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March 6, 2003

For More Information, Contact:
Daryl Savage at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Three separate state education groups are honoring Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) for his efforts on behalf of California schools and kids. The California County Boards of Education, the Association of California School Administrators and the California League of Middle Schools have all announced special recognition for Simitian’s work in the 2002 Legislative session.

These three awards come on the heels of Simitian’s recognition in December as the California School Boards Association’s Outstanding Legislator of the Year for 2002.

California County Boards of Education

The California County Boards of Education selected Simitian as its 2002 Outstanding Legislator of the Year, citing his commitment to overall improvement of education in California. CCBE just honored Simitian at its recent legislative conference in Sacramento.

“I can think of no one more deserving of these honors,” said Colleen Wilcox, Superintendent of Santa Clara County Schools. “Joe is a dedicated, knowledgeable and articulate advocate for public education, and has a comprehensive understanding of the many challenges faced by local school districts,” she said.

Wilcox’s counterpart in San Mateo County, Superintendent of San Mateo County Schools John Mehl echoed these remarks.  “Joe sets the example for other legislators to follow,” Mehl said. “He’s always been there for his constituents. Joe’s been particularly proactive on the current state budget issues, spending countless hours talking with concerned educators.”

Association of California School Administrators

The Association of California School Administrators has also singled out Simitian for his efforts in pushing education to the top of the State agenda.

The group will honor Simitian with its “Friend of Education” award, which will be presented to him at ACSA’s Delegate Assembly meeting in Sacramento on Monday, March 10, 2003.

Dennis Meyers, the ASCA’s assistant Executive Director, said, “This award is our way to recognize the effort that Assemblymember Simitian has given as a legislator to champion public education and to understand the issues related to public schools and administrators.”

Palo Alto Schools Superintendent Mary Frances Callan said, “Joe has always been receptive and understanding of the issues that affect our district. He really represents his constituency,” she said.

California League of Middle Schools

The third award acknowledges Simitian for his dedication to improving the academic achievements of sixth, seventh and eighth graders. The California League of Middle Schools has named Simitian as its Legislator of the Year, citing his emphasis for high quality training of middle school educators.

“He has untangled the confusing array of state programs for professional development. Simitian’s efforts to consolidate these programs and allow local flexibility is vital to helping districts provide quality staff for all students,” said CLMS Executive Director Peter Murphy.

Mary Ann Somerville, Superintendent of Los Lomitas School District, and a former middle school principal, agrees that Simitian is an effective advocate. “I’ve known Joe for several years and he’s always been a true champion for public schools. I’m thrilled he’s been recognized in this way,” she said.

The award ceremony takes place Saturday, March 8, 2003, at the CLMS annual conference in San Diego.

“I’m honored to be acknowledged by these three groups for my work in Sacramento,” Simitian said. “Good schools are key to the future of this State—and the six million kids who rely on them.  I know these are tough times financially, but I think we have to ensure that education remains a top priority,” Simitian said.

Simitian is a former Palo Alto School Board President and Chair of the Santa Clara County School Boards Association. He now chairs the Assembly Subcommittee on Education Finance.



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