The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is celebrating San Diego County equity champions in the community and the classroom with the Lighthouse Awards presented to honorees at the 2023 Equity Conference.
A lighthouse helps guide navigation and often provides a beacon of hope as we sail through potentially rough waters. Our challenges may be financial, personal, business, or spiritual in nature. The lighthouse metaphor speaks of safety and security in the face of adversity and challenge in a unique way.
The SDCOE Lighthouse Awards are given annually to people who are beacons in the educational community by channeling and leading others in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Turnaround School Site Leader award goes to a school administrator who fosters and leads equitable outcomes for all learners and has been a beacon of light for an entire community.
- Turnaround Teacher award is for a classroom teacher who embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion and has helped achieve positive social and academic outcomes for all students.
- Turnaround Support Staff award goes to a school counselor, nurse, school psychologist, paraprofessional, or others who actively supports all students, in pursuit of academic and/or social emotional excellence.
- Equity Champion a district administrator who encompasses the light necessary for people to come together and create multiple opportunities for all students and families in pursuit of equitable outcomes.
- The No Place for Hate® Leader award goes to an active staff member of their school’s No Place for Hate® committee and demonstrates leadership in their role on the committee and throughout the school community. This person embodies the values laid out in ADL's No Place for Hate® pledge and has continued to put the commitment of No Place for Hate® at the forefront of their school community even in these challenging times.
- Student Equity Leadership award goes to an individual student or student group who advance diversity, equity, inclusion and have led meaningful and significant equity initiatives in their school community.
Dr. Tiffany Campbell
Dr. Tiffany Campbell is the deputy superintendent in San Marcos Unified School District where she spearheaded her district’s first equity team and held the first districtwide Equity Conference: Equity is Empathy. She is a strong supporter of the district’s LGBTQ community, and spearheaded a new mental health program and campaign to help students in need of emotional and mental health support.
Turnaround School Site Leader
Douglas Corbin is a principal at the Contra Costa County Office of Education Court and Community School program. Corbin prioritizes rigorous science content and student relationships with a focus on transforming lessons to be culturally responsive. He ensured that every teacher is equipped to integrate science and academic discourse in their classrooms as they cultivate an equitable learning environment for every student.
No Place for Hate
Molly Engblom is a school counselor in Poway Unified School District, where she supports students to make the pledge to help create No Place for Hate schools and creates activities that are valuable, engaging, and help students become No Place for Hate leaders on campus.
Tram Le-Harkins is an English teacher at Mount Carmel High School in Poway Unified School District, where she is a strong voice and advocate for the school's equity work. She also developed an ethnic literature course where students have a safe space to share their lived experiences and discuss the role of race in their lives and in the broader society.
Dr. Alberto Ochoa
Community Equity Champion
Dr. Alberto Ochoa is a professor emeritus in the SDSU College of Education. His lifetime commitment to community empowerment for educational equity and excellence has inspired countless educators and community leaders.
Turnaround Support Staff
Ilde Ojeda is a student support specialist at the SDCOE Juvenile Court and Community Schools north region, where he inspires teachers, counselors, students, and parents to persevere as critical thinkers who collaborate and solve real-world problems.
Brittni Rudolph is a teacher on special assignment at San Onofre School in the Fallbrook Elementary Union School District. She serves as the school’s Innovation Lab instructor for grades TK-6 STEM students, and she is the driving force behind creating a culture of awareness, acceptance, and inclusion at the school.
Student Equity Leadership
Joy Ruppert is a student at San Dieguito Academy in San Dieguito Union High School District, where she has been a change agent and advocate championing the voices and communities of marginalized youth and people of color.
Dr. Matthew Steitz
Turnaround School Site Leader
Dr. Matthew Steitz, principal at The Preuss School UC San Diego, examines and seeks to improve or dismantle systems and practices that contribute to inequities in education for black and brown students. He also uses restorative practices in lieu of suspension to address behavior concerns.