Education California | The official newspaper of the Association of California School Administrators
Volume 46 | Number 18 | February 15, 2016
Reflecting on equity leadership journey
ACSA’s Diversity and Equal Access Exec
utive Nicole Anderson wrote the following
article for EdCal.
Black History Month brings about
many thoughts and feelings each year in
February. It reminds us of the importance of
acknowledging the great accomplishments
of African Americans within the history of
the United States.
We often find ourselves participating
in cultural celebrations, classroom lessons,
school assemblies and other activities honoring those who achieved extraordinary
feats and overcame obstacles in their quest
for equality for African Americans, as well
as all people of color. This includes “African
American firsts” in the area of inventions,
sports, music, education and many other
arenas – Barack Obama, Jesse M. Bethel,
Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Marcus Garvey,
Carter G. Woodson, Fanny Jackson Coppin,
and the list goes on.
Black History Month also sparks
moments of unity among the African
American community, as well as
teachable moments for students
and adults alike.
It also brings about a focus on
the harsh reality that history in
the United States includes some
detrimental effects for African
Americans that stem from past
oppression and ongoing micro aggressions.
It even reminds us of the ongoing difficult context of how this beautiful group of
See HISTORY, page 5
Beth Cusimano’s running family
Garden Grove principal
and Paralympian teacher
inspire can-do attitude
See CUSIMANO, page 2
Shortfall review. A Legislative
You might say Beth Cusimano is responsible for creating a running culture at
Eisenhower Elementary in Garden Grove.
“It’s all Beth,” Eisenhower teacher Roben
Alarcon said. “Beth started it here. Wherever
she goes, she meets more people and gets
them involved with running.”
Alarcon is one of the many teachers who
credits the principal for introducing her to
“What’s kind of fun is when she’s training you, she’ll run what she has to,” teacher
Bernadette Halter said. “And then she’ll be
finished. So she’ll come back and find you.
And then she’ll run alongside you, being so
chipper at your pace and just encouraging you
along the way. So there was never a time when
you thought, ‘I’m just going to stop’ because
there she was.”
Cusimano has run nearly 30 full marathons,
and she has the medals to prove it. While she
still remains an avid runner, Cusimano is now
encouraging others by training them.
“I’ve trained people to run now for about
15 years,” Cusimano said. “I trained a lot of
people to run marathons, and I just mention
it. People enjoy it, and I think it’s because it’s
enjoyable and people realize that they can do
it – that they want to keep doing it. I don’t
think it’s me. I think it’s once they realize they
can do it, that’s what it is.”
While Principal Cusimano is the driving force behind the influx of runners at
Eisenhower Elementary, teachers say
Jami Marseilles provides extra motivation.
Marseilles joined the Eisenhower staff in
2013 as a kindergarten teacher, and her story
is nothing short of inspiring.
In 1987, Marseilles was trapped in a car
in Arizona during a blizzard following a ski
Click here for video
Principal Beth Cusimano, left, and teacher Jami
Marseille, a bilateral amputee Paralympian, lead
a schoolwide running culture.
Supt. leads district turnaround in staffing, achievement
The Alisal Union School District turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous over the past six years under the leadership of Superintendent John Ramirez Jr.
At a time in California when more and
more school districts are struggling to find
enough teachers, Ramirez is proud of the
fact that Alisal – a K-6 district of about
9,000 students in Salinas – entered 2016-17
That is unfortunately not the case statewide, where the number of potential educators in credentialing programs and credentials being issued have dropped alarmingly.
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing
has reported that 2013-14 marked the 10th
straight year of declining numbers, and in
the past five years there has been an overall
decrease of 26 percent in new teaching credentials issued.
Ramirez credits Alisal’s success in the
face of these numbers to aggressive recruit-
ing efforts. The district also focused on
promoting from within, and succeeded in
hiring 50 teachers, with 15 of those currently enrolled in a credentialing program,
for a total of 372 teachers.
Alisal Assistant Superin
tendent-HR Ricardo Cabrera
told the Monterey Herald
that the district managed this
despite the additional challenge of finding a sufficient
number of bilingual teachers
for a district in which two of every three
students is an English learner.
Ramirez and his staff are energized by
the results of these efforts, as well as efforts
to increase student achievement and lead
the district back to a strong fiscal position.
Ramirez arrived in 2010 to help lead the
district out of a significantly challenging
period. Alisal USD was taken over by the
state for academic failure. The State Board
Schools to Watch.
Department of Education has
announced that 13 high-performing
California middle schools have been
newly designated as model middle
grades schools in the 2015-16 Schools
to Watch – Taking Center Stage program. In addition, the sustained progress of 20 previously chosen STW
– TCS schools will allow them to retain
their designation. All of the schools
will be recognized in Sacramento at
the California Middle Grades Alliance
annual luncheon Feb. 25, during the
California League of Schools’ Annua