Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award
Recognizing and honoring excellence in a California High School Counselor


The Arthur S. Marmaduke Award is a $1,500 annual award recognizing one outstanding California high school counselor who demonstrates exemplary skills in helping students fulfill their dreams of going to college. The candidate is nominated by his or her District and County leadership, fellow school counselor/teacher, school principal, or other site administrator. Each year, California Student Aid Commission staff solicits nominations from high schools recommending a California high school counselor who demonstrates effectiveness for serving students in preparing for and pursuing their higher education.

Arthur S. Marmaduke was Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission for 25 years from 1960 to 1985. The award was established in 1985 in his honor as the longest-serving executive director in the history of the commission, which was founded in 1955. Mr. Marmaduke also served as the first President of the National Association of State Grant and Aid Programs.

The Nomination Period for the 2017-18 Award is Now Closed

Thank you to all who submitted a candidate. Watch for future updates on the 2018-19 award


Contact Institutional Support at 888-294-0153 or email

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility for the Arthur S. Marmaduke Award is open to all California high school counselors who meet the following criteria:

  • Fully certified and credentialed and work with high school students
  • Have been counseling at their current school for at least one school year
  • Have been a counselor for at least three years

Candidates for this award need to demonstrate superior skills, dedication, and results in helping students seek and receive financial aid.

Due to the school specific questions on the nomination form and scoring criteria we cannot accept candidates from county offices, Cal-SOAP, or counselors who serve multiple school sites.

Nomination Process

Candidates for the Arthur S. Marmaduke Award can be nominated by:

  • District and County leadership
  • School counselor/teacher colleague
  • Site administrators

There is a two-step process for nominations:

  1. Complete online nomination form
  2. Three personal testimonies from students on the counselor’s impact/merits
    1. One testimony must come from a current high school student, another must be from a former student, and the final testimony can come from either a current or former student 
    2. At least one paragraph but no longer than 1.5 pages 
    3. Email testimony to Krista Rindell with subject line “2017-18 Marmaduke Award Student Testimony for (Nominee Last Name)” 
    4. Excerpts from the testimony may be used on the CSAC website for the winner’s announcement

Nomination Suggestions:

  • The nominator should be knowledgeable about the school and the counselor being nominated
  • When filling out the application, be as specific and detailed as possible
    • This Sample 2017-18 Application can be used as a reference
    • We recommend using Word or another program to draft your responses and copy and paste into the nomination form

Scoring & Selection Process

Candidates will be scored based on the following criteria:

  • Involvement in financial aid and college events/activities
  • Impact on FAFSA/CADAA completion rates (rates over the past 3 years will be considered)
  • What they do to help students maintain eligibility and prepare for college
  • What they do to support and interact with underrepresented and 1st generation families
  • The personal comments from the nominator and the student testimonies

*Bonus Points are possible for those nominees who coordinate/promote Cash for College events*

To evaluate all the nominations, the California Student Aid Commission (Commission) convenes a selection committee consisting of Commission members, a member of the California Department of Education, a high school counselor, and Commission Staff. Using scoring guidelines aligned with the nomination questions, along with consideration for FAFSA/CADAA completion rates, committee members identify the nominations that best address the prompts and distinguish themselves as exemplary.

Once a winner is selected, the Commission will contact both the nominee and the nominator to coordinate a date and location for the award ceremony in April or Early May.

2016-17 Recipient: Lynda McGee (Downtown Magnets HS)

The recipient of the 2016-17 Arthur S. Marmaduke Award was Lynda McGee of Downtown Magnets High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District located in Los Angeles County.

Ms. McGee was nominated by her Assistant Principal, Dr. Dickson Perey, who described Lynda as a “gem.” She has been a counselor at Downtown Magnets High School for 17 years and served as the school’s college counselor for 12 of those years.

This year’s nomination process required the inclusion of student testimonies. Lynda McGee received the most testimonies of any of the counselors nominated and all of these detailed her dedication, passion and life changing actions. Former student, Wei Xie, said “Ms. McGee played a critical role in fostering my growth as a student. I am glad to call her my mentor, my teacher, and my mom away from home.” Another student, Esmeralda Zuniga, stated “She [Ms. McGee] is diligent, resilient, well versed, relentless, and most importantly, passionate about encouraging students to attend four year universities.”

Lynda McGee was presented with the award on June 7, 2017, during the Senior Class Graduation rehearsal at Downtown Magnets High School. California Student Aid Commissioners Devon Graves and Catalina Cifuentes along with California Student Aid Commission Executive Director Lupita Cortez Alcalá presented the award to Ms. McGee. Executive Director Alcalá said, “Lynda McGee is a dedicated advocate for all students. Her extraordinary commitment to assist students in applying for college and receiving state and federal financial aid has resulted in thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships for students.” Alcalá added, “Lynda is truly in service to students and families and deserving of this honor.”

After the ceremony, Ms. McGee said, “This is an emotional job and the students mean everything to me. The job never gets old and I really love what I do because the smallest efforts can lead to the biggest changes for my students.”

Past Recipients of the Arthur Marmaduke Award

Year Name School County
2015-2016 Jesse Barajas, Jr. Gridley High School Butte
2013-2014 Andrea Goodwin Los Angeles High School for the Arts Los Angeles
2012-2013 Warren Popp Keema High School Sacramento
2011-2012 Dr. Dario Villa Montgomery High School San Diego
2010-2011 Lisa R. Golden King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science Los Angeles
2009-2010 Michael Badouin Chino Hills High School San Bernardino
2008-2009 Twila Rutherford    
2007-2008 Rebecca Jauregui    
2006-2007 Robin Sroka    
2005-2006 Sally Pace    
2004-2005 Michelle Khayat    
2003-2004 Sue Ann Joy    
2002-2003 Henry Bailey    
2001-2002 Barry T. Baker    
2000-2001 Barbara McCune    
1999-2000 Hector Armas    
1998-1999 Linden Beckford    
1997-1998 Charlotte Downing    
1996-1997 Douglas R. Mercer    
1995-1996 Carmen Starr    
1994-1995 Jean Flores    
1993-1994 John Mandell    
1992-1993 Janice Reinstein    
1991-1992 Raymon W. Kirk    
1990-1991 Jack Wright    
1989-1990 Eleanor Richards    
1988-1989 Enriqueta V. Chavez    
1987-1988 Tony Gelfuso    
1986-1987 Michael Sullivan    
1985-1986 Marcine Landon