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



2020-21  Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award Recipient: Yia Le, McLane High School, Fresno Unified School District 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 annual winner is chosen by the California Student Aid Commission and announced in the spring time. The award, which includes a plaque and $1,500 check is presented at the awardee’s high school or virtually via Zoom.

2020-21 Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award Recipient: Yia Le, McLane High School, Fresno Unified School District

A high school counselor from the Central Valley, Mr. Yia Le, has been selected as the winner of the 2020-21 Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award for outstanding achievements in high school counseling. Mr. Yia Le is a high school counselor serving his 6th year at McLane High School in Fresno, California.

Yia is a first-generation college graduate and a two-time alumnus from Fresno State, having graduated with his undergraduate degree in Psychology and graduate degree with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in Student Affairs and College Counseling. Yia began his career as a school counselor working with special need students. He also worked as a Fresno State Ambassador and an Upward Bound Representative, servicing students in Fresno County.

Yia was nominated by his colleague, My Chang. In her nomination, My stated “Yia is a person who knows and understands that financial aid is the most important factor whether a student attends college or not. He himself was a first-generation college student from a low socio-economic background. Ever since he started his career as a school counselor at McLane High, I have had the privilege to witness his strength and drive in this area.”

“I love and enjoy serving our students here at McLane. Some things that I have learned from working with our students is that one must be flexible, patient, and always be positive ,especially with our student population” said Yia. I am extremely blessed and honored to be selected for this award, the Arthur S. Marmaduke Award. Words cannot express how thankful and happy I am.”

“Every year we receive many nominations for the Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor award, highlighting the tremendous work of counselors who each day help students prepare for college. This year we selected Mr. Yia Le for his empathy, innovation, and never-ending support towards helping California students reach their goals” said Marlene Garcia, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission. “Once we reviewed the nomination materials for Mr. Yia Le, it was clear that he was the right person for this award and is making a real difference at McLane High School”.

The presentation of Mr. Le’s award, included a California Legislative resolution, a commemorative plaque and a cash prize sponsored by ECMC Foundation. Yia was also honored via a Zoom ceremony where various school district leaders, family members, friends, students, and community leaders were present.

The California Student Aid Commission administers the state’s $2.8 billion portfolio of student financial aid programs and services, including the Cal Grant, the Middle-Class Scholarship, and the California Dream Act Application. The Commission serves as a resource for policy makers and the public on college affordability and financing issues, and advocates for policy changes to eliminate cost as a barrier to any qualified California student pursuing a higher education. Visit our website at or follow us on Twitter @castudentaid.

Past Recipients of the Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award

Year Name School County
2019-2020 Jorge Montijo Panorama High School Los Angeles
2018-2019 Meagan Holmes West High School Kern
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    

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

Nomination Form Guide: 2020-21 Closed

  •  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.