Los Angeles, CA – The Expanded Learning Division of the California Department of Education (CDE) has announced their 2020 California Expanded Learning Leadership Award winners and ISANA’s Director of Expanded Learning, Autrilla Gillis, has been selected as a recipient of the Visionary Leadership Award. Ms. Gillis is being recognized for her outstanding commitment and dedication to improving and enriching the lives of ISANA’s almost 2,900 scholars and for her countless contributions to the expanding learning field.
“It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be able to provide our students with unique, academic, literacy, and social enrichment opportunities that not only build on what they are learning during the school day, but also celebrate diversity, inspire creativity, boost critical thinking, and support socioemotional wellness,” said Ms. Gillis. “This award is also a great reflection of my team’s dedication and hard work. They too are inspirational expanded learning leaders and I am humbled to work with an incredibly talented group of educators.”
When the pandemic forced the physical closure of all public schools in March, Ms. Gillis and her team quickly transitioned into a virtual format and launched EXL Live. From Monday through Thursday, all ISANA scholars have an opportunity to extend their instructional day with fun, educational, and engaging grade-specific enrichment opportunities.
“Ms. Gillis is a remarkable, compassionate, and dedicated leader who works tirelessly to ensure that our scholars have access to high-quality enrichment activities that strengthen their relationship building skills, enhance their communication, and allow them to grow academically throughout the school year,” said Nadia Shaiq, ISANA’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is a well-deserved acknowledgement and we are all so proud of Ms. Gillis.”
Over the years, Ms. Gillis has been a teacher, curriculum specialist, vice principal, and principal. She has also held several leadership roles within the Los Angeles County Office of Education and has served on numerous CDE Expanded Learning Steering Committees. Most recently, Ms. Gillis was appointed to the CDE’s Expanded Learning Policy Committee.
The CDE’s Expanded Learning Division oversees all the expanded learning school sites for the state. The division started the award ceremony in 2013 and receives nominations from county education offices that have expanded learning services. Ms. Gillis is the first-ever charter school honoree.
Ms. Gillis will receive her award during this year’s Lights on Afterschool Virtual Celebration taking place Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 11am. The event, put on by the California AfterSchool Network (CAN) and the CDE, will be live streamed on CAN’s Facebook page.