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 SDCOE Employee Recognized for Promoting Literacy

A San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) employee has been recognized by Latino Literacy Now for his work to promote literacy.

Anthony Ceja, a senior manager with SDCOE's Student Support Services department, was honored with the Espíritu de la Comunidad, or Spirit of the Community, award Sept. 15 at the Latino Book & Family Festival.

"Anthony has dedicated his life to improving educational outcomes, making schools and neighborhoods safer, and promoting real justice for children and their families," said Bob Mueller, executive director with SDCOE's Student Services and Programs division. "Through his long service to SDCOE, in our county's schools and neighborhoods, Anthony has become one of SDCOE's most recognizable and influential figures. Thousands of people know us and what we stand for through his work."

The recognition is a way to not only honor community heroes, but also to encourage them to continue their efforts, said Lisa Montes, a board member with Latino Literacy Now.

Latino Literacy Now is a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by actor Edward James Olmos and publisher Kirk Whisler to promote literacy in the community in all forms: educational, financial, reading, and community awareness. The group has organized more than 50 Latino Book & Family Festivals in 12 cities around the county, including Oceanside.

"In every city there is always a group of people or individuals pushing for better opportunities, for equal rights, for better security and protection, or for better education," Whisler said. "They come from all backgrounds, have their own stories, struggles, and goals. But all of that is what pushes them forward to help their communities succeed."

In 2015, Ceja was a finalist for The San Diego Union Tribune Latino Champions Awards in the Civic Leader of the Year category.