Jamie DeVries, left, Bill Cirone and Jillian Heckman. (Luis Medina/SBCEO)

Former Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, along with members of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, made a surprise visit to San Marcos High School to announce the recipients of the 2019 Bill Cirone Heart of Education Award recipients — Jamie DeVries and Jillian Heckman.

The two were honored for their leadership of the Kids Helping Kids (KHK) program. Founded in 2002, KHK is a student-run, nonprofit organization that has raised some $3.1 million to support other nonprofit ventures locally and internationally.

DeVries and Heckman use KHK to teach real-world application of the principles of advanced-placement economics.

The award, named after Cirone, recognizes an outstanding educator who demonstrates passion for the profession, creativity, and compassion for students, the same virtues Cirone championed and celebrated in his 34 years in office.

“It is tremendously rewarding to recognize teachers like Jamie DeVries and Jillian Heckman who truly represent the heart of education by empowering students every day,” said Cirone, who, with his wife Barbara, presented the awards.

“Jamie and Jillian are two educators who exemplify the passion and dedication that reflects Bill Cirone’s values. Bill has always strongly advocated for programs like Kids Helping Kids, which develop learning and leadership through service.” said Susan Salcido, county superintendent of schools.

“We are so proud to recognize Jamie and Jillian as the Bill Cirone Heart of Education Award recipients for 2019,” Salcido said.

DeVries and Heckman will be formally awarded on May 23 at the Education Celebration.

— Tracey Beauchamp for Santa Barbara County Education Office.