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AVID Executive Receives Fran Aleshire Leadership Award

Michelle Mullen, the executive vice president of San Diego-based AVID Center, a global education nonprofit, was honored with the Fran Aleshire Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership and regional involvement at the annual Report to the Community at Cal State San Marcos on Thursday, Feb. 6. 

The Leadership North County Alumni Network presents the Fran Aleshire Leadership Award each year to a graduate of the program who, in the spirit of community leader Fran Aleshire, exhibits the characteristics of great leadership. Individuals are nominated by their peers. 

“The Fran Aleshire Award recognizes the power of commitment – both of the leaders engaged in our community and of the folks who coalesce with those leaders to take action on important issues of our time,” Mullen said. “I am honored to be included with the other amazing Leadership North County alumni who have received this recognition, and it’s a humble reminder to me that my commitment must be long-lasting.” 

In her role with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), Mullen oversees all the programs, products and services that support educators, students and families from kindergarten through higher education. Founded in 1980 in San Diego, AVID has been implemented in more than 7,000 schools in 47 states, plus schools in Department of Defense Education, Canada and Australia. The organization impacts more than two million students in grades K-12 and 62 postsecondary institutions.  

Mullen has a long history with AVID, starting as an AVID teacher and coordinator in 1991, and then working as a district mentor teacher, curriculum writer, staff developer, consultant and finally director with AVID Center in 2012.  

Before joining AVID Center, Mullen was the director of the Single Subject Credential Program and an instructor in CSUSM’s School of Education from 2000 to 2006. There, she helped conceptualize and develop an integrated and forward-thinking teacher preparation program that included partnerships with local high schools, a focus on action research, an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum design, and blended learning.  

Mullen holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, a bachelor’s in English and a teaching credential from the University of San Diego, as well as an administrative credential from CSUSM. 

In addition to her work at AVID Center, she is a longtime volunteer with Girl Scouts San Diego, her local YMCA, and within her local educational community.  

Past recipients of the Fran Aleshire Leadership Award include: 

2018: Greg Anglea, chief executive officer of Interfaith Community Services 

2017: Chuck Matthews, director of North Coastal and North Inland Regions for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency 

2016: Cheryl Broom, president of Interact Communications 

2015: Kevin Holt, retired superintendent of San Marcos Unified School District 

2014: Brenda Hall, director of North County Professional Development Federation 

2013: Raye Clendening, civil rights advocate and educator 

2012: Don Stump, executive director of North County Lifeline 

2011: Gina McBride, owner of McBride Financial Advisory 

2010: Beckie Garrett, former governing board member of the San Marcos Unified School District 

2009: Julie Wright, president and founder of (W)right On Communications 

2008: Jim Desmond, former San Marcos mayor, current San Diego County supervisor

2007: Mark Moore, retired Marine Corps major general 

2006: Lori Holt Pfeiler, former Escondido mayor, current president and CEO of San Diego Habitat for Humanity 

2005: Ramona Finnila, former Carlsbad City Council member, former board member of Tri-City Healthcare District 

Leadership North County is a comprehensive leadership program that fosters the growth of community leaders who will serve as catalysts in building a stronger region. Visit theLeadership North County websitefor more information.