Vicki Romero, co-director of curriculum and instruction for the , recently was presented with the first MarinCAN College Access Champion Award, according to a district press release.
Nominations were taken for those who demonstrate a sustained commitment to helping students gain access to college educational opportunities; the ability to establish nurturing relationships with diverse students and inspire them to attend college; and a commitment to collaborating effectively with others within and outside their schools to increase college access.
The award was presented at the First Marin College Access Network Conference, titled “From Access to Success,” at the of the College of Marin in Novato.
“Vicki has made a tremendous difference in the lives of countless Novato youth. She is an amazing, inspiring leader,” said Alaina Cantor, director of program development and evaluation at the .
Romero said all youths should have the opportunity to succeed in life.
Romero is credited by the district for taking the lead to bring the AVID program — Achievement Via Individual Determination — back to the district and serving as the key administrator. AVID is a college readiness system designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance from elementary level through post-secondary school.
Romero also played a key role in representing the district in the launch of the 1-Up-4 College Middle School Enrichment Program at the Novato Youth Center. The extended learning opportunity for middle schoolers combines academics with personal enrichment and leadership development, with the goal of being college ready.
In addition, Romero has served in a leadership role with the Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth for many years. Over the past three years, she has worked to increase the infrastructure and apply for grant opportunities. Recent grant awards are focused on reducing drug and alcohol use and bullying and harassment among youth. These goals will enable youth to stay on track, graduate from high school and have a college path as an option.
NUSD Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said the entire district is proud of Romero’s contributions and accomplishments.
“Her work with the youth of Novato is priceless,” Cunningham said. “She has made a difference in many lives. Vicki was very surprised to receive the award. She had nominated someone else and was expecting to introduce them when her name was called.
Larken Bond, a senior, wrote about Romero as part of the nomination process. Bond has known Romero for four years, dating to when Bond enrolled in AVID her freshman year.
“She has invited me numerous times to publicly speak about the program,” Bond wrote. “Through these experiences, with her guidance, I am much more confident in myself as a public speaker. … She has not only inspired me to reach my college dreams, but she has created opportunities for myself as well as other students of diverse backgrounds as well.”
MarinCAN (Marin College Access Network) is a membership network and collaborative established in 2010 to support the educational initiative of the Marin Community Foundation. The network supports targeted geographical regions and consists of community-based organizations, K-12 districts and schools, higher education, funders and other concerned parties. Learn more about it here.