OCDE’s Services for Language Learners team honored Orange County educators, administrators, community liaisons and parents who have championed the success of language learners, impacting students and their communities, during its fifth annual Language Learner Celebration.
Flanked by classic cars and automotive memorabilia, attendees gathered on the evening of May 11 at the Marconi Automotive Museum and Foundation for Kids, where the theme was “Accelerating Language Learner Success.” In all, representatives from 17 districts, charter schools and learning centers were recognized at the event.
Meanwhile, featured speakers amplified the value of biliteracy and bilingualism. They included keynote speaker Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, executive director of Californians Together; Mike Matsuda, superintendent of the Anaheim Union High School District; Dennis Cole, OCDE’s director of humanities; and Consuelo Reyes, a Westminster School District parent whose daughter speaks English and Spanish and is now enrolled in the district’s Vietnamese dual-language immersion program, which, as the Orange County Register reported, is the first in California.
A pair of former language learners also shared their perspectives. Miguel Bravo, a Capistrano Unified senior set to attend CSU Chico, and fellow Capo senior Vanessa Moz, who has been accepted to Washington State University, urged educators in the room to stay true to their commitment to bilingual education programs.
“I am finally bilingual, bicultural and biliterate, and I can use that to my advantage,” Vanessa said. “I will continue to use all the resources the educational system has given me ever since I started my educational career at the Capistrano Unified School District.”
Here’s the full list of this year’s awardees:
Allen Cadatal, High School Teacher Nils Soe, High School Teacher
Anaheim Elementary School District
Rhonda Robertson, Director of Program Evaluations Samia Saad, Noon Yard Supervisor and Community Facilitator
Anaheim Union High School District
Carlos Horacio Hernandez, Family and Community Engagement Specialist Esther Park, Korean District Translator and Interpreter
Buena Park School District
Liz Arcos, Bilingual Clerk and Community Advocate Brenda Torres, Parent, ELAC and DELAC Member
El Sol Academy
Francisca Darney, Middle School Teacher Susan Saldaña, Third-grade Teacher
Garden Grove Unified Unified School District
Sandra Isassi-Ramirez, Elementary School Community Liaison Belen Ortega, ELD Department Chair
Huntington Beach City School District
Dr. Monique Huibregtse, Principal, Huntington Seacliff Elementary School Dr. Renee Polk Johnson, Principal, Joseph Perry Elementary School
Irvine Unified School District
Ani Bailly, Kindergarten Teacher Sherilyn Cammarato, Educator and Member of the IUSD Secondary English Learner Curriculum Committee
La Habra City School District
Michelle Atkinson, English Language Lead, Las Positas School Mary Gomez, Language Assessor
Laguna Beach Unified School District
Deborah Finnerty, Second-grade teacher
Newport-Mesa Unified School District
Miriam Gudino, Parent, ELAC President Laura Wagenseller, School Community Facilitator