Superintendent's Awards 2019

8th Annual Superintendent's Awards for Excellence in Museum Education

The Superintendent’s Awards for Excellence in Museum Education Competition recognizes the outstanding achievements in California museum programs that serve K-12 students and/or educators. The competition is the joint project of the sponsors, the California Association of Museums (CAM) and the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Over the past seven years, the competition has received over 135 entries, representing a diverse range of institutions, that demonstrate the vibrant contributions museums make to California’s K-12 educational system. Click here to review guidelines, eligibility, and instructions for applying, in addition to the scoring rubric for the 2019 Superintendent's Awards. DEADLINE TO APPLY: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018




The winning programs will be presented with their awards by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (or his designee) at a CAM event in San Francisco on Saturday, February 9, 2019 held in conjunction with CAM’s annual conference.  Representatives will give a short presentation about their award-winning program that same day.

2019 Superintendent’s Award Review Committee members:

Rebekah Harding is the Associate Director of Learning and Engagement at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute with over 15 years of experience in informal education programming, experience design and audience engagement. Additionally, Rebekah serves as President of the Museum Educators of Southern California and is Professional Development Chair-Elect for EdCom, the Education Committee for the American Alliance of Museums. Prior to her current role, Rebekah worked in residential summer camps, outdoor science schools, and at the Autry Museum of the American West. She holds a Master’s Degree in American History from California State University, Northridge. When she is not in the museum, Rebekah leads an adventurous life raising her fierce daughter, Emma.

Kanani Hoopai is Director of Education at the Mission Inn Foundation in Riverside, CA. Kanani loves museum education because it allows her the opportunity to work with people, especially students, and provides constant opportunities to learn and try new things. Her previous work experience includes Dumbarton House and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The Mission Inn Foundation’s Hands On History Community Outreach, which connects youth with local artists, historians, and community members to explore and share the history of their communities, is a 2017 recipient of the Superintendent’s Award.

Jason Spencer is the Principal Advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. He holds a Master’s of Public Administration from USC and Bachelor Degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Sonoma State University. Jason started his career in the Legislature as part of the Senate Fellows program in 2006. In addition to serving on then-Senator Torlakson’s legislative team, Jason was Senior Policy Advisor to the Superintendent during his first term as State Superintendent. Jason has also served as Executive Director of the 501c3 Vasconcellos Legacy Project and has worked for a private firm lobbying for informal science education institutions and other education sector non-profits.


2018 Superintendent's Award Winners:

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
BioSITE (Students Investigating Their Environment)

BioSITE (Students Investigating Their Environment) is a year-long comprehensive school-based environmental education program developed and implemented by Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. Students participate in outdoor field studies, inquiry-centered science learning, and a compelling mentorship model that engages high school students with elementary students consistently throughout the school year.

Hiller Aviation Museum
Aero Design Challenge

The Aero Design Challenge allows middle school students to work with authentic tools of scientists and engineers to complete a design exercise in aeronautics.  Held annually, it serves as an engine for developing innovative curriculum and provides industry partners an opportunity to participate in presenting hands-on STEM programming.

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Edible Teaching Garden & Culinary Arts Program

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes’ Garden and Culinary Program instructs K-12 students on the importance of native plants to the ecosystem and to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Students observe, touch, smell, and eat plants from the garden and prepare a nutritious snack. Since 2012, the program has served more than 30,000 students and more than 330,000 through community events.

Museo Eduardo Carrillo
Hablamos Juntos: Creating Bridges: Personal Journeys into Art and Writing 

Hablamos Juntos: Creating Bridges: Personal Journeys into Art and Writing is a collaboration between Museo Eduardo Carrillo and Young Writers Program Santa Cruz. Creating Bridges curriculum uses contemporary Latinx art to build narrative writing skills for middle/ high school students. Stories reflect shared experiences, using art to trigger thoughtful writing.


Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
LiMPETS (Long-Term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students)

The LiMPETS citizen science program monitors coastal California ecosystems and helps youth develop a scientific understanding of the ocean. LiMPETS records data in rocky intertidal and sandy beach ecosystems and aims to provide publicly accessible, scientifically sound, long-term data to inform marine resource management and the scientific community.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Lending Library & Teacher Professional Development

Turtle Bay Exploration Park strives to serve teachers in northern California with our Lending Library & Teacher Professional Development Workshops. The Lending Library provides fully-stocked classroom kits focusing on science and math for teachers to borrow. Professional development workshops further engage teachers, model appropriate teaching behavior, and provide hands-on opportunities for teachers to enrich their classroom skills.