Arcadia Unified’s Profiles in Excellence Returns After a Two-Year Halt

By AUSD Digital Communications Intern Hayden Wong
Arcadia Unified 22-23 Profiles in Excellence
All 21-22 Profiles in Excellence recipients posing at the event on Tuesday, March 22, 2022
(Photo Courtesy Arcadia Unified School District)

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Arcadia Unified School District recently hosted its first in-person ceremony for its special employee recognition program, Profiles in Excellence. 

Created to recognize and celebrate its employees who go above and beyond in serving Arcadia Unified in various capacities, the Profiles in Excellence program recognizes 12 certificated staff (teachers, counselors, psychologists, and any position that requires a specialized certification) staff, and 12 classified staff (school office personnel, bus drivers, custodial staff, etc.), from across the school district’s 11 sites and offices, Arcadia Unified School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Human Resource Services, Dr. Kevin Hryciw explained. The recipients not only reflect the district’s tagline through the daily work they do— Imagine, Inspire and Inquire— but also go above and beyond in helping the students, teachers, families, and the entire district. 

“We are looking for people who really embody our work towards a healthy culture and those that are in alignment with our district values,” said Dr. Hryciw.

“These 24 employees really represent their colleagues in all of their departments, the school sites and classrooms, so we are very proud to be able to recognize all the great work they do in the district.”

Hryciw noted that due to the superior level of service and skills so many Arcadia Unified employees bring to work each day, it is never an easy task to narrow down the Profiles in Excellence recipients to just 24 staff members each year.

Dr. Hryciw shared more about the program’s selection process, which is rather unique. Instead of being selected by the Board of Education or school district administrators, the 12 classified and 12 certified recipients are nominated by their colleagues. The selection process begins with open nominations from anyone in the district, with the only limiting criteria being that a nominee must have worked for at least three years in Arcadia Unified. Afterwards, the previous school year’s Profiles in Excellence recipients go through all the nomination paperwork and make the difficult decision on who the 24 new Profiles in Excellence recipients will be. 


AUSD Today by Arcadia Unified’s Digital Communications Internship Program segment on the 2022-23 Profiles in Excellence Ceremony


Dr. Hryciw also explained that the major filter nomination considerations are put through is how much the individual carries out the district’s purpose of “challenging and inspiring students to make a positive and profound impact on their world.”


“This year’s awards should also recognize those who worked behind the scenes handling all the technological problems during online school,” noted Dorothy Daniel, a veteran Arcadia High School math teacher. 


The Profiles in Excellence ceremony is not only a time to highlight and celebrate individuals for the meaningful work they do as public servants in public education, but it gives the Arcadia Unified community the opportunity to reflect on the ways the efforts of each individual employee are so vital to ensuring the entire school district operates at the level of excellence it has built its reputation on. 


“Tonight reminds me of the community that we have and how important it is to gather and come together and celebrate each other,” reflected Arcadia Unified School District Superintendent David Vannasdall. 


“There is nothing but smiles and happy embraces, and it just feels good to be back doing this event,” remarked Amber Nuuvali, a Public Information Officer for the Arcadia Unified School District. 


Stephanie Perez, a Rancho Learning Center Counselor, posing after receiving her Profiles in Excellence award. (Photo courtesy the Arcadia Unified School District)

Stephanie Perez, a Rancho Learning Center Counselor, posing after receiving her Profiles in Excellence award.
(Photo courtesy the Arcadia Unified School District)

For the recipients, the Profiles in Excellence ceremony served as a heartwarming moment for them as they were commemorated by their peers, families, and friends.

“I am really proud, excited, and humbled to be recognized,” expressed  Stephanie Perez, who is a Rancho Learning Center counselor and one of this year’s 24 Profiles in Excellence recipients. 

When asked about what her favorite part of the job is, Perez said that she most enjoys building a relationship with students everyday and supporting their goals as they strive to make an impact in their world. 

Although these recipients serve in different roles and come from different backgrounds, one thing remains a commonality among them all–their love and dedication for what they do.

“There's a whole range of positions that are reflected here from nurses to teachers, to custodians, to people who work in nutrition services, and they all absolutely live up to the values of Arcadia,” said Dr. Hryciw. 


Digital booklet celebrating this school year’s Arcadia Unified Profiles in Excellence


Another important aspect of the 2022 Profiles in Excellence event was that it not only spotlighted individuals who endeavor to provide the best support for the district, its students, and their families, but also those who triumphed through the challenges of the pandemic.


“To actually be able to be together with people’s family and to see their faces and smiles, what a wonderful evening,” reflected Vannasdall.


To learn more about Arcadia Unified’s 2021-22 Profiles in Excellence recipients, visit this link, and for a look back at the 2019-20 recipients, head to this link. For more information about the Arcadia Unified School District, visit