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2019 Golden Apple Awards Announced

At its meeting on February 13, the VUSD Board of Trustees announced the 2019 Golden Apple recipients.

Elementary School TeacherLeethel Photo
Leethel Farmer
Casita Center

Leethel Farmer has served students of VUSD for more than 19 years. She has been instrumental in Casita Center’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Global School authorization. As the IB coordinator, she provides professional development for the teachers and is an IB leader around the state and country.

Teachers, parents, and students come to Leethel for mentoring and support. She provides feedback to help teachers strengthen their instructional approaches and supports all students to ensure success. She was influential in the creation and development of Casita’s Schoolyard Habitat, which launched many global community partnerships for the school.


Philomina PhotoSite Classified Employee
Philomena Romo
Library Technician
Vista Academy of Performing Arts

Philomena Romo is a dedicated elementary library technician who always has a smile for everyone who comes into her library. She connects what she reads to students during their time in the library to what they are learning in the classroom. She joins in teacher collaboration to ensure students learning continues when visiting the library. Her goal is to develop well-rounded readers who will impact the world with their knowledge.

In order to foster a love a reading, Philomena encourages students to come to the library before and after school. As an empowering leader in reading, she takes and integrates data from students’ reading levels to ensure she points them to the right books that supports their individual literacy goals.

District Classified EmployeeElenora Photo
Eleonora Garcia
District Office

As the District Office receptionist, Elenora Garcia is the first person visitors and employees come in contact with when entering the district office building.

Her support, friendly demeanor, listening ear, and warm disposition provide all employees, parents, and visitors with a positive experience when entering or calling the district office.

She treats everyone who comes in the door with dignity and respect. Her first priority is helping and making others feel comfortable. She is calm and empathetic when speaking to people who come or call the district office, especially when the visitors are anxious parents looking for answers.

Beverly PhotoMiddle School Teacher
Beverly Taylor
Roosevelt Middle School

Beverly Taylor is the heart of the music program at Roosevelt Middle School. She has created a legacy of excellence in music instruction and is revered and respected by students and colleagues. Her classroom is a place where past students feel compelled to come to share how important she is and how much she has helped shape their lives.

She has been an advocate and voice for music education and works closely with teachers to include the music program into the larger context of Artful Learning.

Site AdministratorSandi Photo
Sandra Barnes
Assistant Principal
Rancho Buena Vista 

Sandra Barnes has been with the Vista Unified School District (VUSD) for more than 30 years. She has been a teacher and an administrator and currently serves as an assistant principal at Rancho Buena Vista High School (RBV). Her passion and focus on student learning, mentoring staff, and finding unconventional routes in integrating technology are a priceless asset on campus.

Sandra takes her role as leader to heart through her work with restorative practices and building a positive culture at RBV. She establishes relationships with students, parents, and colleagues by building trust and encouraging collaboration. Her dedication to her students creates opportunities for them to learn and experience the highest educational experience.

Carrie PhotoHigh School Teacher
Carolyn Anderson
Rancho Buena Vista

As a teacher leader at Rancho Buena Vista High School (RBV), Carolyn participates in the planning and implementation of the best curriculum, assessments, and programs for RBV students.

Carolyn has been instrumental in the success of all incoming freshman by planning, developing, and implementing the Freshman Seminar, which provides needed information and support to all 9th grade students.

In her tenure at RBV, she has worked with parents, staff, and students by serving as a lead on the Site Based Decision Making Team ensuring that all students are supported. Her work as a member of the committees and teams for Back to School Night and RBV Expo and Showcase helps to highlight the learning and success of RBV students.


Student ServicesAlex Photo
Alexandra Filippo
Social Worker

Alexandra Filippo is a District social worker supporting nine Vista Unified School District school sites. She finds a way to make connections with staff, administrators, parents, and community resources to ensure students in her schools receive what they need socially and emotionally to be successful. Trust is an important component of her position and it shows in her relationships with families who not only invite her into their homes, but allow her to guide them through hard decisions that have their child’s best interest at heart.

She takes every opportunity to grow in her knowledge and professionalism. She collaborates with others to provide professional development in the District. When a crisis happens, she provides strength, support, and a caring shoulder for those around her.