On Sunday, April 30, the LMU School of Education community gathered to celebrate its 2023 awards, which recognized students, alumni, and other educators whose scholarship and work exemplify the school’s vision and mission.
Superintendent Tony Thurmond, the 28th California state superintendent of public instruction, was tapped as SOE’s educator of the year. “Throughout his career, Superintendent Thurmond has tirelessly advocated for greater, more equitable opportunities for future generations and has demonstrated a significant, lifelong commitment to enriching the lives of all learners,” said SOE Dean Michelle D. Young. Among other accomplishments since he took office in 2019, Thurmond secured $6.6 billion in funding to safely reopen California schools for in-person instruction during the pandemic; implemented the nation’s first statewide Universal Meals Program in the 2022–23 school year for California public schools; and championed a $2.7 billion universal transitional kindergarten program to ensure that California leads the nation in expanding quality preschool.
In his keynote address, Thurmond expressed pride in the Golden State’s advocacy for underserved communities and stressed that education should be a means of ending hate. “We are California. We’re not going to stand by while racism and divisiveness pervade our country,” he said. “We are big enough as a nation to discuss the parts of our history that we’re not proud of. We are capable of having those conversations—and our kids can take it.”
The complete list of 2023 winners and honorees is below.
Elementary Education (Undergraduate)
Secondary Education (Undergraduate)
Outstanding Education Award (Undergraduate)
Outstanding Graduate, Catholic Teacher Preparation (PLACE & CAST)
Jessica Barbara Griggs
Outstanding Graduate, Catholic School Leadership
Mary Ann B. Tucker
Outstanding Graduate, Counseling
Steven Van Walker, Jr.
Outstanding Graduate, Guidance and Counseling
Karen Jannet Arizmendi
Outstanding Graduate, School Counseling
Outstanding Graduate, Educational Studies
Outstanding Graduate, Elementary Education (Traditional)
Dana Marie Olson
Outstanding Graduate, Higher Ed Administration
Outstanding Graduate, School Administration
Sam Medella Luna
Outstanding Graduate, School Psychology
Ana Victoria Gomez Soto and Kelly Brianna Hugo
Outstanding Graduate, Secondary Education (Traditional)
Terrin Josephy Dooley
Outstanding Graduate, Special Education
Karina Lisete Richmond
Outstanding Graduate, Urban Education
Carolyn Marie Harmond
School of Education Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year
Ana Victoria Gomez Soto
Doctoral Program Outstanding Educational Leader for Social Justice
Norma Romero and Ricardo José Pedroarias
UCEA – Excellence in Educational Leadership
Arrupe Doctoral Student Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Mark Lopez, S.J.
Educator of the Year
Superintendent Tony Thurmond