Kirk Anderson, who oversees the department’s juvenile court schools, is among 100 local influencers spotlighted by the newspaper, which singled out philanthropists, political leaders, CEOs, athletes and others who made extraordinary contributions during an extraordinary year.
Beckie Gomez, an Orange County Board of Education trustee since 2016 who recently re-joined the Tustin City Council, also made the list. Other educators recognized by the Register include California Teacher of the Year Laura Gómez from Santa Ana’s Martin Elementary School, Los Amigos High teacher Rebeca Martinez and Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Andrew Pulver.
For the last two decades, Anderson has led Otto A. Fischer School in OCDE’s ACCESS program, which stands for Alternative, Community and Correctional Education Schools and Services. ACCESS serves students who have encountered significant obstacles and those more likely to thrive in nontraditional settings, as well as incarcerated youth.
Here’s what the Register had to say about Anderson:
In conjunction with the OC Probation Department, the program administrator for Juvenile Hall School created the first distance-learning model in California to provide education for all of OC’s incarcerated youths during this pandemic. He accomplished this at several sites within the first month of the stay at home order in March.
After serving as a probation officer for four years, Anderson has spent the last 31 years at the Orange County Department of Education, embracing the idea that “the journey creates the warrior.”
“Our COVID-19 journey in education pushed our ACCESS and OCDE teams to be creative, thoughtful and careful in our delivery model to students, and brought out the best in all of us in serving our student population to the best of our abilities,” he said.
“This recognition means a lot to me,” Anderson added, “as it showcases the importance of people from the top down coming together with a shared passion and purpose to make a positive impact on our students during such a difficult period of time.”
Other notables on the Orange County Register’s list of Most Influential People include County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau, Vanessa Bryant, UC President Michael V. Drake, Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, and Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Shane Bieber, who’s a Laguna Hills High grad.