CCSA Presents Hart Vision Award for Charter School Teacher of the Year To San Jacinto Valley Academy's Kelly Sullivan Perez

February 28, 2012

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
(415) 505-7575

SACRAMENTO, California.--Today, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) presented the annual Hart Vision Award to the outstanding Charter School Teacher, Kelly Sullivan Perez, from San Jacinto Valley Academy in San Jacinto, CA.

"Kelly personifies the consummate educational pioneer and leader, and she instills in all her students a true love for learning," said Penny Harrison, CEO of the San Jacinto Valley Academy. "Her motto is to do what it takes for all students to achieve, and that's what the charter school movement is all about, giving opportunity to all students, and not letting any student fall behind."

As a 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Perez establishes a shared approach to each student's learning by achieving close to 100% parent conferences annually, and establishing learning goals with each student and family to focus on increasing achievement based on each student's input.

She also incorporates innovative ideas in the classroom, including projects on conservation and endangered species. In addition, she encourages student particiaption in various ways. Specifically, studnets in Perez's class formed a city council, elected a mayor, and discussed topics which were of importance to them. On one occasion, after a survey was taken on the need for more play area and a soccer field, students researched the health benefits of a more structured play area. They put their findings into a report and scheduled a meeting with administrators to discuss their findings.

Perez also uses technology to enhance learning in her classroom, including laptops, iPads, and other programs, and encourages parent participation and involvement.

"I love the parents and the kids in this charter. They are here by choice, and with high expectations, and we do everything we can to ensure that their kids are getting the education they deserve and that will help them be successful in their lives," said Perez.

"These Hart Vision recipients embody what the charter movement is all about, and in Kelly's case, she brings that excellence to the classroom, to the very front lines. She is an inspiration to students, families and staff for the quality and perspective she brings to San Jacinto Charter Academy," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO, CCSA.

Previous Hart Vision Teacher of the Year recipients include Meredith Dadigan from Aspire Titan Academy in Los Angeles (2011); Danielle Diaz from Coastal Academy in Oceanside (2010); and Christina Hoppe from Granada Hills Charter High School in Los Angeles (2009).

The Hart Vision Awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. While serving as state senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established California charter schools. The goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to recognize and honor annually individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

The California Charters Schools Association has hosted the Charter Schools Conference for 19 years, offering resources, guidance, and advocacy support to a membership that has grown exponentially.

The California Charter Schools Conference will officially run from Monday, February 27 to Thursday, March 1, 2012. View a detailed schedule of sessions and events.

This year's Conference theme is "You Are the Charter School Movement."

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 982 charter public schools and more than 412,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit

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