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May 24, 2001
Contact: Tim Woodhull


California State University, Dominguez Hills School of Education honors two educators for their work as teachers and administrators

California State University, Dominguez Hills has honored two veteran educators with special awards for “outstanding contributions to the mission of the School of Education.”

The two recipients are Maria Casillas, originator and president of the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project (LAAMP) aimed at school reform, and Dick Vladovic, District K superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

“Our purpose is to prepare professional educators who will work successfully with neighborhoods and communities we serve,” says Billie Blair, dean of the School of Education. “This award celebrates Maria’s and Dick’s ‘outstanding contributions’ to that mission. We recognize all they have done – and all they continue to do - to help people strive toward their potential. They serve as exemplars of professional educators to those we are preparing.”

LAAMP President Maria Casillas was born in El Paso, Texas. The youngest of 11 children, her parents migrated from Mexico to the U.S. to escape religious persecution. Casillas graduated from the university of Texas, El Paso, with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. She received a master’s degree in Urban Education from CSU Los Angeles.

A veteran teacher and administrator in California and in Texas, Casillas established LAAMP in 1995 to enhance and accelerate school reform in public schools across Los Angeles County.

Vladovic, who is currently District K superintendent, is a veteran teacher and administrator. He started his career serving as both teacher and administrator, teaching Social Studies at a middle school in the LAUSD where he also coordinated the school’s Gifted and Talented program. From there, he was appointed General Secondary and Gifted Advisor for K-12 in District A.

Throughout his career, Vladovic has accepted positions in schools facing special challenges. At each assignment, he has focused on academic achievement and implemented innovated educational curriculums tailored to the needs of the communities his school served.

“They never stopped teaching by example,” Blair said, “and they continue to demonstrate all an educator must be.”

Further information can be obtained by contacting Tim Woodhull, director of Media Relations, at (310) 243-3367.