Sixth 2020 Riverside County Educator of the Year Named in Surprise Visit to Murrieta Valley USD

Dr. White, Darren Daniels and Patrick Kelley

(From L to R) Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White, Murrieta Valley Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Darren K. Daniel, and Murrieta Valley Unified School District Superintendent, Patrick Kelley, celebrate the news that Mr. Daniel was named the 2020 Riverside County Certificated Administrator of the Year.

MURRIETA – Family from out of state, colleagues, board members, and the current and former district superintendents at the Murrieta Valley Unified School District joined Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White, as she named Murrieta Valley Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Darren K. Daniel, as the 2020 Riverside County Certificated Administrator of the Year.

Darren K. Daniel, first entered public education as a walk-on coach and substitute teacher 25 years ago. Since that time, he has served as a full-time teacher, assistant principal, principal, and executive director of secondary education, and now assistant superintendent—all within the Murrieta Valley Unified School District (MVUSD).

The surprise visit was the sixth of seven announcements at the work locations of the 2020 Riverside County Educators of the Year. The final surprise will take place before the end of February.

“You consistently implement and construct a vision that allows the district to center on what matters most: the kids and the community you serve,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White at the surprise visit. “Your type of servant leadership is necessary in the entire field of education and you have made a significant difference in Murrieta.”

In his time leading the human resources team, Mr. Daniel has developed a system of continuous improvement by updating and implementing human resource practices and habits to improve recruitment, retention, and employee services. This has included increasing customer service, going paperless, collaborative assessment of processes with the team, and continual professional development. Mr. Daniel was also instrumental in creating the Administrators Training Program to develop new leaders and in re-energizing the dual enrollment program to provide access to higher education for the district’s high school students.

Mr. Daniel is described by colleagues as exhibiting “a spirit of optimism and belief that all students and staff can achieve and perform at high levels no matter the circumstances.”

“I’m humbled by this award. It isn’t something that happens to most people during their career,” Mr. Daniel said immediately following the surprise. “If someone is going to get to wear this crown in Riverside County, I want it to be someone from this district!”

The full list of categories and honorees for the 2020 Riverside County Educators of the Year is as follows:

Riverside County Classified Employee of the Year

Erika Ruiz
Campus Security/Athletic Director
North Mountain Middle School
San Jacinto Unified School District

Riverside County School Counselor of the Year

Michelle Gomez
School Counselor
Canyon Springs High School
Moreno Valley Unified School District

Riverside County Site Support Employee of the Year

Dr. Amna Ahmad
Professional Development Specialist
Moreno Valley Unified School District

Riverside County Confidential Employee of the Year

Diana Ruppe
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
Val Verde Unified School District

Riverside County Classified Administrator of the Year

Brian Sousa
Administrator, Student Data and Achievement
Riverside County Office of Education

Riverside County Certificated Administrator of the Year

Darren K. Daniel
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Murrieta Valley Unified School District

Riverside County Principal of the YearTBD week of February 24

The Riverside County Educators of the Year are selected from the more than 36,000 educational employees in the county. The rigorous application process starts with nominations by teachers, classified employees, and school district administrators throughout the county. Applications are then submitted to the Riverside County Office of Education, where an outside selection committee selects the honorees before the county superintendent announces the honorees.

Along with the 2020 Riverside County Teachers of the Year, the Educators of the Year will be honored at the Riverside County Celebrating Educators Luncheon at the Riverside Convention Center on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

Clarification: The 2020 Teachers of the Year were named in mid-2019 to align with the 2020 California State Teacher of the Year competition. The 2021 Riverside County Teachers of the Year will be announced in May/June of 2020.