; Bob Burton Spirit Award | CADA

Bob Burton Spirit Award

The Bob Burton Spirit Award is presented to a person who makes SPIRIT WORK, who makes a positive difference and who emphasizes inclusion with all students and members. The nominee must be a CADA member, individual or vendor. The award is given through the area in which the nominee maintains business or membership. The nominee cannot be a current council member and will be given to one person, not to teams, partners or groups

2024 Bob Burton Award Recipients

AREA A: jonathan merchant, central valley High School

Jonathon Merchant has been the Activities Director for Central Valley High School for the past seven years. Before taking this position he served CVHS as a basketball coach, club advisor, history teacher and much more. For over a decade he has exemplified what it means to be a team player” and given everything to CVHS. As Activities Director, Jonathon has focused on creating meaningful events that include all students and promote school spirit/pride. Under Jonathon’s guidance, the leadership program has created brand new events such as Kindness Day, Multicultural Week, Love CV Day, New Students Luncheons, Mental Health Fair, Saturday with Santa (a K-6 Special Ed Event), and more. All of these events have the goal to help all students feel welcomed, included, and seen at Central Valley High School.

In class, Jonathon’s students are constantly challenged to think about others, reach those less seen, share the spotlight, and are reminded daily “kindness costs nothing.” While activities and events have flourished, Jonathon’s main focus has always been the 89 young leaders he gets to pour into everyday. He believes the more he can empower his students and grow them as leaders, the better off the entire campus will be. Central Valley High School is lucky to have Jonathon as a key leader of student and staff culture; this award is well deserved!

Area b: april goodman-orcutt, miller middle School

April Goodman-Orcutt is the Activities Director and leadership teacher at Miller Middle School. April has been involved in CADA for over 13 years. She is very welcoming to new CADA members and passionate about making a difference on her campus. She has presented at CADA multiple times and worked to help bolster other middle school programs. April prioritizes helping all students on campus to feel included. One example is that she plans simple spirit weeks that can involve everyone, like Rainbow Week, where each day highlights a different color. Area B is so proud of April for her kindness, inclusion, and spirit!

AREA C: alana woodin, orange cove high School

Alana is an enthusiastic leader who serves with her whole heart. She genuinely believes she has the best students in the world and works hard to teach them what it means to "learn a life of love" on their school campus. She has been attending and learning through the CADA network for the past ten years through state conferences, Area C advisor meetings, area advisor conferences, and summer leadership camps. She is beyond grateful for the community that she has found at CADA and the impact it has had on her own school culture.

AREA D: kerry sherer, atascadero High School

Kerry Sherer has been teaching for 28 years. She spent the first 24 teaching in elementary school, primarily in 4th grade. She always said Activities Director at the high school is one of the only jobs that could get her to leave her elementary family. In late 2019 the opportunity came and she jumped. The last four years have been spent rebuilding the leadership program at Atascadero High School. She attributes a CADA session with Scott Backovich, that she attended just 8 weeks into her time as Activities Director, with her clear vision. The grounding focus of AHS Leadership is to “give more than we ask.” Kerry runs two leadership programs that work in tandem, ASB and PAWS (Peers Actively Working for Students). Together the programs seek opportunities to help students connect, experience and build positive memories of their time at AHS. She pushes the students to look at events through the lens of all student groups to ensure that everyone is represented, safe and included. This model has helped change the culture on campus to one where students and staff are proud to say “We are AHS!” Kerry is happy to tell anyone she has the best job in the world and plans to stay put until she retires.

AREA E: chris reeder, los altos high School

Chris Reeder is the Activities Director at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, CA. He has served as the ASB advisor for the past 8 years as well as the Renaissance Leadership Teacher since 2010. Prior to teaching leadership, Chris taught US History and Government as well as serving as the Social Science Department Chair. As Activities Director, Chris works tirelessly to create an inclusive, supportive environment for students and Staffulty alike. He stresses seven key values to his leadership students...Grit, Selflessness, Vision, Passion, Initiative, Kindness, and Responsibility. Countless events throughout the year such as student tailgates, class competition rallies, poetry nights, lawn-chair lunches, and more, are designed to create a spirited campus for the entire Conqueror Family. In addition, Chris was recently inducted into Josten's Renaissance National Hall of Fame for the tremendous work his Renaissance crew has done over the years with recognitions, rewards, and celebrations. He is supported endlessly by his amazing Principal, Jeff Hess as well as his loving and patient wife Jamie and his daughters Samantha and Grace.

AREA F: jen deleon, chaparral High School

After observing, listening and building relationships during her first year as Chaparral High School’s Activities Director in 2022-2023, Jen Deleon was excited to go out on a limb this year - try new ideas, amp up the spirit and positively impact the culture of CHS to its Puma Pride potential. She collaborated with her administrative team and athletics department to rebrand the student section and focused on raising excitement and building a desire to participate. It worked. DeLeon established a student section known as the “Puma Pit,” making varsity games the place to be on Friday nights. Incentives were given, new ideas and hype were advertised and students were encouraged to celebrate their Puma Pride together. She took a student section that started at the bottom, unranked, and transformed it to be voted the #1 Student Section in the Nation for the 2023 Football Season this year by the Student Section Report. DeLeon appreciates and attributes much of her success in building school spirit at CHS to her hard-working students, a supportive admin team and the relationships built through CADA and the connections made throughout the years. Jen DeLeon’s passion for school spirit and inclusion of all students directly supports the values upheld by CADA’s Bob Burton Spirit Award.

AREA G: michelle ryan, vista innovation & design

Michelle Ryan is in her 10th Year as the ASB Director of VIDA, a magnet middle school located in Vista, California. In her time leading the student body at VIDA, Michelle has become an expert at co-designing alongside the students in building their ownership and agency for school culture and belonging. Michelle lives by the adage that, "there is no rigor without joy," and tirelessly works to ensure that a strong school culture is not just an "aspect" of school, but is truly the underlying through-line of a rigorous learning environment. The activities, support, and work by Michelle ensures our school remains at the forefront of innovation, love, and care for all in our community.

AREA H: jamie gibo, veterans tribute cta

Jamie Gibo has taught for 22 years in the Clark County School District, where she shined at both Shadow Ridge High School and Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy. Currently, she is the Community Partnership Coordinator and Student Council Advisor at Veterans Tribute. During her 11 years as a student council advisor, students at our school and several others. Providing a high school experience for these students that they may not otherwise be able to attend. Hosting a school-wide carnival helped other clubs and activities fundraise for their groups. Jamie encourages her students to lead with kindness and to ensure our events, activities, and dress-up days remain inclusive for all students and staff. She also challenges them to try new things and think outside the box. She is a role model and guide for her leadership students and someone other clubs and advisors can rely on for ideas and support. As a former leadership student, activities and spirit are in her blood, and she enjoys shining the spotlight on others.

Past Bob Burton Award Recipients




2024 Jonathan Mrechant April Goodman-Orcutt Alana Woodin
2023 Karalee Ruelas Jerell Maneja Benjamin Cummings
2022 John Thompson Hollie Campos Hasmik Khalachyan-Canas
2021 Melissa Maher Meg Walsh Zach Stepp
2020 Kristin Patten Nichole McGowan Pickett Nyrie Karkazian
2019 Stacie Martin Ben Breazeale Larry Armstrong
2018 Season Lozano Laura Saldana Cassie Ortiz
2017 Lori Heintz Helen Paris Teresa Hutson
2016 Verne Johnson Jacob Headley Shelly Henderson
2015 Kim Bair Jessica Holman Ronnie Scott
2014 Jessica Banchieri Eugene Wing Stephen Amundson
2013 Lisa Retnolds Sara Catalli Renee DeCanio
2012 Jeff Burghardt Glenna Wurm-Hayenga Brooke Slayton
2011 Terry Barker Kim Kuczon Judy Fortenberry
2010 Ted Wimberg Sandi Martin Julie Peterson
2009 Tamara Givens Debra LaPrath Howard Zinn




2024 Kerry Sherer Chris Reeder Jen Deleon
2023 Steven Piña Joy Glaspy Eron Campuzano
2022 Sky Becker Jessica Owen Shannon Kush
2021 Jim Johnson Paul Dols Tami Sciacca
2020 Stacy Picciuto Tim Hall David Vollmar
2019 Nyssa Baca Michelle Chiotti Erin Andrade
2018 Adrian Salazar Paula Tezak Tara Fry
2017 Toriann Garner Celia Collins Ami Sandler
2016 Lori Lowensen Fran Whitney Scott Mendelson
2015 Kelly DeBernardi Jenn Childers Cathy Leseberg
2014 Melanie Lindsey Mike Motherspaw Kelli Cooper
2013 Peaches MacKenzie Scott Cavanias Sharon Tavaglione
2012 Barbara Johnson Melanie Wong Richard McAlinidin
2011 Lisa Avery Todd Arrowsmith Heidi Dunne
2010 Craig Combs Dave Olbright Colleen Hayashi
2009 Linda Frye Kyle Svoboda Linda Zeigler



2024 Michelle Ryan Jamie Gibo
2023 Heather Weiner Jimmy Gleich
2022 Brian Gallo Le Ann Straehle
2021 Shannon Parker Sara Nilles
2020 Jeremy Hersch Kristin Grimm
2019 Deana Garcia Al Hopgood
2018 Janice Teixeira Darryl Andrews
2017 Ruben Martinez Sandy Ginger
2016 Sanford M. Carvajal
2015 Brandi Friend
2014 Joe Gizzo
2013 Kelcie Butcher
2012 Rob Keillor
2011 Doug Roselli
2010 John Schroeder
2009 Suzanne McKibbin    
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