Education leaders from across the state came together in Monterey, California, for a reception and dinner to celebrate the relationship between superintendents and the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP). The event took place at Tarpy's Roadhouse during the annual Association of California School Administrators Conference in January and was organized by the Superintendent Advisory Council.
Formed in 2004, the Superintendent Advisory Council builds relationships with state superintendents who advise GSEP on teacher credentialing, administrative training, and master's and doctoral programs. The council also expands career opportunities for GSEP students by networking with education leaders to establish student teaching and administrative fieldwork placements, form dissertation committees, and participate in future adjunct positions. Dr. John Fitzpatrick, superintendent-in-residence at GSEP, oversees the council.
As part of the annual Superintendent Advisory Council dinner, the GSEP "Superintendent of the Year" award was presented to Dr. Robert Fraisse, superintendent of the Conejo Valley Unified School District. Fraisse was selected to receive the honor in part due to his collaboration with GSEP in forming a professional development school. As a way to enhance engagement with the K-12 urban environment, GSEP has developed several professional development schools in school districts in Southern California. Professional development schools allow GSEP teacher education students to spend more time in the classroom with K-12 students and become more engaged with the school environment and community. The professional development schools also facilitate GSEP's need to further develop research-based pedagogy and research opportunities. Through Fraisse's leadership, GSEP has placed multiple teacher education students at the professional development school within the Manzanita Elementary School in Newbury Park, California.
At the dinner, Dean Margaret J. Weber commented on Fraisse's involvement with GSEP, "Dr. Fraisse is leading the way in partnerships, and we are delighted to honor him this evening." During the award presentation, Pat Phelps, president of the Conejo Valley School Board, was on hand to say a few words about Fraisse. Phelps described Fraisse "as a visionary, a teambuilder, a diplomat," and "deserving of the honor. I, and members of the board, wanted to be here when Bob received this recognition," said Phelps, "because we are so proud of him and what he has done for our district. He has been a wonderful superintendent." Many fellow superintendents came forward to share their compliments, anecdotes, and congratulations with Fraisse. Fitzpatrick added how important Fraisse's participation in the Superintendent Advisory Council has been to GSEP and that "the Conejo Valley Unified School District is very lucky to have a superintendent of Fraisse's caliber."
Fitzpatrick concluded the evening with praise for all the superintendents and the work that they do to educate California's schoolchildren.