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4th Annual Superintendent's Awards for Excellence in Museum Education

The Superintendent’s Awards for Excellence in Museum Education Competition recognizes the outstanding achievements in California museum programs that serve K-12 students and/or educators. The competition is the joint project of the sponsors, CAM and the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Six California museums were selected in 2015 to receive an award for excellence in museum education, chosen by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. At least one third of the awards were given to eligible organizations with annual operating budgets less than $2 million. The 2015 winners are:
Autry National Center of the American West – Autry Classroom Curators
Autry Classroom Curators transforms secondary students into scholars and artists. The Autry collaborates with classroom teachers, creating project-based learning units by providing access to scholars, teaching artists, and professionals. Student projects are then premiered in the Autry’s student art gallery, at local schools or in their community.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum – Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition on the West Coast
The Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition on the West Coast encourages literacy, an appreciation for books, and the art and craft of original bookmaking in the classroom through a close collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District that engages K-12 students in designing, writing, and creating their own books.
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco – Get Smart with Art: Past & Present
Sixth -grade learners use a cycle of inquiry to explore  the galleries at the Legion of Honor through three different activities: Interpreting the Past, Building an Exhibit, and Observing Detail. Over the course of their visit students study Ancient Art, European Art, and work with the museum’s touching objects.
Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum – Common Ground Garden
The Common Ground Garden program is an immersive, year-long program that teaches middle-school students how to be environmental stewards of the earth through organic gardening. Leveraging the resources of multiple partnerships with diverse organizations has made Common Ground a successful organization.
Museum of Tolerance – School Group Interactive Experience
The immersive program designed for students ages 12 and above, serving 120,000 per year, promotes critical thinking and understanding of self and others. Engaging in the Holocaust and Tolerance Exhibits, students are moved from discussion to action and empowered to assume responsibility for making a positive difference in the world.
Palo Alto Art Center – Cultural Kaleidoscope
Cultural Kaleidoscope is a unique artists-in-the-schools program that links the neighboring and diverse communities of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park, building bridges through the arts. Cultural Kaleidoscope provides unique cross-cultural art experiences for hundreds of students annually.
Including the awardees above, the competition has presented 24 awards to California museums that represent a diverse range of institutions and demonstrate the vibrant contributions museums make to California’s K-12 educational system. Past winners are posted online at www.calmuseums.org/superintendentsawards2014, www.calmuseums.org/superintendentsawards2013, www.calmuseums.org/superintendentsawards2012.
The winning programs were presented with their awards at the 2015 CAM annual luncheon in San Diego, February 19, 2015, held in conjunction with CAM’s annual conference. Representatives also gave a short presentation at a session immediately following the luncheon. 
2015 Selection Committee Members
Craig Cheslog
Craig is the Principal Advisor to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Prior to joining the California Department of Education in January 2011, he served as the District Director for then-Assemblymember Tom Torlakson, after previously serving in the same capacity for then-State Senator Torlakson. He is the Honorary Chair and past national president of the Alpha Delta Phi Society, a coeducational literary and social society around the United States, is the elected Region 2 Director of the California Democratic Party, and serves on the boards of the Lamorinda Democratic Club and Planned Parenthood Shasta-Pacific Action Fund Board of Directors. He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, with a bachelor's degree in government and legal studies with a minor in education.
Susan Spero, Ph.D. 
Professor Susan Spero teaches Museum Studies at the John F. Kennedy University focusing on learning theory, programming and planning, as well as museums interactive technologies and electronic access.  She has produced interpretive and curriculum projects for multiple institutions in the San Francisco Bay area. She serves on the board of the Museum Education Roundtable that produces the Journal of Museum Education, and on the Communications Committee of the Western Museums Association. Her M.A. and Ph. D. are awarded from The Ohio State University. 
Alissa Whiteley
Alissa Whiteley graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  After graduating she worked for four years as a Director for Huntington Learning Center, where she worked closely with hundreds of students, parents, teachers and counselors to develop individualized learning plans to help students succeed in school. She gravitated towards the field of museum education in 2010, and is currently the Manager of the Air Force One Discovery Center at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, where she enjoys seeing the impact of simulation-based learning on the 25,000 students per year who experience this award winning program.
Questions? Contact Celeste DeWald, CAM’s Executive Director, by phone at 831-471-9970 x102 or by e-mail at cam@calmuseums.org