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 Honoring Our Own, ACSA Honorees Announced

​The San Diego County School Boards Association (SDCSBA) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 18 have announced the more than two dozen outstanding supporters of education who will be recognized at the 15th annual Honoring Our Own Awards next month.

The Honoring Our Own awards will recognize the 2017 SDCSBA award recipients and ACSA Region 18 administrators of the year. Honoring Our Own is a collaboration between SDCSBA and ACSA Region 18, and the event has grown year after year.

The awards recognize the village that supports local education – educators, parents, community members, school board members, and support staff members – and celebrates their roles in making a difference for students.

“This comes as a result of their hard work and dedication. We are proud to have them as part of the regional community and hope this achievement encourages others to do the same,” said Tamara Otero, SDCSBA vice president and a Cajon Valley Union School District board member. “I think now, more than ever, we need to embrace our friends of public education, whether that be the parent who volunteers countless hours, the community partner that recognizes the future of its workforce is sitting in the classroom, or the staff member who comes in early and leaves late to make sure that schools are a welcoming place for the future leaders of tomorrow.”

Nearly 500 educators, family members, and friends from San Diego and Imperial counties are expected to attend the Honoring Our Own awards dinner, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. April 28 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina on Harbor Island. Online registration will open by end of day March 1 at For questions, contact Brenda Gomez at or 858-292-3819.

Entertainment at the dinner will be provided by student musicians and performers, including Lemon Grove Academy Drumline, under the direction of Toby Ahrens; Vista High School JROTC Color Guard, under the direction of Col. Vincent Lostetter; Chula Vista High School House of Guitars, under the direction of Jeffrey Williams; and Granite Hills High School Honor Choir, under the direction of Janessa Nadeau.

“Great men and women of history started their education the same way that our students do today – at school,” Otero said. “It is an honorable profession and an honorable service to play a small part in shaping our future and it cannot be accomplished without dedication from those who choose to serve. Those being honored this year are recognized for their devotion to this service.”

This year's honorees are:

San Diego County School Boards Association
First-Term School Board Member of the Year: Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, San Diego Unified School District
Community Partner of the Year: Reality Changers, nominated by Solana Beach School District
Parent Volunteer of the Year: Katrina Shaw, Jamul-Dulzura Union School District
Staff Member of the Year: Bridgett DeSonia, Grossmont Union High School District
Confidential/Administrative Staff Member of the Year: Tina McDowell, Poway Unified School District
School Board Member of the Year: Tamara Otero, Cajon Valley Unified School District

Association of California School Administrators Region 18
Superintendent: Ernest "Ernie" Anastos, Lemon Grove School District
Secondary Principal: Anthony Barela, Vista Unified School District
Middle Grades Principal: Dana Stevenson, Cajon Valley Union School District
Elementary Principal: Charlene Smith, Vista Unified School District
Central Office: Melavel "Mel" Robertson, Poway Unified School District
Secondary Co-Administrator: Suzanne Fore, San Diego Unified School District
Elementary Co-Administrator: Cynthia Silva, Heber Elementary School District
Classified Leader: Kati Harbour, Ramona Unified School District
Confidential Employee: Yolanda Hernandez, Sweetwater Union High School District
Special Education: Virginia "Ginny" Pinkerton, Cajon Valley Union School District
Personnel/Human Resources: Sondra Lynn Evans, Ramona Unified School District
Adult Education: Carol Otjens, Grossmont Union High School District
Career Technical Education: Kathleen Porter, Poway Unified School District
Business Services: Michael Simonson, Escondido Union High School District
Pupil Personnel: Lucia Washburn, Grossmont Union High School District
Curriculum & Instruction: Dinah Brown, Del Mar Union School District
Curriculum & Instruction: Paula "PJ" Jameson Whitney, National School District
Continuation/Educational Options: Kathryn Gunderson, Ramona Unified School District
Technology: Antonio Romayor, El Centro Elementary School District
Retired: Mary Lawlor, formerly Sweetwater Union High School District