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


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

Arthur S. Marmaduke was the 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 winner will be chosen by the California Student Aid Commission and announced in the spring of 2020. The award, which includes a plaque and $1,500 check will be presented at the awardee’s high school.

The Nomination Period for the 2019-20 Award is Now Closed

Questions: Please contact Susanne Cieri at

To nominate someone who deserves state-wide recognition by his/her peers to be the next Arthur S. Marmaduke Award High School Counselor of the Year Award Winner, review the criteria below and follow the guidelines.

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

1. Please submit online Nomination Form by link or scanning QR code below.

QR code Survey Monkey

2. Submission Deadline: January 31, 2020.

Nomination Form Guide: 2019-20 Nomination Form Template

  •  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
  • Google Chrome has not been found to be compatible with this site.

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.

2018-19 Recipient: Meagan Holmes (West High School)

Meagan Holmes, a high school counselor at West High School in Bakersfield, California, has been recognized as the 2018-19 Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award Winner.  Mrs. Holmes was raised in Walnut Creek and Chatsworth, California.  She graduated from UC Santa Barbara, and earned her master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of LaVerne.  Mrs. Holmes began her career as an educator in 1990, where she was hired as a Social Studies teacher at West High School in Bakersfield, California.  In her 14 years at West High School, she has become an integral part of the school’s mission to prepare students for college.

Mrs. Holmes was presented with the award on May 29, 2019, at a ceremony which included a joint California Senate and Assembly resolution; a commemorative plaque, and a cash prize of $1,500.00 sponsored by the Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC).  Honored guests in attendance were Senator Shannon Groves (R – Bakersfield), Assemblymember Vince Fong (R – Bakersfield), along with the California Student Aid Commission (Commission) Commissioners, Juanita Doplemore, and Alejandro Lomeli.

Mrs. Holmes was nominated by West High’s Vice Principle, Ryan Coleman. Mrs. Holmes was surprised that she was receiving an award during the senior assembly. Mr. Coleman celebrated several of Mrs. Holmes’ achievements at West High such as:

  • Developing a program to help feeder schools improve their West High School A-G requirements – an improvement from 17% to 29% in an 11-year span; 
  • Organizing two annual Cash for College events, in collaboration with CSU Bakersfield, Bakersfield College, Taft Community College, and Cal – SOAP;
  • Assisting in establishing West High’s College signing party;  
  • Implementing lessons for AVID classes on topics such as: College and Career Readiness, Financial Aid, and information about the CSU and UC systems.  These events target students who are on track to be first generation college students.

“Having such talented high school counselors in California makes the selection difficult. Every counselor is deserving of recognition for their hard work. This year, the Commission has selected Mrs. Meagan Holmes. We have heard from her colleagues and the students she serves, and we can see her impact on the Bakersfield community. The Commission knows that she is the right recipient this year,” said Marlene. L. Garcia, Executive Director of the Commission.

Mrs. Holmes spoke with conviction to the seniors of West High School. Her eyes welled with tears as she received her award and addressed the 2019 senior class. “I just love kids, I love my job and I’m passionate about first generation students going to college,” she said. “I advocate for children and their families, especially those who are undocumented, she continued.

The Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award nominations are sought annually by the Commission and named after the first and longest serving Executive Director of the Commission, Arthur S. Marmaduke.  He served the Commission for 25 years from 1960 to 1985 and the award was established in 1985 to carry on his legacy of “making education beyond high school financially accessible to all Californians.”

Past Recipients of the Arthur Marmaduke Award

Year Name School County
2017-2018 Beau Menchaca Century High School Santa Ana
2016-2017 Lynda McGee Downtown Magnets High School Los Angeles
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 Fort Bragg High School Rancho Cordova
2007-2008 Rebecca Jauregui Lodi High School Lodi
2006-2007 Robin Sroka Woodrow Wilson Classical High School Long Beach
2005-2006 Sally Pace Woodlake High School Woodlake
2004-2005 Michelle Khayat Valley High School  Sacramento
2003-2004 Sue Ann Joy San Rafael High School San Rafael
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