Cal State Fullerton program honors three educators from OCDE, Westminster School District

An associate superintendent and two alternative education teachers at the Orange County Department of Education were among dozens of educators recently honored by Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education.

Dr. Christine Olmstead, who leads OCDE’s Educational Services division, and ACCESS teachers Sonia Torres and Allen Witten were celebrated as Honored Educators during the college’s Honor an Educator Luncheon and Ceremony, which was held Saturday, March 7 at CSUF’s Titan Student Union Pavilion.

The event also spotlighted National Board Certified Teachers and presented awards to a half-dozen Distinguished Honorees for 2020, including the Westminster School District.

Honorees pose in group photos
Three OCDE educators were recognized at Cal State Fullerton’s Honor an Educator Luncheon. From left are ACCESS teachers Allen Witten and Sonia Torres, OCDE Associate Superintendent Dr. Christine Olmstead, CSUF College of Education Dean Dr. Lisa Kirtman and Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares.

Promoting digital citizenship, world languages and college and career readiness, Westminster was praised as the first school system in the state to offer a Vietnamese dual-language immersion program. The 9,400-student district also recently launched a Spanish immersion program for infants and toddlers.

The Honor an Educator program was created in 2006 to recognize the impact educators have on students and communities, and to support scholarships for Fullerton’s College of Education.

Here’s the full list of the college’s Distinguished Honorees by award category:

Distinguished Education Leadership Award
Ellen Junn, president of California State University, Stanislaus

Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award
Zoila Gallegos ’13 (M.S. education-reading), assistant principal at Brookhurst Junior High School in Anaheim

Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award
Tracy Siudzinski ’08 (M.S. instructional design and technology), manager of learning and development at SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

Distinguished Education Excellence Award
Westminster School District

Distinguished Education Partner Award
Bonnie Gillman, founder and executive director of the Grandparent Autism Network and Family Autism Network Program

Distinguished Education Community Partner Award
Alumnus Dan Black ’67 (B.S. physics), trustee of the Black Family Trust

For more information about the CSUF College of Education Honor and Educator program, visit