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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #18-69
October 25, 2018
Contact: Cynthia Butler
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Applauds Expanded Learning Leaders in Honor of National Lights On Afterschool

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated the California Department of Education (CDE) 2018 California Expanded Learning award winners.

“Expanded learning programs are an important extension of a student’s typical school day. The programs provide additional academic support, cultural enrichment, and social and emotional learning opportunities,” said Torlakson. “These awards are a way to recognize the talented and dedicated staff who are helping students learn, thrive, and succeed inside and outside the classroom.” 

Studies show that expanded learning programs increase student attendance, cut dropout rates, reduce juvenile crime, and boost academic success.

The awards are part of Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide event celebrating the role of afterschool programs in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families.

Torlakson has been a staunch supporter of learning and cultural enrichment programs outside regular school hours. He created the CDE’s Expanded Learning Division and has relentlessly fought for adequate Expanded Learning funding.  

In 2017, President Trump proposed eliminating all federal funding for Expanded Learning programs, which would have taken away $129 million or about 18 percent of the total amount California spends on Expanded Learning. Torlakson vigorously opposed the proposal to eliminate all federal funding for Expanded Learning, calling it “counterproductive and short-sighted.” In the end, funding was maintained.

The Expanded Learning awards are divided into three areas: Visionary Leadership, Emerging Leadership, and this year’s new category, Inspirational Leadership. There are two winners selected for each category.        

The six recipients were chosen based on their outstanding commitment to improving and enriching the lives of young people through Expanding Learning.

The California Expanded Learning Visionary Leadership recipients are leaders who have amassed a record of achievement and innovation:

Adrienne Herd, Program Administrator/Grant Manager, University of California, Berkeley

Adrienne’s passion for working with underserved communities and after school projects began when she was a college student and helped to start a program in partnership with the NAACP called Saturday Schools in homes and churches, which taught reading and phonics to struggling students. During the span of her career, Adrienne has been responsible for generating millions of dollars in local, state, and federal funds to support families in underserved communities.

Allyson Harris, Director of Youth Support Services, Shasta County Office of Education

Over her 20 year career in Expanded Learning, Allyson has worked in various roles, including: regional technical support and training, K–12 grant-funded programs and fee-based summer programs.Most recently, Allyson was the Program Director for the Project SHARE Program in Shasta County, serving kindergarten through twelfth grade students attending twenty-five schools in eighteen districts.

The California Expanded Learning Inspirational Leadership recipients are individuals who have inspired quality and innovation: 

Sergio Espinoza, Director of Special Projects, Heber Elementary School District

Sergio’s exposure to the importance of Expanded Learning Programs began when he was a child traveling from town to town with his family and working the various harvest seasons. He was enrolled in many schools and after school programs. That experience motivated Sergio to pursue a career in education. He entered the field as an elementary school teacher at Heber Elementary School. After receiving a Master’s Degree and completing an Administrative Credentialing program, he became a district Assistant Principal. Currently he is the Project Director and Special Education Director for the Heber Elementary School District and coordinator for the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program. Sergio’s goal for ASES is to ensure that students are exposed to cultural and enrichment activities that go beyond activities in the classroom.

Linda Burkholder, Director of Family Engagement and Support Services, Folsom Cordova Unified School District

For almost two decades Linda has supported the dedicated staff members of the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program. The program serves more than 500 students at nine Title 1 school sites in Rancho Cordova. Linda also directs the school district’s Family Engagement Summer Academy, which offers a no-cost locally funded four-week STEM enrichment program for elementary students. Parents are also allowed to enroll as co-learners alongside their children. This year, Linda was selected by her fellow school district administrators as Folsom Cordova Unified School District’s 2018 Administrator of the Year.

The California Expanded Learning Emerging Leadership recipients are the leaders of tomorrow bringing fresh ideas, leadership, and excitement today:

Adilene Herrera, After School Program Coordinator, Healdsburg Parks and Recreation Department

Adilene has worked for the City of Healdsburg for six years. She has an outgoing personality that helps her connect with her students and encourage them to unleash their creativity. Adilene attributes the passion she has for her work to the amazing mentors and teachers she has had in her own life.

David Anderson, Manager, Expanded Learning Program, Lennox School District

David joined the Lennox School District in 2013 as the coordinator for the Expanded Learning program. He was later promoted to manager where he currently oversees daily operations and a host of academic and enrichment programs, including homework assistance, sign language, video game design, and Mandarin Chinese. David takes his leadership seriously and operates a program that helps to lay a solid academic, career, and civic foundation for students. He believes that through youth, we may change the world in one generation.

Lights On Afterschool was launched in October 2000 with celebrations in 1,200 communities nationwide. Lights On Afterschool is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable after school programs. For more information, visit the Lights On Afterschool External link opens in new window or tab. website.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 28, 2020
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