Press Release: CFF Honors Local Schools & Educators for Innovative Programs

Posted in: CFF News


Local Teaching Achievements Recognized at 14th Annual Innovation in Education Awards

SAN DIEGO – April 28, 2017 – With almost one-third of students nationwide graduating without the skills necessary to succeed in a competitive workforce, Classroom of the Future Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Innovation in Education Awards to recognize local educators and programs that are preparing San Diego County students with the skills required for their future careers.

Eleven awards will be given out at the awards ceremony, including the Visionary & Outstanding Leadership Award given to La Jolla-based National University. The ceremony will take place on May 24 at 4 p.m. at SeaWorld.

“Each year, the foundation recognizes local classroom leaders and programs that expand student learning through innovative teaching techniques,” said James Wright, CEO at Classroom of the Future Foundation. “This year’s awardees exemplify the unique ways local students are learning to thrive in today’s competitive, global society.”

The following recipients will be honored at the awards event:

  • National University will receive the Visionary & Outstanding Leadership Award for making learning opportunities accessible to a diverse population of students, including offering 23 teaching credentials. Among them is the Sanford College of Education, which is one of the top ten largest schools of education in the country. Over the past 20 years, more than 100 National University alumni throughout the state of California have been recognized as Teachers of the Year at the local, state and national level. Accepting the award at the event will be David Andrews, President of National University and Judy Mantle, Dean of the Sanford College of Education.


  • Feaster Charter Middle School in Chula Vista Elementary School District will receive the Inspire Award for its Hydroponic Greenhouse Program. The program provides students with the opportunity to learn how to grow, manage, and market produce hydroponically. Students learn about science, technology, engineering and math through agriculture by connecting the scientific and engineering concepts of hydroponics to core academic curriculum.


  • Sweetwater Union High School District will receive the Innovate Award for its Quadcopter Challenge program. This STEM program uses two technologies: unmanned airborne systems and 3D printers. Participating students design and construct quadcopters to compete against other high schools in the district. This program helps students to discover emerging technologies and learn critical electrical and engineering concepts, as well as aircraft safety and regulations.


  • Vista Unified School District will receive the Achieve Award for its Next Generation Science Core Leadership Team Program. The professional development program empowers every teacher to successfully implement the California Next Generation Science Standards. The program leverages a collaborative model focused on lesson study to build teacher leaders at school sites throughout the district. By increasing teacher efficacy district-wide, all students are provided with a quality science education with sufficient knowledge and skills to solve real world problems related to science and engineering.


  • Vista Unified & Design Academy (VIDA) in Vista Unified School District will receive the Impact Award for its dedication to a cross-curricular and integrated learning approach that focuses on igniting the creative genius of all students. Students at VIDA utilize what they call a design thinking process, which is embedded into every class to enhance their learning by solving real world problems. According to school officials, this approach empowers teachers and increases student success.


  • Superintendent of the Bonsall Unified School District, Dr. Justin Cunningham, will receive the Innovative Superintendent Award.  Cunningham is a sought-after speaker in the areas of brain research, technology and learning.


  • Innovative Principal Award recipient Maria Kehoe is the principal of Rios Elementary Computer Science Magnet School, within Cajon Valley Unified School District – the first computer science magnet school in the United States. Kehoe has inspired other schools and districts nationwide to provide computer science education for all students.


  • The Chief Innovation Officer of San Diego Unified School District, Dan Stoneman, will receive the Innovative Educator Award. Stoneman started a successful Division of Online Learning at the district, built Innovation Centers at three high schools to facilitate a high-touch blended learning model, and started a one-on-one, take-home computer program that impacted 16,000 students in its first year.


  • Career Pathways Educator of the Year Award will go to Keith Nuthall, principal of Del Lago Academy, Campus of Applied Science in Escondido Unified School District. The Career Pathways Award honors an education leader who is dedicated to developing programs that help students graduate with not just a diploma, but also with a greater understanding of the technical and essential skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce. Nuthall is a leader in this area and has directed national, state, and local educational career pathway initiatives.


  • San Diego Computer Using Educators (SDCUE) will present Heather Love-Fleck with the SDCUE Innovative Teacher on Special Assignment of the Year Award. In addition to supporting staff with technology, she also facilitates a STEM lab at Stuart Mesa Elementary School. She shares her innovative classroom ideas with colleagues by presenting at district-level professional learning opportunities as well as larger conferences.


  • SDCUE Innovative Teacher of the Year Award will go to Allison Slattery, a 4th grade science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics teacher at Bonsall West Elementary School in Oceanside. Slattery has taught in the Bonsall Unified School District for 20 years, and has been recognized as a 2017 San Diego County Teacher of the Year Finalist and the 2009 Greater San Diego Mathematics Council Upper Elementary Teacher of the Year.

For more information or to attend the event, call 858/292-3685 or visit

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About Classroom of the Future Foundation

The San Diego-based Classroom of the Future Foundation brings San Diego County’s education and business communities together to facilitate partnerships, which create innovative learning environments that prepare students to thrive in a competitive global society. Each year, the foundation asks educators and school district leaders throughout the county to submit their respective learning programs for Innovation in Education Awards consideration. A jury of local business and education leaders chose the winners.

Media Contact:

Christine Whitman

Nuffer, Smith, Tucker

619/296-0605, ext. 240

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