We Proudly Recognize our 2019 CVUSD Inclusion Heroes
In honor of National Inclusive Schools Week, which Conejo Valley Unified School District celebrated from December 2nd to December 6th, the District put a call out to the CVUSD community to shine a light on our Inclusion Heroes. Inclusion Heroes are CVUSD teachers, staff members, and administrators who go above and beyond to create a community of inclusivity, kindness, and respect to enhance the learning for ALL students.
More than 65 nominations of incredible, dedicated professionals were submitted, and we are proud to recognize the following five individuals as our 2019 Inclusion Heroes:
Susan Frisoli – Para Educator, Acacia Magnet School for Enriched Learning
Ms. Frisoli is a champion for inclusion at Acacia Magnet School for Enriched Learning. She encourages students to share commonalities with one another, which helps to forge friendships both inside and outside of the classroom. Her daily actions showcase how inclusivity, and kindness to one another truly enhance the learning for ALL students.
Debbie Hanna – Sparkles Leader/Coach
Ms. Hanna has organized the District’s Sparkles Cheer Program for almost ten years. This program is an opportunity for all CVUSD students to play, work, and learn together weekly during school, after school, and at extra-curricular events. Their Cheer performances at school rallies, sport event, and other schools, demonstrate inclusion for their entire student body and community. Each student is welcomed to participate, and encouraged to do their best.
Patty Lewis – Principal of Maple Elementary School
Principal Lewis works tirelessly to create a school climate of kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. The seeds of change she planted are beginning to grow and flourish, seemingly on their own. Inclusion is always at the forefront of her every thought, idea, suggestion, or plan, whether it be the playground, classrooms, drop-off/pick-up, meetings with parents, meetings with staff, or speaking with students. Inclusion is the lens in which she views her Maple Mustangs and it is evident in everything she does. Kindness, acceptance and inclusion are a part of her everyday language, and Ms. Lewis makes sure that every student feels welcome at Maple.
Erin Nassar – Special Education Teacher, Ladera STARS Academy
Ms. Nassar works hard to make sure that students’ needs are being met and that they have all the same opportunities as every other student on campus. She is dedicated to ensuring her students get to participate with their peers and foster friendships with all students. She goes above and beyond to help students, and gives her expertise to assist with the learning of those are not in her class. She is an inclusion advocate, facilitates students working together, learning from each other, and appreciating each other's abilities and strengths.
Sammi Stewart – Adaptive Physical Education Teacher, Newbury Park High School, Sequoia Middle School & Westlake High School
Coach Sammi has dedicated her life and career not only to serving students with special needs in their health, wellness and physical lives, but she is also a dedicated champion bringing Special Olympics Unified Sports to CVUSD schools. This is a specific effort that unites students both with and without disabilities to play as teammates together, enriching the lives of all. She is a consummate cheerleader when it comes to raising awareness that everyone’s lives are touched in positive ways by being fully inclusive.
These dedicated educators were formally recognized as Inclusion Heroes with a certificate of appreciation at the Tuesday, December 17, 2019 Board of Education Meeting. We are so proud of all of our school sites for their on-going efforts to create campuses of inclusion and kindness!