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February 10, 2010 > Educator of the Year

Educator of the Year

Submitted By Hayward Chamber of Commerce
Photos By Simon Wong

Hayward Chamber of Commerce honored elementary school Principal Irma Torres-Fitzsimmons with its Educator of the Year Award at its Annual Gala on January 30 at California State University, East Bay.

Torres-Fitzsimmons is a giant among her peers. At a time when other schools struggle, she flourishes. She has been Principal at Palma Ceia Elementary School for three years. In the past year, Palma Ceia Elementary gained 51 points in the state Academic Performance Index (API), the largest gain in Hayward Unified School District.

Her leadership in professional development, supervision and engagement of parents has been stellar. She built a culture of success with teachers establishing high expectations for students, teachers working and planning together more frequently, implementing strategies acquired through professional development and showcasing the expected practical standards necessary for students to learn in the classroom. She actively engaged parents with all facets of school culture through parent-teacher conferences, back-to-school night, student assemblies and recognition ceremonies. The student body and Principal enjoy mutual respect. Her school became the neighborhood's Mecca.

Torres-Fitzsimmons was born in San Leandro and raised in Hayward where she attended Cherryland, Winton, Sunset High, Chabot College and CalState University Hayward. Her teaching career has been devoted to Hayward where she lives with her husband Victor Fitzsimmons, who teaches at Hayward High School, and their children Victor and Dulcenea.

This year, Torres-Fitzsimmons has been assigned to Cesar-Chavez Middle School to create a culture of success and academic progress.

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