May 2012 Archives

Jennie Snyder, Superintendent of Piner Olivet Receives Circle of Excellence Award

By Pamela Van Halsema on May 8, 2012 3:51 PM


Jennie Snyder, Superintendent of Piner Olivet Union School District has been awarded a Circle of Excellence Award by the School of Education's Educational Leadership faculty. Jennie has served the district as Superintendent for two years. She is an alumna of the CANDEL Ed.D program, a joint doctoral program that Sonoma State offers in collaboration with UC Davis. Dr. Paul Porter, Co-Director of CANDEL describes Jennie as an outstanding educator and thoughtful leader who, since becoming Superintendent has "already begun to change and shape the culture of the district, stressing collaboration, team work, and highest standards."


At a recent visit to her office I had the opportunity to speak with Superintendent Snyder about her work and her experience in the CANDEL program. As a doctoral candidate, she appreciated the time and space for reflection, and the collaboration with a cohort of fellow students with a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds. In her role at Piner-Olivet she sees tremendous challenges ahead, yet is inspired by the opportunity to collaborate with teachers and administrators in an effort to find creative solutions for her schools and community. In the end she believes that each student in her district is entitled to an education that sparks their natural curiosity, builds on their capacity to learn, inspires their imagination and provides opportunities for them to express their ideas to their fullest. Jennie Snyder is receiving the Circle of Excellence Award because she is an accomplished scholar and gifted administrator. She is the kind of child-centered, collaborative, reflective and thoughtful leader that can make those goals come to fruition.

Jack London Awards Presented to Windsor High and Oak Grove Elementary School

By Pamela Van Halsema on May 7, 2012 12:37 PM


Congratulations to Windsor High School's Vineyard Academy and Oak Grove Elementary School's Primos programs for both receiving the 2012 Jack London Award for Educational Innovation.  Each year this award is granted to one or more programs for their exemplary and innovative contributions to education in a Sonoma County Public School Because of their originality, creativity, and their ability to engage children and the community, these exciting programs deserve public recognition.

This year the honor in the elementary school category goes to the Primos program at Oak Grove Elementary School in the Oak Grove School District in NW Santa Rosa.  Program coordinator Nancy Saylor designed it after a big brother mentorship model, to provide support for kids who are learning English.  The mentors provide a little extra help at school and and a lot of encouragement.  To find mentors, Saylor started out by extending an invitation to some Oak Grove alumni who were enrolled in nearby El Molino High School, Those kids took on the role of primos, our cousins to the younger students. Their time together is characterized as playful and fun, a mix of homework help, games, and social events, all with the goal of helping these kids acquire academic skills and foster a desire in them to succeed.


The award to a secondary level program goes to Vineyard Academy at Windsor High, an interdisciplinary career track program combining culinary arts training, English, math, science and history. Students at Vineyard Academy see and experience the real world relevancy of these subjects as experience coursework in business building, economics and applied arts. The program works with community collaborations, and is supported by local businesses and organization partnerships, who provide not only resources but mentors for these students. Graduates of Vineyard Academy have a good foundation for building a career path in local tourism, including hospitality, winery and food businesses. Marie Ganister is the culinary instructor coordinating this program, but the strong collaborations include many teachers across the curriculum.

The Jack London Award program is now in its 25th year at Sonoma State University. Recipients of the award this year received a framed award certificate, two hardcover books by Jack London for their school library and a gift certificate for Copperfield's Books to purchase more reading material for their programs.

The Jack London Awards are sponsored by the California Faculty Association, The Sonoma County Educators Council CTA/NEA, The Sonoma County Office of Education, and the Sonoma State University Educational Leadership Institute, which is supported by Lozano Smith Attorneys at Law.

Information Meetings Slated in May for Administrative Services and Clear Credential Programs

By Pamela Van Halsema on May 1, 2012 10:16 AM


The SSU Educational Leadership Program will host a series of Information Meetings in May for educators interested in earning Administrative Services Credentials, Preliminary and Clear Credentials and Master's Degree in Educational Leadership.

  • Sonoma Valley Unified School District
    El Verano Elementary School Library
    18606 Riverside Drive - Sonoma CA, 95476
    Wednesday, May 2, 4:30 p.m.
  • Napa Valley Unified School District
    Napa Valley Adult Education, Room #15
    Monday, May 14, 2012, 4:30 p.m.
  • Solano County Office of Education
    Wednesday May 16th 4:00 pm

The meetings will provide Information on how SSU's Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and/or Preliminary or Clear Administrative Services Credential Programs will prepares candidates for a position of leadership in K-12 educational settings. Public, private and charter educators welcome. Prospective candidates will receive information on the following topics:

  • The ASC Preliminary and Clear Credentials and Master's Program
  • Information about the Administrative Intern Credential
  • Requirements for admission and how and when to apply
  • Now accepting applications for Fall, 2012 admission.
    Application Deadline: May 30, 2012

    For more information visit the Educational Leadership Programs webpage, or contact Dr. Rod Buchignani at or Dr. Viki Montera at