Principal, schools reporter earn awards
Mar 14, 2013 | 1214 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two local women are among those chosen for the Association of California School Administrators Region VII awards and will be recognized at the group’s annual conference in South Lake Tahoe on May 4.

Tonya Bibbins, principal of Del Puerto High School, won the ACSA award for Adult Education Administrator, and Maddy Houk, the Patterson Irrigator community news reporter, won the Outstanding Media in Education award.

Bibbins and Houk are among 25 award winners in ACSA’s Region VII, which covers Amador, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties.

Phil Alfano, superintendent of Patterson Joint Unified School District, nominated both women for the awards.

Tonya Bibbins

Bibbins has been principal of Del Puerto High School, the district’s continuation and adult education school, for the past four years.

During that time, she has worked with students, teachers and staff to raise the graduation rate at Del Puerto from 81 percent in the 2008-09 school year to 92 percent in the 2010-11 school year.

At the same time, student suspensions have dropped from 115 students to 51 students per school year in the past three years.

“Tonya (Bibbins) emphatically believes that she and her staff have the power to turn student lives around,” Alfano said.

Bibbins invites students and parents new to Del Puerto to meet with her, take part in an orientation and then sign an agreement before entering the 140-student school. Then, each student must conduct 12 hours of community service as part of the Patterson Required Exit Program project. Students must give an oral presentation at the end of the school year on whether they have tutored, worked in a hospital or childcare facility.

Bibbins also oversees English as a Second Language courses for adults offered through the district.

She sits on the ACSA Council for Adult Education for Region VII and is a member of the ACSA California Continuing Education Association and California Continuing Education Association California Consortium for Independent Study.

Bibbins has also coached youth soccer and been involved in 4-H Club for 30 years as a member and leader.

Maddy Houk

As an Irrigator reporter, Houk covers local school board meetings and other school matters as part of her community beat. She has worked at the Irrigator off and on for 32 years.

Alfano stated in his nomination papers that Houk covered local schools in a thorough and balanced manner. That includes coverage of complex matters related to the school district budget, he wrote.

“Maddy Houk is truly a gift to the community of Patterson and our schools in particular,” Alfano wrote. “We applaud her long and illustrious career as a newspaper reporter.”

He gave kudos to Houk for covering a breadth of stories in the schools beat — student and staff accomplishments, school district initiatives, standardized testing results and features on assemblies, student art exhibitions, spelling bee competitions and other events.

She regularly highlights the district’s employees of the month and reports on student awards banquets and scholarship recipients, Alfano added.

Houk works with school staff to provide factual information, Alfano said, so that her news stories are balanced and accurate.

“We are grateful for her well-constructed stories highlighting the accomplishments of our students and staff, are very appreciative of her ongoing commitment to providing the citizens of Patterson with a well-balanced and thoughtful approach to coverage of our public schools, and look forward to reading her stories for many years into the future,” Alfano stated.

n Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or

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