School of Education honors local educators and alumni at annual awards ceremony

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on May 5, 2014 12:03 PM

Assistant Superintendent of Special Education Ron Whitman

Sonoma County Assistant Superintendent of Special Education Ron Whitman

For over 20 years Sonoma State's School of Education has acknowledged alumni and community partners for their excellence in local education at the annual School of Education Recognition and Awards Ceremony.  This year's event is slated for Tuesday, May 13 at 5:00 PM on SSU's campus.

The Circle of Excellence Awards recognize the accomplishments and contributions to the local education community by School of Education Alumni and community partners. Faculty members nominate alumni, mentor teachers, and friends of the program for this recognition. 

This year's recipients of the Circle of Excellence Award include: Andy Gibson (Sonoma Valley High School), Tom Griffin (Casa Grande High School), Ron Whitman (Sonoma County Office of Education) and the mentor teachers at Santa Rosa's Kid Street Learning Center.

teacher Erin Fightmaster in her classroom at Kid Street Learning Center

Teacher Erin Fightmaster in her classroom at Kid Street Learning Center

Professor Emiliano Ayala nominated Assistant Superintendent Ron Whitman for his support and ongoing collaboration with the Special Education programs at Sonoma State. "As a strong leader in our community, his colleagues offer high praise for his student-centered approach to decision making that upholds the mission of Sonoma County Office of Education," said Ayala. 

Tom Griffin, department chair at Casa Grande High School, Petaluma, was nominated by Susan Victor, faculty member in the Curriculum Studies and Secondary Education department. "He has been a tireless advocate for English learners and a supportive mentor teacher for Single Subject teaching candidates," said Victor. 

Strong teacher mentors play an essential role in the field experience component of SSU's teacher preparation programs, and both Andy Gibson and three educators from Kid Street Learning Center (Principal Kathleen Mallamo, Clare McKenzie and Erin Fightmaster) are nominated for their exemplary work supporting and mentoring new teacher candidates in the classroom. 

In addition to the Circle of Excellence honors, the School of Education will present the Jack London Awards at the event on May 13, and acknowledge the recipients of two scholarships. Early Childhood Studies major Alyx Fritz will receive the Patricia Nourot Early Childhood Scholarship. Veteran science teacher Linn Briner will receive the F. George Elliott Exemplary Professional Renewal Scholarship, providing the funds for Briner to work on a M.A. in Education in the School of Education.
Sonoma Valley High School teacher Andy Gibson standing outdoors with a group of his students

Sonoma Valley High School teacher Andy Gibson standing outdoors with a group of his students


The Circle of Excellence and scholarship recipients will be honored at the Annual Education Recognition and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 13 at the Sonoma State Cooperage from 5-7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.  

The event is sponsored by The SSU Alumni Association, the SSU Office of the President, The California Faculty Association, The Sonoma County Educators Council CTA/NEA, the F. George Elliott Scholarship Fund and the Patricia Nourot Scholarship Fund. is free and open to the public.