Success Stories

We're proud to honor the achievements of our students and alumni.

These students and alumni of the Graduate School of Education are fulfilling the values and mission of the university and their achievements have been recognized and submitted by Cal Lutheran family members. 

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Vanessa Contreras '23

MA in Educational Leadership

in 2023 Vanessa Contreras MA ’23 in Educational Leadership was announced as the new principal at E.P. Foster Elementary. Contreras also has earned a Pupil Personnel Services Credential, Preliminary Administrative Services Credential and an additional Master of Science Degree in Counseling and Guidance at Cal Lutheran.

“If I ever return to school to obtain an additional degree, I would absolutely return to Cal Lutheran. The programs I have taken at Cal Lutheran have been so beneficial and have really helped prepare me for my varying roles in education. The faculty that I have had at Cal Lutheran has given me so much guidance, support and encouragement in all of my classes. I truly believe Cal Lutheran would never let me fail. I have so much respect for my professors and feel so honored and grateful that I had such a prestigious faculty at Cal Lutheran. I highly recommended Cal Lutheran to anyone looking for a graduate program.”

 

Sawyer Merrill '10

Sawyer Merrill ’10 graduated Cal Lutheran with an emphasis in education and was honored with 2023 Sandy Lundberg Educator of the Year Award by the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes. Merrill is a special education teacher at Chandler Unified Auxier Elementary School in Queen Creek, Tempe, AZ. Click here to read the article from Queen Creek Tribune.

Steven Blum '21

Adjunct/Faculty

GSOE Dean, Mike Hillis and adjunct faculty member, Steven Blum ’77, MA ’91, published an Op-Ed article in the Ventura County Star: Teachers impact the lives of children and communities Click here to read the article.

Ryan Keller '13

MS in Special Education

Congratulations to alum Ryan Keller MS ’13, named Special Education Coordinator for CUSD in 2022.

Lorelle Dawes '19

EdD in Educational Leadership (K-12)

Alum, Lorelle Dawes EdD ’19, principal, Cabrillo Middle School, Ventura USD Region 13 and adjunct faculty member was selected 2022 ACSA State Middle School Principal of the Year. Dawes recently accepted a promotion as Director of Expanded Learning in Ventura Unified School District, a new position. She says, “I am excited at all the opportunities we get to create for students who have not had much access to them in the past.”

Paige Mariko Gonzales '20

MA in Educational Leadership

Paige Mariko Gonzales, MA ’20 in Educational Leadership with a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, shared on LinkedIn that she started a new position as Dean of Student Services at Los Cerritos Middle School in the Conejo Valley Unified School District in 2022.

James Jenkins '20

MEd in Teacher Leadership

Congratulations to doctoral candidate and Cal Lutheran alum, James Jenkins, MEd ’20, on becoming the principal of Los Colinas Middle School for PVSD.

Michelle Bennett '08

MA in Educational Leadership

After a two-year pause due to the pandemic, CRLP was thrilled to re-boot our 2022 summer camp program for elementary and middle school students! Read2Write and Study Skills and Art of the Masters were returning favorites and we also introduced a brand new camp this year, Finding the Poet/Writer Within.

From the last week of July through the first week of August, CRLP hosted a total of 65 elementary and middle school students. The teachers were pleased with both the level of student engagement and parent satisfaction. CRLP will continue to gather additional feedback from both parents and campers to help inform our planning for next year’s camps.

We are very grateful for CRLP’s incredible summer camp teachers, Michelle Bennett, MA ’08, Kim Ernest, and Julie Hughes. The planning, preparation, and creativity they put into the camps is what made them such a huge success.  Michelle, Kim, and Julie worked hard to inspire and motivate their students, which is certain to have a positive impact on their future studies!

Angela Rowley

Adjunct/Faculty

in 2018, the GSOE is happy to welcome Angela Rowley, MS as a new lecturer in Counselor Education.

Trudy Arriaga

Adjunct/Faculty

2022

Trudy Arriaga & Dr. Delores B. Lindsey shared stories about women in leadership and discussed what gender equity looks like on a Corwin Press Connects Podcast entitled, “Empowering Women in School Leadership” in March.

In addition, Arriaga along with Dr. Stacie L. Stanley and Dr. Delores B. Lindsey were keynote speakers at the CALSA WLN Wellness Symposium on their book, Leading While Female.

2021

Congratulations to Dr. Trudy Arriaga for her promotion to Senior Lecturer in the Educational Leadership Department in the Graduate School of Education.

2020

California Workforce recently announced that Trudy Arriaga will keynote for Youth@Work 2020 -Architects of the Future in San Jose, Jan. 14-16.


Trudy Arriaga and two co-authors had their article “Overcoming Barriers and Celebrating Successes” published in Leadership Magazine, the quarterly by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Separately, Arriaga was awarded the Sandra Laby Memorial Award in partnership with the Harmony Project and the New West Symphony for work supporting music for youth.

“We are very excited to honor these leaders in our community,” says Jordan Laby, who supports the program.  “It’s important to note that we have strong building blocks for excellent music and education right here in Ventura County, and these two honorees are a great example of local leadership.”

Arriaga also was the keynote speaker at the Eighth Annual Professional Development Schools Conference on March 23 at Pepperdine University, where she accepted an award on behalf of the university. Cal Lutheran was honored, together with Campus Canyon College Preparatory Academy and Flory Academy of Science and Technology, by the Southern California Professional Development Schools with the 2019 Exemplary School University Partnership Award.

2019

Trudy Arriaga and two co-authors had their article “Overcoming Barriers and Celebrating Successes” published in Leadership Magazine, the quarterly by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Separately, Arriaga was awarded the Sandra Laby Memorial Award in partnership with the Harmony Project and the New West Symphony for work supporting music for youth.
“We are very excited to honor these leaders in our community,” says Jordan Laby, who supports the program.  “It’s important to note that we have strong building blocks for excellent music and education right here in Ventura County, and these two honorees are a great example of local leadership.”

Arriaga also was the keynote speaker at the Eighth Annual Professional Development Schools Conference on March 23 at Pepperdine University, where she accepted an award on behalf of the university. Cal Lutheran was honored, together with Campus Canyon College Preparatory Academy and Flory Academy of Science and Technology, by the Southern California Professional Development Schools with the 2019 Exemplary School University Partnership Award (please see below for a photo).

Trudy Arriaga was keynote speaker at the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership’s (ICPEL) annual conference at Soka University of America in Alisa Viejo, CA on July 13-17, 2019. This year’s “conference theme ‘Educational Leadership: A Global Perspective’ is designed to generate critical discourse, and high-quality Global research on educational policies, procedures, and evidenced-based best practices for our nation’s Universities, Colleges and Pre-K-12 Educational Systems.”

2018

Trudy Arriaga keynotes ‘Opening Doors’ for Southern California Professional Development Schools (SCPDS) Consortium at Pepperdine University on March 23, 2019.


Professor Trudy Tuttle Arriaga continues to share and inspire educators on “Opening Doors” in cultural proficiency:

  • Association of CA School Administrators (ACSA) Mid-State Conference as keynote and closing Speaker on Mar 18.
  • Opening Doors and Annual Equity Conference in Houston, TX June 12-13.
  • San Luis Coastal Unified School District: Opening Doors to Equity on June 15.
  • El Monte High School District: Superintendent Governance Retreat on June 16.
  • Equity Learning Institute in Mulkiteo, WA on June 27-28 as keynote.
  • USC 2018 Leadership Conference as keynote on July 19.
  • Adelanto School District: Equity and Courageous Conversations on July 27.
  • El Monte School District: Board/Governance Workshop on July 30.
  • CLU Student Affairs Retreat on July 31.

2017

Trudy Arriaga provided professional development to Sunnyvale School District (CA) on cultural proficiency to staff and parents in January.

2015

January 2016 – Opening Doors: An Implementation Template for Cultural Proficiency, by Trudy T. Arriaga and Randall B. Lindsey.

 

“This book details the Ventura Unified School District’s successful implementation of Cultural Proficiency, which opened long-closed doors for marginalized student and returned gains on every key success metric.  Resources include:  A method for evaluating the impact of educational decisions on students’ access to learning and a clear implementation plan for cultural proficiency.  Now is the time to make Cultural Proficiency real by ensuring universally equal access to educational resources for all students.  Implementing the Opening Doors template removes the remaining barriers to achievement of this ideal.”

  • January 21 – Local ACSA / PDK / CABE Chapter Book Signing Event.
  • January 25, 26 – State ACSA Superintendents Symposium. She presented 3 different sessions at the conference and had a book signing in Monterey.
  • January 28 – Trudy Lead a Professional Development Day in Cultural Proficiency for the La Habra School District.

“When I am presenting, I always recognize my affiliation, role and pride of CLU and appreciate your support of professional development opportunities.”

 

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