Before Linda Alaniz became principal of Crowell Elementary School in Turlock five years ago, there was a slight disconnect between parent, teachers and administrators. While the school was functioning, it wasn’t doing so at its highest level, according to numerous parents and teachers on campus.
But Alaniz has changed the culture at Crowell and has brought teachers, parents and administrators together to improve student performance and opportunities.
On Tuesday, Alaniz was awarded the Parent-Teacher-Student Association’s (PTSA) Outstanding Administrator of the Year for the PTSA’s 8th District (Central Valley).
For Alaniz, Crowell is more than just her job; it has literally been part of her life for an extremely long time. As a child she attended Crowell from kindergarten through fifth-grade.
“I want to do what is best for our community and do so through our teachers in collaboration with families. After all, the family is a child’s first teacher,” she explained. “When I got here I knew we had a lot of talented teachers but they just needed to be refocused and we needed to get the families more involved.”
The Crowell Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) board nominated Alaniz for her honor. The board heralded her attendance at PTA meetings and functions, her guidance in regard to funding and activities.
“She has really done a wonderful job here to help make us a more cohesive group. Before each classroom did its own fundraising for field trips and activities but now we have an all-or-nothing mentality. If one class goes, all the other classes in that grade go too,” said Sally Dickinson, a third grade teacher at Crowell.
On top of the administrative duties, her compassion and caring for students goes above and beyond the call of duty. In recent years Alaniz has championed a blood and bone marrow drive for a Crowell student suffering from leukemia.
“Linda has compassion for all and chooses civility. Her passion is contagious to all that work with her and helps fuel the needed life blood in our schools today,” Crowell PTA President Shar Bruha wrote in a nomination letter to the PTSA.Turlock Unified School District Superintended Sonny Da Marto appreciates Alaniz’s efforts at Crowell. “Linda has a great deal of pride in her community and is extremely involved, especially with the PTA. It is a great honor to have one of our principals named to this prestigious recognition,” he wrote in an e-mail.
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