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Todd Groves Gets 'Distinguished Citizen Award' from Ed. Fund

Todd Groves of El Cerrito has been selected by the Ed. Fund for its "Distinguished Citizen Award" for his "countless hours" as a tireless volunteer and expanding the WriterCoach program to El Cerrito High and Portola Middle School.

It would be hard to spend much time around El Cerrito High School or Portola Middle School without hearing about, or seeing, parent volunteer Todd Groves. 

And if you attend the 24th Annual Excellence in Education Gala on May 18, you'll see him honored with the "Distinguished Citizen Award" from the Ed. Fund.

The Ed. Fund (West Contra Costa Public Education Fund) calls him a "phenomenal school volunteer" on its Web site. A nomination document listing his contributions runs five pages, single-spaced. It was submitted by the principals of El Cerrito High and Portola, former Mayor Janet Abelson and 15 other leaders in the local schools and community. (The nomination is attached to this article.)

Those outside the schools may have seen Groves with a clipboard at community events over the past two years soliciting support and volunteer coaches for the . He's been the chief organizer for expanding the program – which began at Berkeley High in 2001 and had been operating only in Alameda County – into West Contra Costa and making El Cerrito High the largest program among the organization's 12 sites. The program trains volunteers from the community and arranges for them to work one-on-one helping students with writing.

He also helped local schools in many other ways. 

The nomination submission said, "He has served on every committee at ECHS that is concerned with raising academic rigor and student engagement, including the School Site Council (he is the current President), the Instructional Leadership Team, the Master Plan for Academic Change, the PTSA, GATE, and many others over his years of involvement."

Prefacing a long list of contributions, the nomination said, "For the past several years, Todd Groves has been working tirelessly and persistently to advocate for the improvement of education offered to ALL students in this district.  Those of us nominating Todd for this award have witnessed the results of his on-going efforts at ECHS and Portola Middle School, the results of which are starting to influence policy and programs throughout WCCUSD."

We at Patch are glad to note that he has also been , providing guest columns, blog posts and numerous comments on articles related to local schools and education.

Those interested in attending the May 18 Ed. Fund gala can find information on purchasing tickets and/or sponsorship opportunities at this Web page.

janet enos May 08, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Not a surprise Todd would receive an award of this nature. Todd is a guiding force at ECHS and Portola. He and his wife Misa contribute to the schools in so many ways; by being consistent, suiting up and showing up religiously. Having them involved is almost a slam-dunk for success. The Enos- Hood family sends heartfelt congratulations .
Neighborhoodian May 08, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Congratulations Todd! You are a fantastic asset for our community.
Todd Groves May 08, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thanks for the thanks. Thanks also, Janet, for recognizing the incredible efforts of my family, Misa, Miho and Emily, that allow me to keep this busy. How can they get an award for putting up with me?
Mike C May 08, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Congratulations Todd. I've been thinking for a while that you should run for School Board, and this pretty much seals the deal. Don't say no. Just think about it.
JNG May 08, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Go Todd! Well deserved recognition and thanks so much for all you do!
Rich Gross May 08, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Cogratulations Todd!! You dereve this award and more. Rich Gross
Darrell Kinney May 08, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Congratulations Todd. He should also be recognized for the time he has contributed to the ECHS speech and debate team. Darrell Kinney Head Coach; ECHS Speech and Debate
Local Mom May 08, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Ditto!
Ann Lehman May 09, 2012 at 03:39 AM
There is no question that ECHS is so much better for having Todd around and his seeming endless optimism and energy. Todd also helped to start the Investing in Academic Excellence Campaign at ECHS by convincing my late husband, Bob Zimmerman to use his fundraising skills to support for academics achievement.<http://elcerritogauchos.net/investing-in-academic-excellence-for-all>. Glad I could help with the nomination!! Go Gauchos. Ann Lehman
Mike C May 09, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I can't decide if it's better for Todd to run this year or in 2014. Different incumbents to challenge depending on 2012 (younger first-termers) or 2014 (older long-timers Ramsey and Kronenberg). Probably easier to run against the newcomers, but my sense is that the long-timers are more in need of forced retirement. Hard to know. So I guess I'll go with my overriding feeling that (to paraphrase President Obama) "we can't wait" and I'll say: Todd 2012!! Where do I send my check?
Sharon Johnson May 09, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Congratulations to Todd for his many contributions to the schools my children attended. At Harding elementary, Todd served on the SSC and his lovely wife Misa pretty much ran our library for years. And these are just the things I know about. I'm sure they did more. At Portola, he was a fabulous resource for parent volunteers and staff. Even after his daughter moved on to high school, he continued to stay present and involved to make sure the math clubs would continue. And he is focused on making sure every child is challenged academically. Writer-Coach Connection is a great resource for EHCS. The entire family is dedicated to community service and we are blessed to have them in our community.
Giorgio C. May 13, 2012 at 04:32 PM
For some of us, the more we learn about the gross inequities and failings of our education system, the more bitter-jaded-negative we (I) become. Todd, on the other hand, is an example of good triumphing over evil. His intellect, compassion and hard work, combined with a Buddhist temperament, is a winning combo for our kids. Thank you, Todd. You are a class act, amigo.
Lauren Childs May 14, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Yes, Todd enacts what all of us parents and community need to do. Support the educational needs of all of our students, not just our own kids. He sees that complaining doesn't do much - sometimes we need to push hard for improvement, which is always there. Todd has always been passionate and carries through. In fact, Todd's entire family has been an inspiration to me! Congrats Todd, Misa, Miho, and Emily!

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