scholarships like this bring college within financial reach for traditionally underserved students," said San Diego County Board of Education President Guadalupe González. "They are critical in helping young people unlock their potential to reach college and career success."

Congratulations to the 2018 school and district award winners:

Achieve Award

  • Farm Lab DREAMS Campus, Encinitas Union School District

Impact Award

  • Design & Modeling Program, Calavera Hills Middle School, Carlsbad Unified School District

Innovate Award

  • Talent Cities Program, Vista Unified School District

Inspire Award

  • From Digital to Physical Program, Valley Middle School, Carlsbad Unified School District


Individual awards for 2018 were presented to:

Innovative Superintendent Award

  • Dr. David Miyashiro, Cajon Valley School District

Innovative Educator Award

  • Dr. Erin English, San Diego County Office of Education

Innovation Teacher on Special Assignment and Teacher of the Year Awards

  • Christine Dixon, San Marcos Unified School District
  • Charity Shepard, San Marcos Unified School District

Innovative Principal Award

  • Nicola Labas, Innovation Middle School, San Diego Unified School District

Career Pathways Educator of the Year Award

  • Richard Oka, engineering teacher, Clairemont High School, San Diego Unified School District


Congratulations to all the student winners:

Dr. Rudy Castruita Scholar

  • Margarita Frando, 37ECB

Jack in the Box Scholars

  • Maria Delgado, Mission Hills High School
  • Hugo Garcia, Carlsbad High School
  • Samya Griffin, Poway High School
  • Tamera Scott, San Diego High School
  • Beaunae Spencer, San Diego High School of International Studies
  • Kenneth Zamora, San Dieguito High School

Joe Rindone Memorial Scholar

  • Stephany Lopez, Sweetwater High School

Nancy Stabb Scholars

  • Anthony "Tony" Luis, Oceanside High School
  • Joshua Schoenfeld, San Diego High School of Business and Leadership
  • Getsemani Zapien, San Ysidro High School

Todd W. Gutschow Memorial Scholar

  • Dayanara Bernal, Montgomery High School

USS Midway Scholars

  • Tigist Assaye, La Jolla High School
  • Markesha Big, West Hills High School
  • Trinity Calloway, Escondido High School
  • Daniel Cardenas, El Camino High School
  • Natalie Casas, Escondido High School
  • Javier Herrera, Mt. Carmel High School
  • Jessica Legault, Del Norte High School
  • Alejandrina Lopez, Fallbrook High School
  • Joe Martines, El Camino High School
  • Diego Robles, Kearny High School

Finally, congratulations to 2018 College and Career Pathways Partner of the Year Award recipient Barrio Logan College Institute, and to the 2018 Academic League Champions, Canyon Crest Academy (San Dieguito Union High School District), who were also honored at the event.