Dean Gallagher Honored at Annual DSAG Dinner; Superintendents Build Scholarship Endowment

From L to R: Oryla Wiedoeft, Dean Gallagher, and Crystal Turner

From L to R: Oryla Wiedoeft, Dean Gallagher, and Crystal Turner

Dean Karen Symms Gallagher was honored Wednesday evening with the annual Dean’s Superintendents Advisory Group (DSAG) award for significant contributions to education at the group’s annual dinner in Monterey, California. DSAG meets yearly in conjunction with the conference of the Association of California School Leaders (ACSA).

Rudy Castruita EdD ‘82, USC Rossier professor, former superintendent of schools for San Diego County and ACSA California Superintendent of the Year in 1992, presented the award to Gallagher.

“Karen Gallagher is someone who leads with a focus, who is a visionary, who is courageous, who is passionate, and who is recognized by her peers as a leader among leaders,” Castruita told the audience. “She is continually pushing the envelope of quality.”

In a heartfelt acceptance speech, the Dean acknowledged both the extraordinary work of the California superintendents in attendance, as well as the efforts of the teachers and school leaders in her own childhood.  She spoke of growing up in a single parent home in Seattle, where her school support system was key to her academic aspirations and success.  “I know what kind of a difference all of you can make in a child’s life, because I was one of those children,” Gallagher stated.

DSAG also took the opportunity to announce a $100,000 milestone for the DSAG Endowed Scholarship Fund. The approximately 160 active and retired superintendents in the group are committed to raising funds for doctoral student scholarships, two of which were awarded at the dinner. The DSAG Endowment Challenge challenged members of the group to raise $100,000 by the January 31, 2013 deadline in order to successfully establish the endowment, which will support its first students in the 2014-15 academic year.

Annual gifts can be made to grow the DSAG Endowment to award even more scholarships in the future, and every gift counts toward The Campaign for the USC Rossier School of Education.

John Roach EdD ’88, chair of the DSAG Endowment Challenge, said the fund is an opportunity for the Trojan Family to support its doctoral students, who are the future leaders of education.

“California educators are being asked to meet the highest standards while being funded at the lowest levels in America,” Roach said. “To make a difference for the students, we need leaders trained to transform education in urban schools.”

This year’s scholarships were awarded to Ed.D. candidates Crystal Turner and Oryla Wiedoeft.

Turner has been in education for 13 years, and currently serves as director of educational services for Fullerton School District. She is passionate about innovation through technology in education, and was named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2011.

Wiedoeft earned a degree in chemistry before she found a love for teaching science. Now an administrator at the Los Angeles Unified School District Office of Parent and Community Engagement, she aims to one day become superintendent of a large urban district.

Donors who made a gift of $500 or more to the endowment prior to January 31, 2013 will be recognized as founding partners on a commemorative plaque that will be displayed in the lobby of Waite Phillips Hall.

All Rossier family and friends are encouraged to make a gift to the DSAG Endowment by visiting or contacting Diana Hernandez, director of annual giving, at