May 3, 2002

Sweetwater Administrators, Teen Take Top Regional Awards

The Sweetwater District has captured two “Administrator of the Year” awards presented recently by the Association of California School Administrators, Region 18.

And The Winners Are…: Sandra L. Smith (L), Board of Trustees executive assistant, Elizabeth Delgadillo, Montgomery High sophomore, and John DeVore, Southwest High principal, are all smiles after being honored by the Association of California School Administrators, Region 18.

The winners—Southwest High Principal John DeVore and Board of Trustees executive assistant/board clerk Sandi Smith—were chosen from among their peers throughout San Diego and Imperial counties. As regional winners, both DeVore and Smith were nominated for the association’s statewide awards.

Joining DeVore and Smith was Montgomery High sophomore Elizabeth Delgadillo, who was honored with a regional “Every Student Succeeding Award.”

Elizabeth’s grades had put her at risk of not graduating, triggering her placement in the after-school program Project PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in Daily Efforts). The program targets first-time ninth graders who have fallen below a 2.0 grade-point-average during any quarter. With after-school tutoring and the supervision of teachers Linda Stanley and Belia Rivera, Elizabeth blossomed. Her GPA for the fourth quarter of last year was 3.20, and it soared in the first quarter of this year to 4.0.

In nominating Elizabeth, Montgomery High Principal Karen Janney wrote, “Elizabeth is a true success story. ... She feels the encouragement she receives from program staff has been very influential in helping her to change her attitude toward school and her own abilities. Elizabeth is now looking at college as a very real possibility.”

DeVore began his tenure as principal of Southwest High School in 1999. In each of DeVore’s first two years at the school, Southwest High has been named a National Demonstration School for the Advancement Via Individual Determination program. AVID officials noted that Southwest proved an ability “to create schoolwide change and increase college-going rates.” In addition, the percentage of Southwest students passing the district writing sample jumped to 33 percent in his first year alone. The school also experienced skyrocketing numbers of Advanced Placement exams administered—from 387 in 2000 to 450 last year to an estimated 680 this spring. DeVore said his selection as secondary school “Administrator of the Year” was a credit to Southwest’s teachers.

Smith, who spent 30 years in the fashion industry, came to the Sweetwater District in 1993. Sweetwater board members praise her professionalism. Smith is also deeply involved in community events. And as a board member of Fashion Group International, she was key to acquiring donated clothing for the district’s needy adult school students.

Montgomery Adult School Principal Tom Teagle noted in nominating Smith that the clothing donations specifically target Welfare-to-Work participants.

“In many cases, these students are unable to afford the cost of purchasing business attire suitable for job interviews and for the workplace,” Teagle said. “Thanks to Mrs. Smith’s efforts and the generosity of the members of The Fashion Group International San Diego Region, dozens of needy students have been properly dressed for their interviews and for the workplace.”

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