Group honors Empire schools chief

Salutes go out to leaders in Waterford, Ceres, too

March 22, 2008 

Empire schools Superintendent Bob Price has won the top honor from an organization representing 16,000 school leaders throughout California.

The Association of California School Administrators announced Thursday that Price would receive the Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award, given annually to a person who has made a significant contribution to education.

"For a school administrator, it's kind of like the Academy Awards. I'm very humbled to have been nominated," Price said.

The award is named after the association's founding president. Price will receive the award in November at the association's annual summit.

Retired Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Martin Petersen won the award in 2006.

Empire has struggled with declining enrollment and faces cuts of $2.8 million from a $30 million budget next year. But despite the challenges, Price said, he is proud that two schools in his district -- Stroud Elementary and Teel Middle School -- have won California Distinguished School awards.

Two more district schools are up for the award this year, he said.

"I am fortunate to work in a district with a wonderful board of trustees, exceptionally talented administrators, excellent teachers and extremely talented support staff," Price said. "I share this award with the people I have had the opportunity to work with for the past 15 years."

Don Davis of Waterford High School was the association's state winner for secondary principal of the year.

Waterford High earned a Title I Academic Achievement Award and a California Distinguished School Award last year after drastically improving student test scores since the campus opened in 2001.

"The credit goes to the teachers and the students," Davis said. "I'm just fortunate to be in the right place in the right time, I suspect."

Mary Jones, assistant superintendent of educational services at the Ceres Unified School District, won the association's award for curriculum and instruction administrator of the year.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at or 578-2337.

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