WHITTIER – Frontier High School Principal Margie Moriarty has been named Administrator of the Year by the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA), a state organization that recognizes quality alternative education programs and excellent administrators who cultivate a supportive environment where all students can flourish.
The recognition of Moriarty’s leadership in continuing education follows the recognition of Frontier as a Model Continuation High School by the state Department of Education in March. Frontier teacher Denise Gimenez was also awarded Whittier Union High School District’s 2014-15 Teacher of the Year.
“I’m blessed to have such a wonderful staff, without whom we couldn’t have achieved all of the accomplishments we’ve earned together over the last year,” Moriarty said. “Our collaborative efforts to provide an environment in which students get the attention they need have been crucial to narrowing the achievement gap and ensuring their success.”
Moriarty realized the need to reach out to kids early while a youth counselor for the Orange County Probation Department. She began her career at Whittier Union in 1993, when she was hired as Santa Fe High School’s Dean of Students by then-principal and now-superintendent Sandra Thorstenson.
Proving to be an asset to the District, Moriarty sat in every assistant principal’s chair in the District before becoming principal of Frontier in 2011.
There, she inherited a faculty and staff greatly experienced in providing exemplary comprehensive services to students behind in high school credits or in need of a flexible school schedule due to employment outside of school, family needs or other circumstances.
Ensuring students pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) has been a priority at Frontier, as well as procuring job-related certificates that will allow graduates to find good jobs if they choose to work their way through post-secondary education.
To accomplish these goals and to keep students engaged with their coursework, Moriarty is building a path toward high-tech sustainability in her classrooms. Frontier now has the highest computer to student ratio in the District. By December 2015, every classroom will have laptop carts.
Biology teacher William Martin nominated Moriarty as Administrator of the Year representing District 7, which encompasses all non-Los Angeles Unified school districts in Los Angeles County.
“She has her finger on the pulse on what’s going on at the school,” Martin said. “She has amazing managerial skills. She trusts her teachers to do what they do best. She’s tremendously supportive. If a teacher has a new piece of technology that they like, she finds a way to fund it. She truly cares about her students.”
Forward-thinking and determined, yet attuned to the nuances of the one-to-one counseling and outreach necessary for leading a continuation school, Moriarty is both experienced and a visionary, with the extraordinary specialized skill set needed to guide her students down the path to post-secondary success, Thorstenson said.
“What makes Dr. Margie Moriarty stand out is her foresight, care and attention to the needs of students, teachers and staff alike,” Thorstenson said. “She is determined to do whatever it takes to ensure her students have access to a high quality education despite the barriers that may exist for them. I want to congratulate my friend and colleague for this tremendous accomplishment.”
MORIARTY: Frontier High School Principal Margie Moriarty has been named Administrator of the Year by the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA).