Award Presented During AASA’s National Conference on Education in Phoenix

(PHOENIX/FRESNO) Feb. 13, 2016 – Russell Freitas, superintendent of the Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District in Firebaugh, California, has been awarded the 11th annual Administrator Award for Distinguished Support of Music Education.

Sponsored by VH1 Save The Music Foundation, the prestigious award is presented at AASA’s (The School Superintendents Association) annual National Conference on Education, held in Phoenix this year. The award recognizes one superintendent or school CEO who has exhibited outstanding commitment to restoring music education in his or her school district. 

Freitas was chosen for his deep commitment to providing Firebaugh students with music education as part of the community’s core curriculum. Through his partnership with VH1 Save The Music and the Firebaugh-Las Deltas school district, all schools in the district have successfully restored their instrumental music programs.

Since 2012, VH1 Save The Music Foundation has donated $95,000 worth of new musical instruments to the Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District.

AASA’s National Conference on Education brings public education’s best thought leaders together each year to discuss the most critical issues facing the nation’s schools.

“Mr. Freitas’s work in the Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District has been a shining example of what public school music programs should strive for,” said Jaclyn Rudderow, program director for VH1 Save The Music Foundation. “We are thrilled to recognize Mr. Freitas for his unparalleled support from the top. His commitment ensured equitable access to music and the arts for all students district-wide.”

When VH1 Save The Music Foundation began a partnership with Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District in 2012, there had not been a district music program in place for several years. Superintendent Freitas made it his mission to bring music education back for all students K-12 and VH1 Save The Music was a proud partner in the effort. Each year, a firm commitment was made from Freitas to budget for and hire certified music teachers. With the commitment from him and the district, VH1 Save The Music Foundation donated grants of musical instruments to Arthur E. Mills Intermediate School, Hazel M. Bailey Primary School, and Firebaugh Middle School. The district now offers a comprehensive general, instrumental and choral music program for all students K-12. 

The Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District has a fundamental belief that it is our mission to educate the whole child, said Freitas. “ Music is a critical component of that endeavor and without the partnership of VH1 Save the Music Foundation, it would not have been possible to accelerate our music program so quickly. We are very fortunate to have outstanding music teachers and look forward to our music program excelling to much higher levels of achievement.” 

Past recipients include: Kristi Sandvik, superintendent of Buckeye (Ariz.) Elementary School District, Reginald Mayo, retired superintendent of New Haven (Ct.) Public Schools; Rita Bishop, superintendent of Roanoke City (Va.) Public Schools; Kathy L. Kelly, superintendent of the Columbia Heights (Minn.) Public Schools; Duncan N. P. "Pat" Pritchett Jr., past superintendent of the Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Schools; John Lange, past superintendent of Adams County (Colo.) School District 14; Carol Johnson, past superintendent of the Memphis City (Tenn.) Schools and current superintendent of the Boston (Mass.) Public Schools; Richard Kaplan, superintendent of New Brunswick (N.J.)  Public Schools; Eugene White, superintendent of the Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Schools and  James A. Williams, past superintendent of the Buffalo (N.Y.) Public Schools.

About VH1 Save The Music Foundation 
The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is committed to ensuring that music instruction is a core component to a complete education.  Since 1997, we have partnered with more than 1960 public schools in 233 school districts to give children the tools and confidence to excel in academics and in life.  #PassTheNote and get involved at , join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @vh1savethemusic.

About AASA
 AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit     


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