Dr. Donavan Wins Tracey Gaffey Award

The recipient of this award should be an individual who guides and mentors administrators in their personal and professional growth thereby contributing significantly to public education and educational leadership in Orange County. Tracy dedicated his life to the unwavering support of aspiring administrators as well as those already in leadership positions. 

Dr. Donavan has implemented many strategies and programs to support aspiring administrators through personal and professional mentoring. He created an Assistant Principals Academy where over the course of one-year Assistant Principals learned all about the intricate details of serving as a Principal. Three of our current nine Principals went through our Assistant Principals Academy. He is also a proponent of promoting from within. The majority of our Cabinet Members and upper-level management have risen through the ranks of our school district. Dr. Donavan also created an opportunity for teachers and other staff members to serve as Summer School Principals. Six years ago he developed our 3rd Grade Summer STEM Program that takes place each summer. This created the opportunity for many of our teachers to serve as Summer School Principals, which gave them hands-on administrative experience and a chance to determine whether or not they wanted to apply to become Principals.  Four of our nine Principals and one of our Assistant Principals were Summer School Principals.  Dr. Donavan has served as an ACSA Region 17 Mentor to new administrators for many years.  He  has a long history of mentoring and leading administrators throughout Orange County and across the State.  During the peak of the Pandemic, Dr. Donavan served as the Chair of the Orange County Superintendents Organization where he led weekly meetings with all of the Superintendents in Orange County and the Orange County Health Care Agency. 

Dr. Donavan is committed to providing a rigorous academic program with a focus on the Whole Child. He effectively opened the first public computer science elementary school in Orange County with Robert M. Pyles STEM Academy, and then opened Juliette Low School of the Arts. His leadership has resulted in two CSBA Golden Bell Awards, and recognition by the Learning Policy Institute at Stanford University as a Positive Outlier for those school districts with large subgroups and exceptionally high student achievement. 

Now going into his eighth year as Superintendent, Dr. Donavan has focused on improving student outcomes for all students and improving resources and support for all staff including administrators. He has developed a very strong leadership team, and he continues to provide opportunities for growth and professional development.

Congratulations Dr. Donavan!