For his dedication to pioneering and leading Surfside Educational Academy, Oceanside Unified School District's newest school, Principal Eric Frandsen was selected as an Innovative Principal of the Year by the Classroom of the Future Foundation. The award honors leaders in the San Diego County education community.
Surfside was launched in fall 2019 to provide K-12 learning options outside of the traditional school format. When COVID hit, this accelerated the need for learning alternatives, and the interest for students and families grew overnight. The school quickly adapted to accommodate those families, and through these changes, the program has continued to grow and expand flexible learning opportunities for students, such as Career Tech Education (CTE) offerings.
Frandsen was nominated by a colleague who works on CTE programs in San Diego County and has served on meetings for OUSD's CTE advisory board. Frandsen has served the district for more than 21 years, including teaching math at King Middle School and coordinating math and CTE within the district's Curriculum and Instruction department.
Frandsen described innovation as “taking an idea and turning it into practical reality,” He and his team are in the process of innovating as they continue working to make their vision a reality at Surfside. When designing the program, the staff divided into task forces and visited model programs across the west coast, conducted interviews, developed their vision, and began implementing it in a short time span to meet the needs of their community.
"This award is called the 'Innovative Principal Award,' but the degree that any principal can be effective or innovative is really contingent upon their team," Frandsen said. "You look at any of these challenges, and what people did was they came together, and they never lost the long-term vision."
The award will be officially presented in September at the 18th Annual Innovation in Education Awards. To learn more about the innovative programs offered at Surfside Academy, you can visit their website.