The Association of California School Administrators has bestowed its highest honor on Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone in recognition of his work’s significant impact on numerous facets of public education over a wide geographical area during his 30 years in local elected office.
The selection committee for the Ferd. J. Kiesel Memorial Award for Distinguished Service, made in memory of ACSA’s founding president, cited Cirone’s “long track record of leadership in education, business and civic affairs at the county, state and national levels” as well as his consistent emphasis on “partnership, collaboration and communication” with school districts, government agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations that has “been admired and emulated statewide.”
Cirone is the longest-serving county superintendent of schools in California, having filled a series of four-year terms since first being elected in 1982.
Those nominating Cirone noted his office’s statewide reputation for offering high-quality services to the students, teachers and administrators in local school districts and his prolific efforts to keep the public informed about education through civic involvement, personal appearances, newspaper columns, radio commentaries and television shows.
The county superintendent interviews educators and local decision-makers on public-access television programs that include “Talking with Teachers,” “Local Leaders,” “Schools of Thought,” “Cirone on Schools” and “Innovations in Education.”
His national involvement includes participation in the White House Summit on Children and Families and in a White House dialogue on national standards and testing; two decades of service as board chairman for the national Teachers Network program; board chairman of the National Commission for Learning and Citizenship, a project of the Education Commission of the States; and board member of the Hazelden Foundation. He also co-chaired the California Arts Task Force for the state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Locally, he serves or has served on numerous boards and commissions, including board chairman of the Santa Barbara County First 5 Commission, the Santa Barbara Foundation, Partners in Education, Community Action Commission, KDB, and the Fighting Back Task Force.
Among many other honors he has received the Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Community Service Award, California State PTA Honorary Service Award, Santa Barbara News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award, and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) Outstanding County Superintendent Award.
The Ferd. J. Kiesel Memorial Award for Distinguished Service will be presented formally on Nov. 8 at ACSA’s Leadership Summit in San Jose.
— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.