Outstanding Instructional Leader Award
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.
School site and district leaders have been faced with enormous challenges in the year 2020. Yet with determination, talent, and outstanding leadership, school is continuing. California is fortunate to have outstanding educational leaders who exemplify the best qualities of learning, teaching and leading. These are people who demonstrate true understanding of curriculum, instruction, and assessment and inspire others through their leadership. CASCD recognizes just one of these individuals with the CASCD Outstanding Instructional Leader (OIL) Award each year. Nomination guidelines, criteria, and directions can be found at the link below ; nomination materials are due by December 18, 2020.
Here is a link to the Nomination form if you would like to nominate a worthy candidate. OIL Award Nomination form 2021.pdf
California ASCD is proud to announce Cindy Marten, San Diego Unified School District, winner of the 2021 Outstanding Instructional Leader Award.
Cynthia "Cindy" Marten was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Deputy Secretary on May 11, 2021. Before joining ED, Marten served as the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District since 2013. She has spent 32 years as an educator, holding various roles of increasing responsibility as a teacher, literacy specialist, vice principal, and principal. She is the author of "Word Crafting: Teaching Spelling, Grades K-6," which places an emphasis on literacy as a key to students' success.
As superintendent, she directed implementation of the district's Vision 2020 commitment to a meaningful graduation for all students, with the district achieving the highest graduation rate among big-city districts in California and the fastest reading growth of large urban districts nationwide, in 2019.
In addition to her emphasis on academics, Marten has been a champion for health and wellness, putting in place an award-winning wellness policy for staff and students. Under her leadership, San Diego Unified received Gold Recognition in the American Heart Association's Workplace Health Achievement Index for efforts to support employee wellness, and multiple San Diego Unified schools received "America's Healthiest Schools" award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Prior to being appointed superintendent, for ten years Marten worked in one of San Diego's most ethnically diverse and economically challenged school communities, at Central Elementary School in City Heights. As a teacher, instructional leader, and later as principal, she established a commitment to educating the whole child through an emphasis on social and emotional learning and the arts, combined with academic rigor.
Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent
Dr. Mary Ann Dewan was selected as the CASCD Outstanding Instructional Educator (OIL) Award for many reasons. She has vast experience spanning over 30 years in education. She has done extensive work in early learning, launching the Strong Start Coalition composed of community leaders and organizations to expand high quality early learning opportunities throughout Santa Clara County. She also demonstrates her commitment and focus on equity through the Inclusions Collaborative to provide more opportunities for students with disabilities to be meaningfully included. Her leadership also led to the My Name, My Identity - asking educators to pledge to pronouncing students' names correctly to foster a sense of belonging and to build positive relationships within the classroom.
Most recently, as the Santa Clara County Superintendent, she has supported the 32 superintendents in the county in navigating through school closures by providing advocacy and garnering local financial support for connectivity and device needs within districts. She has organized twice weekly meetings with the Public Health Department and County Counsel to keep the district leaders apprised and supported. Dr. Dewan stepped forward providing resources and guidance during this most difficult time, advocating and supporting superintendents in a thoughtful, calm and deliberate manner. Her graceful leadership and critical listening provided the necessary support to allow for collective and timely support to each respective community. She is certainly an educational leader worthy of emulation.
Dr. Thomas "Tom" Adams, Deputy Superintendent, CDE:
Michael R. McCormick, 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.
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.
CASCD members are active and involved in the changing face of education. Join CASCD and become empowered with innovative solutions to support the success of all learners. Sign up to become a member or renew your membership today!