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5th 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 2016 to receive an award for excellence in museum education, chosen by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. The 2016 winners are:
Discovery Cube - Futuros Radiantes
Futuros Radiantes is a program for Spanish speaking parents of preschool-aged children.  Through workshops, parents learn techniques to help their children develop early literacy skills, develop number sense, and practice science-thinking skills. The Discovery Cube’s goal is to prepare young learners to successfully enter kindergarten and develop a life-long love of learning.
Hammer Museum - Classroom-in-Residence at the Hammer
Students and teachers are immersed in a five-day residency at the Hammer Museum, where they make cross-curricular connections and utilize university and museum resources. This program is a collaboration between the Visual and Performing Arts Education Program in UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, the Hammer Museum, and select public schools.
Maidu Museum & Historic Site - Maidu Indian Life & Culture
The Maidu Indian Life & Culture program takes students on a journey of awareness and tolerance by engaging them with a living culture through interactive activities. This revelation of past and present Southern Valley Nisenan Maidu heritage and lifeways is facilitated through partnerships with tribal, academic, and community organizations.
Muckenthaler Cultural Center - STEAM Programs
The Muckenthaler is pioneering STEAM (combining the Arts with STEM) in Orange County school districts, shelters, prisons, libraries, museums, and foster care reaching 15,500 students at 28 sites in 11 cities. Standards-based programs include Photo Safari and PhotoShop; Clay and 3D Digital Modeling; Ancient Earthquake Stories; Animating Physics; and Printing The American Revolution. 
Santa Barbara Zoo - CondorKids
CondorKids is a mission-focused effort by the Santa Barbara Zoo and partners to foster a conservation ethic in grade three classrooms. The 27 lessons, live-stream nest cameras, online teacher forum, digital resources, and mobile game collectively cultivate condor-loving conservationists in Fillmore and beyond.
Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology - Museum-in-the-Classroom
The Museum-in-the-Classroom project invites 6th graders to think like curators as they design an all-school museum exhibition.  By transforming their textbook knowledge into museum labels and artifact displays, students are exposed to history as an interpretive act.  This school and museum partnership takes museum education beyond the field trip model.
The winning programs will be presented with their awards by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (or his designee) at the 2016 CAM annual luncheon in Riverside, March 3, 2016, at the Riverside Convention Center, held in conjunction with CAM’s annual conference. Representatives will also give a short presentation at a session immediately following the luncheon. 
Over the past five years, this awards program has received 106 entries from a diverse range of institutions, collectively representing the significant contributions museums make to California’s K-12 educational system. Last year’s winners are posted online at www.calmuseums.org/superintendentsawards2015.
For more information about the selection process, see the Award Entry Guidelines, Awards Rubric, and the Selection Committee members below. 
2016 Selection Committee Members
Jason Spencer
Mr. Spencer is the Principal Advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. He holds a Master’s of Public Administration from USC and Bachelor Degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Sonoma State University. Jason started his career in the Legislature as part of the Senate Fellows program in 2006. In addition to serving on then-Senator Torlakson’s legislative team, Jason was Senior Policy Advisor to the Superintendent during his first term as State Superintendent. Jason has also served as Executive Director of the 501c3 Vasconcellos Legacy Project and has worked for a private firm lobbying for informal science education institutions and other education sector non-profits.
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. 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.  She gravitated towards the field of museum education in 2010, and is currently the Associate Director of Education, School Programs for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.  She manages the Air Force One Discovery Center (2013 Superintendent Award recipient) and the summer Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program, and together these two programs impact the lives of 25,000 students each school year. 
Questions? Contact Celeste DeWald, CAM’s Executive Director, by phone at 831-471-9970 x102 or by e-mail at cam@calmuseums.org