ASCD California

Outstanding Instructional Leader Award

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Every year California ASCD selects an Outstanding Instructional Leader (OIL) who has significantly impacted/influenced public education in California. Individuals, who influence, advocate for and support professional growth and instructional leadership to ensure success for each learner are nominated by their CASCD peers. The award is given in recognition of Helen Heffernan who provided California with outstanding service, keen insight, vision and leadership. This year CASCD is pleased to recognize two outstanding California instructional leaders who have made significant contributions to the education of California's K-12 students. This year we selected two award winners and they are:

California ASCD proudly announces two 2019 CASCD OIL Award Winners

California ASCD is proud to announce Dr. Tom Adams, Deputy Superintendent, California Department of Education and Mr. Michael McCormick, Superintendent of Val Verde Unified School District, as our two winners of the 2019 Outstanding Instructional Leader Award.  They are both equally outstanding instructional leaders, therefore we have awarded two winners this year.  

Dr. Thomas "Tom" Adams, Deputy Superintendent, CDE:

Dr. Thomas "Tom" Adams,  has served as the Deputy Superintendent of the Performance, Planning and Technology Branch and the Deputy Superintendent of the Teaching and Learning Support Branch.  In his 22 years at the California Department of Education (CDE), Tom mainly worked in the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division and served as the Executive Director of the Instructional Quality Commission.  Some of his professional accomplishments include the English Language Arts/English Language Development Curriculum Framework for Public Schools (2014) and the History-Social Science Curriculum Framework for Public Schools (2016).  He received his doctorate in modern European history from  University of California, Davis, and earned his BA in history from California State University, Chico.  Tom is also a member of the Board of Education for the Davis Joint Unified School District, was elected initially in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.  Tom is married to Jan Uriu-Adams, an emeritus professor of nutrition for the University of California, Davis.  Tom's daughter, Michiko Adams, attends San Diego State University and is majoring in molecular biology.  Tom will be retiring from the CDE on June 28, 2019. 

Michael R. McCormick, Superintendent of the Val Verde Unified School District:

Michael R. McCormick is the Superintendent of the Val Verde Unified School District.  He is known for his passion for innovation and helping students acquire their higher education aspirations.  Before becoming Superintendent, Michael served for six years as the Assistant Superintendent for Education Services for Val Verde USD.  Under his leadership, VVUSD has been recognized by the Leadership Policy Institute (2019) as a California school district that is “Beating the Odds” for African American and Hispanic students and Education Trust West named Val Verde USD as, “tops among California districts Closing the Achievement Gap.”  He participated as a member of the Riverside County contingent of educators summoned by the White House to a meeting at the U.S. Department of Education to create the Riverside County Education Collaborative and connect with the College Day of Opportunity.

Through his involvement with the Riverside County Education Collaborative, Michael has been instrumental in helping trail blaze effective FAFSA/California Dream Act Application completion strategies.  Under Michael’s leadership, the Val Verde Unified School District has emphasized the importance of FAFSA completion by participating in the countywide FAFSA completion initiative “Race to Submit.”  This work led to hosting the statewide kickoff event for “Race to Submit” in Val Verde for the California Student Aid Commission.  Over the last three years, Val Verde USD has been recognized as having  some of the highest FAFSA/CADAA completion rates in the state of California.

Michael frequently gives presentations statewide, nationally, and internationally, where he offers audience members effective strategies and inspiration to create Future Ready organizations focused on STEAM and the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.  The Val Verde Unified School District is known for its emphasis on technology integration and Michael has presented multiple keynotes at Google Symposiums focusing on the successful implementation of instructional technology in a K-12 school district.

Michael was named Administrator of the Year by the Riverside County Office of Education in 2012, and by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) in 2015. He was named Superintendent of the Year in 2018 for Riverside County by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and Instructional Leader of the Year in 2019 by the California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

Michael regularly provides testimony on assessment and accountability items to the State Board of Education.  In May of 2019, Mr. McCormick provided expert testimony as a panelist on the use of high school assessments to predict post-secondary student success hosted by State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond.

Michael is also active on numerous boards, including Google K12 Advisory Board Member, Operation New Hope Chairman of the Board, EDleader21 Advisory Board Member, University of California Riverside, School of Education, Advisory Board Member, University of Redlands, School of Education, Advisory Board Member, Brandman University, School of Education, Advisory Board Member, Science Technology Education Partnership (STEP) Board Member, and member of the Academic Assembly of the Western Regional Council for the College Board.  He is a State Board member and former Region XIX President for the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).  Michael is also a member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for the California School Boards Association (CSBA).

2018 Winner

Charlene Stringham

Charlene Stringham supports educators in Tulare County in their work with students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As a leader in Tulare County, she is a strong advocate for all students and has garnered partnerships with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Stanford University to improve elementary math instruction. In addition to her work in instructional services for Tulare County, she has presented on topics related to policy analysis, curriculum and instruction, and instructional leadership.

2017 Winner

Dr. Linda Kaminski

As superintendent of Azusa Unified School District, Dr. Linda Kaminski has taken vision, courage, leadership, and intent and blended them into a coherent system to bring results to Azusa. Successful examples of her work include supporting professional learning communities, positive behavioral interventions and supports, assessments built to mirror expectations of state standards, investment in leadership, and successfully passing a bond to modernize facilities.

Dr. Kaminski received her Bachelor Degree from Santa Clara University, Master of Science from Pepperdine University, and Master of Education and Doctor of Education from Harvard University.

2016 Winners

Dr. Mike Hendricks is being recognized for his 36 years of service to the children of our state. In his current role as the head of Charter Oak Unified School District, he is known for his vision and focus on transforming curriculum and instruction. He has also made an impact statewide through his active service in ACSA and his passion for teaching future educators at the university level. Dr. Hendricks has served in many roles with CASCD and is currently chair of the Educator Advocate Committee.

Dr. Kevin Silberberg, Superintendent of Panama Buena-Vista School District, is being recognized for his statewide leadership in improving education through innovative and effective use of technology. He was an original member of the TICAL Leadership Cadre and has an extensive resume of presentations and leadership roles which have built the capacity of educators across the state in improving 21st century learning for all students. 

Past Winners

1999-2000                 Bob and Sue Garmston
2002-2003 Dr. Glen W. Thomas
Dr. Joann Merrick
2003-2004 Michele Garside
2005-2006 Tony L. Spears
Jeanie Cash 
2008 Alice Petrossian
Rob Hudson
2011 Sue Stickel
2012 George Manthey
2013 Karen Staph Walters
Vicki Barber
2014 Sherry Skelly Griffith
Rowland Baker
2015 Ellen Moir

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ASCD CaliforniaPhone: (530) 520-9412
Mailing: PO Box 1841
Oroville, CA 95965

The California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (CASCD) is a diverse community of educators throughout California committed to promoting exemplary practices that ensure all learners reach their fullest potential.


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