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WHITTIER, CA – In honor of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Ian Calderon is proud to announce the 57th Assembly District Distinguished Women of the Year.

“It brings me great joy and pride to honor such exemplary women,” stated Assemblymember Calderon. “Each of the honorees has made significant contributions in her community and deserves a special tribute for her dedication and commitment to improving the lives of residents in the 57th Assembly District.”

The 57th Assembly District Distinguished Women of the Year are:

Patricia Almada: A resident of Whittier for 40 years, Ms. Almada worked as a bilingual educator in Los Angeles County schools for 32 years as a teacher, assistant director of Head Start and an elementary school principal. In addition to her work in education, Ms. Almada is a published author of many children’s books and professional materials.

Melissa Bravata: Ms. Bravata’s years of service at Hacienda La Puente Unified School District began in 1998.  She has worked throughout the district in a variety of positions, starting as a substitute teacher, a special education English teacher at Los Altos High School, and most recently as a counselor both at Los Altos High School and La Puente High School.

Lyn Carty: Ms. Carty serves as the co-Executive Director of the Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce and works to develop and coordinate special events, educational programs, and membership sales. She currently sits on the Whittier College Alumni Board where she oversees volunteer recruitment and recognition.

Carol Crosby: Ms. Crosby serves as the co-Executive Director of the Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce and works to develop and coordinate special events, educational programs, and membership sales. She has been a past board member and president of the SKILLS Foundation and is currently the incoming president for the Whittier Community Foundation.

Vaniah De Rojas: Ms. De Rojas is an Administrative Analyst for the City of La Mirada, where she has received multiple awards for superior performance. She was a member of the City’s Youth in Government program while attending La Mirada High School.  Ms. De Rojas is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, a program sponsor for the Women's Transitional Center in Fullerton. 

Cathy Jamieson: Ms. Jamieson serves as the Executive Director of New Horizons Caregivers Group, a local non-profit that provides services to low income families through the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. Ms. Jamieson’s vision and leadership has made a significant impact on school-wide parent involvement programs and contributed to greater academic achievement.

Dr. Barbara Nakaoka: Dr. Barbara Nakaoka has served the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District tirelessly since 1970. Her roles have included Chief Academic Officer, assistant superintendent, teacher, and principal. Dr. Nakaoka became Superintendent of HLPUSD in 2006. Her years of leadership and dedication have contributed to the positive learning environment throughout the school district. .

Soledad Núñez: Ms. Núñez co-founded Latinos United for Voting at Rio Hondo Community College, a nonprofit club on campus that fosters student political engagement through voter registration drives. She will be graduating as Valedictorian in the spring of 2013.

Gloria Olmos: Ms. Olmos currently serves on the Board of Education for the Valle Lindo School District. She is the current president of the El Monte/South El Monte Soroptimist International and Board member for the PTSA and Booster Club at South El Monte High School. She has served as a PTA/PTO Board member for the Valle Lindo School District, and served as a Human Resources Commissioner, as well as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner, for the City of South El Monte.

Antonieta Paez: Ms. Paez is currently a teacher’s aide at the Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District. She also serves as a public health educator at the Community Employment Project in Norwalk and is active with Project HOPE. Over the years, Ms. Paez has been committed to improving public safety in Norwalk and has stood as a staunch advocate for community empowerment, social justice, immigration reform, and senior citizens in her community. She also takes great pride in raising her grandchildren.  

Guadalupe Pasillas: Ms. Pasillas is the co-founder and president of Latinos United for Voting, a nonprofit club at Rio Hondo College that fosters student political engagement through voter registration drives. She has served as Rio Hondo’s Student Ambassador and was recently elected as Rio Hondo’s Student Trustee.
Maria Soto: Ms. Soto has served as a volunteer, bilingual teacher, classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal at Bassett Unified School District. She has spent the last 13 years at Little Lake City School District, where she served as a principal at Jersey Elementary School, an Administrator of Educational Services, and the last three years as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.

Mary Stoddola: A 50 year resident of Norwalk and 35 year veteran of the Norwalk-La Mirada School District, Ms. Stoddola is an active PTA member and has been a social service commissioner since 1988. She received the City of Norwalk “Woman of the Year” award for her lifelong contributions to the Norwalk community.

The honorees will be recognized on Saturday, March 30th during an afternoon ceremony at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center. Priscilla Lee, currently a senior in high school at La Mirada High School and Chairperson of the City of La Mirada's Youth in Government Council, will provide introductory remarks.   Please join Assemblymember Calderon and the 57th District community in recognizing these extraordinary individuals. To RSVP, please call Assemblymember Calderon’s district office at (562) 692-5858.

Assemblymember Ian Calderon is the Chair of the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media. Calderon is also the Chair of the Select Committee on Youth and California's Future.  He represents the 57th Assembly District, which includes the cities of La Mirada, La Habra Heights, La Puente, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, Industry, Whittier and the unincorporated communities of Avocado Heights and Hacienda Heights.

Contact: Lerna Shirinian (562) 692-5858

Capitol Office
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0057
Tel: (916) 319-2057
Fax: (916) 319-2157

District Office:
13181 Crossroads Parkway North
Suite 160
City of Industry, CA 91746-3497
Tel: (562) 692-5858
Fax: (562) 695-5852