The Poway Unified School District is home to three 2022 Administrators of the Year winners for San Diego and Imperial counties, awarded by the Association of California School Administrators.
Valley Elementary Principal Ricardo Ceceña was named Elementary Principal of the Year. Poway Unified Superintendent Marian Kim Phelps and others recently surprised Ceceña by telling her he won the award.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “It is truly an honor to be recognized. I am truly honored and humbled.
Lana Nguyen, Director of Educational Technology, was also recognized for Technology Administrator of the Year and Rancho Bernardo High Principal Assistant Yael Bozzay for Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year.
Award recipients are chosen based on their outstanding leadership, commitment to quality education, professional growth and student success, and creativity and innovation in overcoming challenges facing confronts public education, according to the Association of California School Administrators. The three winners will be celebrated at the association’s Honoring Our Own gala on May 7.
Ceceña has led Valley Elementary in Poway since 2015. Previously, he was a teacher and administrator at Poway Unified Elementary School for more than 15 years. He said the award reflects the school as a whole and its team.
“Every staff member here at Valley makes a huge difference to our students and their families,” Ceceña said.
He said he is committed to opening up access to high-quality educational experiences for all students, regardless of income, family background or language skills. Valley Elementary is a Title I school and PUSD’s only Spanish immersion campus.
During the pandemic, Ceceña developed the Valley Tiger Student Wellness Task Force with the goal of removing all barriers to learning, such as internet access, technological tools, food insecurity or parent education. It has brought innovative research-based programs that promote rigorous learning in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects to its traditionally underserved and underrepresented students, the association said.
It was under his leadership that Valley became the first elementary school in the district to be recognized as a Lead the Way Distinguished School, a program that provides students with access to relevant, high-quality STEM curriculum.
Nguyen has served as director of educational technology for Poway Unified since 2017. Over the past four and a half years, Nguyen has transformed student learning and staff professional development at PUSD, the association said. She helped launch the award-winning PUSD Voyager program, a research-based coaching model that provides teachers with professional development in the area of combining technology and in-person learning.
Nguyen promotes the success of all students by advocating, encouraging and supporting the use of new educational technologies, the association said. This includes coordinating district-wide professional learning, training, and support in and out of the classroom.
Bozzay has served as vice-principal at Rancho Bernardo High School since 2014. For nearly eight years, she has shown a passion for the success of all students, especially those who struggle academically or socially on her campus, said the ‘association. Through her efforts to increase access and equity, she has helped improve support for English learners, add interventions for disadvantaged youth, increase the number of collaborative and learning classes, and reduce stand-alone special education classes, as part of the school’s inclusive curriculum. practice model.
Bozzay’s leadership also led to the expansion of social and emotional wellness programs for students addressing timely and difficult topics, including suicide prevention and drug use, the association said. She served on the education committee of the Anti-Defamation League and recently completed her doctorate, focusing her thesis on the role of the teacher in closing the black student achievement gap.