Garden Grove Unified School District Superintendent Gabriela Mafi received an Arts Leadership Award at the 2019 Orange County Music & Arts Educators Awards Ceremony hosted by the Orange County Department of Education at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on May 9.
The award recognizes Mafi for exceptional leadership and support of art programs, which have flourished under her leadership.
teacher Lori Adams from Post Elementary School was recognized among the county’s 2019 Outstanding Arts Educators, and was the only elementary teacher to receive a special award for excellence in Visual Arts instruction.
Adams is one of the 24 district elementary teachers on the district’s Visual Arts Learning Team, a group of teachers learning about delivering high quality art instruction in the elementary classroom. A 23-year veteran teacher, Adams teaches fourth grade and interweaves visual art instruction into her classroom and teaches an after-school art class to provide more students with an opportunity to express their creativity.
“Dr. Mafi has been a champion for arts education and has shown incredible support for providing equity in access to ensure all students have an opportunity to participate in arts programs,” said Walter Muneton, board of education trustee. “When other districts were cutting art, Dr. Mafi worked with the board to ensure art programs continued to thrive in our district. Our art, dance, music, and theater teachers, along with our classroom teachers like Lori Adams inspire students’ creativity and empower students with countless benefits toward their academic and personal growth.”
Under Dr. Mafi’s leadership, music instruction has doubled at primary levels and has been added to transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes. Four years ago, Dr. Mafi reinstated and expanded a music program at the Special Education Center at Mark Twain, which serves the district’s most medically fragile students, and two years ago, a music program was implemented for secondary students in Moderate/Severe Special Education settings for the first time.
Recently the district adopted its first Arts Plan, increased professional development for all Visual and Performing Arts teachers, and coming this fall the district will open its first Arts Academy launched at Bryant Elementary School and its first elementary and intermediate Mariachi after-school program.
The Garden Grove Unified School District serves most of Garden Grove and portions of Stanton, Westminster, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Cypress and Fountain Valley.