OEF "Education Hero of the Year"

Each year, OEF recognizes an “Education Hero” for his / her outstanding service to public education in the Ojai Valley. Honorees include Teachers, School Administrators, Students, Volunteers and Community Members. 

Education Heroes are honored at our annual Fall Fundraiser. (For information on our 2018 fundraiser, go to “OEF Celebrates!”)

For the 1st time in OEF history, and as a nod to our 25th anniversary during the 2018 - 19 school year, OEF proudly recognized 3 individuals as our 2018 Education Heroes. Please join us in congratulating:


Natalie Hay, Science Department Chair & Science Teacher, Nordhoff High School - Teacher of the Year

Abilene Runyan, Senior Honor Student, Nordhoff High School - Student of the Year, and

Asla Ruf, Full-Time Volunteer, Ojai Unified School District - Volunteer of the Year.

Go to 2018 Recipients to read more about our Honorees!

Former recipients of this award include:

  • Natalie Hay, Abilene Runyan, Asli Ruf (2018)

  • Bill Wagner (2017)

  • Greg & Martha Lepine (2016)

  • Lillian Tally (2015)

  • Rikki Horne (2014)

  • Harriett Clise (2013)

  • John Whitman (2012)

  • Susana Arce (2011)

  • Marty Babayco (2010)

  • Javier Ramirez (2009)

  • Cheryl Widders (2008)

  • Cathy Maynard (2007)

  • Doug Becker (2006)

OUSD's "Educators of the Year" and "Employees of the Year"

In addition to honoring our Education Heroes, we support the Ojai Unified School District's Educators of the Year (Certified Employee) and Employees of the Year (Classified Employee).

Teachers receiving the Educator of the Year award are selected by their peers for going beyond the call of duty by inspiring students with enthusiasm, creativity and love of teaching.

The district's Employee of the Year recognize School District classified staff employees who go the "Extra Mile."

Awards are presented by the Ojai Unified School District along with OEF Board Members during a special ceremony at OUSD's June Board meeting. Go to OUSD Awards for a full list of recent recipients.


Congratulations to the 2017 - 18 Employees of the Year:

Chaparral: Phil Paddock (Teacher), Susan Wadsworth (Employee)

Matilija Junior H.S.: Steve Gard (Teacher), Hortensia Duque (Employee)

Meiners Oaks E.S.:  Suzy Thatcher (Teacher), Elvia Gonzalez (Employee)

Mira Monte E.S.: Elizabeth Patsch (Teacher), Nicole Crawford (Employee)

Nordhoff H.S.: Bronwen Cull-Michels (Teacher), Barbara Kinney (Employee)

San Antonio E.S.: Icy Colborn (Teacher), Maggie Rogers (Employee)

Summit E.S.: Sheri Usher (Teacher), Anne Marie Arnott (Employee)

Topa Topa E.S.: Alex Mejia-Holdsworth (Teacher), James Alderete (Employee)

District Employee: David Walker (Employee)