Solana Beach district administrators earn regional honors


The Association of California School Administrators Region 18 has recognized two Solana Beach School District leaders in its annual awards program. Jennifer Orr, director of SBSD’s Child Development Center, is the 2021 Administrator of the Year in the category of Classified Leader and Kristie Towne, executive assistant to the superintendent/public information officer, was named the 2021 Administrator of the Year for Confidential Employee.

“These two women are incredibly deserving of this recognition under normal circumstances, and even more so now as they have demonstrated such care, expertise, and professionalism in the face of inordinate challenges over the past year due to the pandemic,” said Vicki King, SBSD board president in a release. “We are all thrilled that ACSA Region 18 has chosen to honor them and submit their names for consideration as part of the statewide awards program.”

Jennifer Orr

Orr joined SBSD in 2015 as director of the Child Development Center (CDC) after serving as executive director of Base Child Care and Prairie Child Care in Chicago for nearly a decade. In her role today, she is responsible for overseeing high-quality early learning and before/after school programs.

Orr has been instrumental in linking the district’s STREAM (science, technology, research, engineering, arts and mathematics) resources with teachers and classrooms in the CDC. In fact, CDC staff received special recognition for its innovative use of STREAM/STEM lessons from the California State University at San Marcos last year.

The unique circumstances of the past year have required Orr and her team, in collaboration with other district departments, to create safe learning environments in order to keep sites open and students in classrooms, staff and families comfortable and essential workers with a safe place for their own children to attend school.

Towne has been with SBSD since 2009, coming from the Poway Unified School District.

Kristie Towne

Towne is often an individual’s first interaction with the district so her positivity, knowledge and professional manner set the tone for promoting successful relationships and maintaining a focus on what is best for children.

According to the district, Towne is passionate about education and advocates for children who face special circumstances. She regularly champions for the rights and processes that best serve the community’s most vulnerable students. Her leadership is exhibited through mentoring department secretaries, and she is an authority on helping others interpret and understand district policies, requirements and establishing procedures to improve district efficiency and effectiveness, all of which allow more time to be spent benefitting students.

Solana Beach’s award winners are now in consideration for recognition by ACSA’s State Awards Committee.

“Both Jennifer Orr and Kristie Towne have played key roles in our school district’s ability to help essential workers and return children to their campuses, whether preparing classrooms for preschoolers at the Child Development Center or facilitating districtwide reopening planning,” said SBSD Superintendent Jodee Brentlinger.

Karen Billing