GSEP Selects Superintendent of the Year and Superintendents of Distinction


Dr. Jeffrey Felix, Dr. Johanna VanderMolen, Dr. Trudy Arriaga, and Dean Margaret Weber

The Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Superintendent Advisory Council announced the selection of Dr. Trudy Arriaga, superintendent of Ventura Unified School District, as the recipient of the 2010 Superintendent of the Year Award. This year GSEP was also pleased to recognize two Superintendents of Distinction: Dr. Johanna VanderMolen of the Campbell Union School District and Dr. Jeffrey Felix of the Coronado Unified School District. The advisory council comprises California superintendents and school leaders, and utilizes Pepperdine University as a forum to discuss issues that concern superintendents and their schools. GSEP also provides professional development activities for the council’s members.

“Arriaga leads from the heart, adhering to values that promote and support equity, excellence, and acceptance,” said Dr. Robert Fraisse, the superintendent of the Laguna Beach Unified School District and former recipient of the award who nominated Arriaga for this distinction. “Under Arriaga’s leadership, student achievement consistently increases at all grade levels and across all student subgroups. She is a social and political leader at the community, county, and state levels, and has been tenacious in her advocacy to ensure that no child will go unheard by our legislators. Finally, Arriaga is a masterful team-builder promoting collaboration and cooperation, and motivating her staff with dignity and respect.”

Arriaga, VanderMolen, and Felix were honored for their visionar y, instructional, and ethical leadership; organizational management; family and community involvement; and advocacy at the sixth annual Pepperdine Superintendent Advisory Council Dinner in Monterey, California, on January 27. The event coincided with the Association of California School Administrators annual conference.

“I am truly honored to be selected for this award,” professed Arriaga. “I am surrounded by a community of dedicated and talented staff, collaborative parents, incredible students, and a supportive board of trustees, which makes my role as superintendent a winning combination. I accept this recognition on behalf of the amazing educators in California who have dedicated their lives to ensure that all students receive an exemplary and balanced education fostering a lifelong passion for learning and engagement.”

Felix and VanderMolen expressed similar sentiments. Felix stated that, “Working in education has benefitted me just as much as the people I have served. There is no better feeling than knowing I have made a positive impact on another person’s life. Educating others has taught me about leadership, culture, and myself, and these experiences have given me a great deal of personal satisfaction.”

“Great education happens because students are taught by dedicated teachers and successful schools are run by compassionate, strong leaders who make decisions in the best interest of their students,” offered VanderMolen. “The successes I have seen during my tenure as superintendent are largely due to this dedicated team of educators, in addition to the support of a committed governing board. I am honored to be a member of this team and humbled to be recognized for this award.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *