DOWNEY – Warren High teacher Alison Kirby has been named “Woman of the Year” by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia. She and other honorees from Garcia’s 58th Assembly district were honored at a luncheon last Friday at the Southern California Gas Company’s Energy Resource Center in Downey.
“As part of Women’s History Month, it is such an honor to recognize these strong women, from my own backyard, who inspire, empower their communities, and improve their neighbors’ lives - they are the #pride58,” Garcia said, referring to her #pride58 program that recognizes outstanding people in her district.
Kirby was born and raised in the 58th Assembly District and spends almost every day of her life giving back to her community, in particular the city of Downey.
She has worked at Warren High School as an English teacher for six years but Kirby’s day doesn’t end when the bell rings. She has taken on the role of Link Crew advisor, a transition program that welcomes freshmen and makes them believe that students can help students succeed.
Kirby is also an advisor for the Ladies Leadership Club, a club dedicated to empowering young women through mentorship, political engagement and educational opportunities. Kirby serves as cheer coach and ASB class advisor.
Aside from her work in school, Kirby also partakes in the accreditation commission for schools as a WASC Committee Leader, Skills USA Advisor, PLC leader, ILT member and SIOP Coach.
In addition to Kirby, other honorees include Dr. Linda Lacy (Norwalk), Veronica Bloomfield (Artesia), Sandra Espinoza-Perry (Bellflower), Marilyn Thompson (Bell Gardens), Mae Lovgren (Cerritos), Carmen Marquez (Commerce), Shushma Patel (Montebello) and Lizet Olmos (Pico Rivera).
Dr. Linda Lacy
Dr. Linda Lacy was appointed president of Cerritos College in 2009. More than 40 years ago, she began her career as a high school coach and teacher, and she has been dedicated to education ever since.
She has maintained her “coaching mentality” throughout her career and encourages others to give their best. Lacy established the Cerritos College Hall of Fame, to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the college.
She also created the Falcon Leadership Academy to develop successful leaders through a series of experiences designed around sound practices and guided discovery activities.
Lastly, she created the President’s Middle College Scholars Program in partnership with ABC, Bellflower, Downey and Norwalk La-Mirada Unified School District, to allow selected high school students who are interested in teaching careers to take college-level courses focusing on STEM.
Aside from her work with Cerritos College, Lacy also serves on the CA Community College Athletics Association Board of Directors, the Coast Plaza Hospital Governing Board of Directors, the Community College League of CA Chief Executive Officers of CA Community Colleges and the CCLC Advisory Committee on Legislation.
At a very young age, Mrs. Bloomfield learned what it meant to be a community volunteer as she accompanied her parents in some of their civic activities.
In honor of her father “Mr. Artesia”, Mrs. Bloomfield coauthored “Artesia: 1875-1975”, which is a gathering of photographs and considerable narrative material that explains the history of Artesia.
Currently, Mrs. Bloomfield is the president of the Artesia Historical Society. She worked in partnership with the City of Artesia in overseeing the relocation of a private home which in time became the Artesia Historical Museum.
She is also the chairperson of the Beautification and Maintenance Commission, founding member and secretary of the Friends of Artesia Foundation, president of the Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos, and chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Artesia Cemetery District. Mrs. Bloomfield earned her RN degree from the California Hospital School of Nursing and her Masters in Health Science from Cal State Los Angeles.
Sandra came to the United States in 1988 looking for a better life. Her escape from poverty and fear ultimately led to her blessed life in Bellflower where she gives back to the country in which she fled and also to the country that has blessed her.
Sandra gives back to the country she left, Honduras, through a child care center called Centro Integral Jesus Amigo de los Ninos. Her family and World Help provide care for orphaned children and those whose parents are in the United States.
Through her partnership with World Help they feed 400 children a day, provide their school clothing and during the past year built nine homes, replacing cardboard shacks and put in six water wells in critical areas where there was either no water or contaminated river water as their only source.
She gives back to her community of Bellflower in many ways. Sandra and her husband hosted the families of Bellflower’s City sister Los Mochas, she is in the Board of Directors for the Miss Bellflower Competition/Pageant and member of the Bellflower Family Lions Club.
Marilyn Thompson has been a teacher at Bell Gardens Intermediate School for more than 30 years. Throughout her career, she has changed the lives of countless students in the city of Bell Gardens. Her devotion and compassion for teaching is truly admirable and inspiring.
Aside from her everyday task as a teacher, Mrs. Thompson is also known for her dedication outside the classroom. She works with students to fundraise for “Leadership Camp”, an annual 3-day trip where students develop their leadership skills. She is an integral part of the Sacramento Study Trip, where she takes students to the Capitol, San Francisco and nearby universities.
Thompson also works with the Bell Gardens Intermediate School Dance Team, Yearbook and PTA.
Mae Lovgren uprooted her family from Las Vegas to the city of Cerritos in 2008. She wasted no time becoming involved with the community.
Lovgren has been PTA President at Nixon Academy for three years and since then has implemented the mission “Engage, Education, Encourage all to be involved”.
Under her leadership, the PTA membership doubled, creative, new programs were implemented to build community including; the annual Trunk or Treat, Health and Fitness Week and the Dad’s Program which aims at involving more male figures into Nixon Academy.
Lovgren has also been ABC Council President, PTSA President at Tetzlaff Academy, member of the School Site Council for Nixon, Vice President-Hospitality on the ABC Council PTA and has served on various committees within the ABC Unified School District.
Carmen Marquez attended schools in the Montebello Unified School District. She is an active supporter of equal education for all students and continues to strive to set and reach her goals.
Marquez retired with over 35 years of teaching and counseling experience. She has served as Board President, Secretary and Vice President of Rosewood Park PTA, Secretary of Montebello Council PTA, Chair of “Red Ribbon Week” for the 33rd District PTA, President and secretary of the Commerce Woman’s Club and chairperson of Commerce Education Commission.
She also serves as Vice President of the California Association of Bilingual Education, CABE Montebello Chapter, treasurer of the Association of Mexican American Educators, Hispanic Coalition Board Member, CAHPERD-Southern Region Health Representative and CACSAP-Region Coordinator.
Shushma Patel is the proud owner and manager of an independent community pharmacy established in 1954 that currently serves residents within a 10 mile radius.
Since ownership Patel has enhanced her service by implementing various immunization protocols, educational workshops and by forming joint programs with local physicians.
Patel’s had a lot experience in international clinical pharmacy programs and internships. Aside from her work as a pharmacist she also manages time to be a board member of the Montebello Rotary Club, the Beverly Hospital Foundation, and advisory board member and chairwoman of the Indian Pharmacists Association of CA advisory.
Patel has also taken part in the Mentorship Program Paving Career Pathways for Women and has even received a special invitation to the “The First Lady Maria Shriver” CA Governor’s Conference.
Lizet Olmos is an extremely dedicated professional who works diligently to bring programs to the Pico Rivera Senior Center to help promote wellness and community building.
She demonstrates great interest in making sure seniors in the center have the latest information on changes taking place with Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Olmos maintains the Senior Center lively by engaging seniors in a variety of activities that support their physical and emotional health.
Olmos engages and coordinates a variety of activities for the seniors including dance classes, technology courses and/or informational workshops.
“Woman of the Year” nominations were open to all women who live, work, or attend school in the 58th Assembly District, including the cities of Artesia, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Pico Rivera, Montebello and Norwalk.
Published: March 26, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 50