California Superintendent Receives 14th Annual VH1 Save the Music Foundation Award for Distinguished Support of Music Education



Award Presented During AASA’s National Conference on Education in Los Angeles

Los Angeles  Feb.  16, 2019Francisco Escobedo, superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) in Chula Vista, Calif., is the 2019 recipient of the   VH1 Save The Music Foundation’s 14th annual Administrator Award for Distinguished Support of Music Education.  

This prestigious award was presented in Los Angeles, Calif. at the annual National Conference on Education, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

The award recognizes one superintendent or school CEO who has exhibited outstanding commitment to restoring music education in his or her school district. Escobedo was chosen for his deep commitment to providing elementary students across Chula Vista with a well-rounded education that includes music.

Since 2013, VH1 Save The Music Foundation has donated nearly $600,000 worth of new musical instruments to 19 Chula Vista elementary schools. 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 public schools.

“From the beginning of our partnership with CVESD, Superintendent Escobedo has shown exemplary leadership and vision in building music education programs in Chula Vista,” said Jaclyn Rudderow, program director for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. “We look forward to our continued partnership as we open doors for every student in Chula Vista to shine and excel through music making.”

VH1 Save The Music Foundation began a partnership in the Chula Vista Elementary School District in 2013 and committed to providing instrumental music grants to all CVESD schools. It is about halfway through the district rebuild with 19 grants in place and looks forward to its continued efforts with the district to ensure all students will have access to instrumental music programs in school.

Escobedo has worked in education for 28 years, including serving the last eight years as superintendent at CVESD, the largest elementary district in California, serving nearly 30,000 students and 3,200 teachers and support staff at 49 schools, including dependent and independent charters.

Under his leadership, CVESD has made great strides in narrowing the achievement gap between English language learners and the overall student population. Student achievement ranks in the top echelon of the county and state, specifically for economically disadvantaged, Hispanic, African-American and English learner students. Local and national awards received by CVESD schools and programs include the prestigious National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) Gold Award, National Blue Ribbon school honor and multiple California School Boards Association Golden Bell awards.

Escobedo praised the work of VH1 Save the Music Foundation. The foundation not only has invested in CVESD schools through instrument donations, but has helped bring leading musical performers to its schools.

“Save The Music is an amazing partner. Its award is a tremendous honor and one that reflects the work of many individuals and organizations, starting with our board of education,” said  Escobedo. “Our board has witnessed how the arts have made a tremendous difference for our students and community. Our partners are key to our successes. And our students learn the value of collaboration and working as a team. Alone, any one of our musical instruments can produce a wonderful sound. When you put the full ensemble together, look what happens―great music happens.”

Past recipients of this award include:Nancy Sarra, superintendent, Consolidated School District of New Britain (Conn.), Kevin George, superintendent, St. John the Baptist Parish (La.) Public Schools; Russell Freitas, superintendent, Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified (Calif.) School District, Kristi Sandvik, superintendent, Buckeye (Ariz.) Elementary School District, Reginald Mayo,retired superintendent, New Haven (Conn.) Public Schools; Rita Bishop, superintendent, Roanoke City (Va.) Public Schools; Kathy L. Kelly, superintendent, Columbia Heights (Minn.) Public Schools; Duncan N. P. “Pat” Pritchett Jr., past superintendent, Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Schools; John Lange, past superintendent, Adams County (Colo.) School District 14; Carol Johnson, past superintendent, Memphis City (Tenn.) Schools and current superintendent, Boston (Mass.) Public Schools; Richard Kaplan, superintendent, New Brunswick (N.J.) Public Schools; Eugene White, superintendent, Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Schools; andJames A. Williams, past superintendent, Buffalo (N.Y.) Public Schools.


About VH1 Save The Music Foundation
VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps kids, schools, and communities realize their full potential through the power of making music. Founded in 1997, Save The Music partners with school districts and raises funds to restore music programs in public schools. Since inception, we have donated over $56 million worth of new musical instruments to over 2,100 schools in 261 school districts around the country– impacting the lives of millions of students. Learn more about us and our efforts at    

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 equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit

About the Chula Vista Elementary School District
Chula Vista Elementary School District is the largest Transitional Kindergarten through Grade 6 district in California. CVESD serves more than 29,600 students at 49 schools, including three independent charters, in southern San Diego County. The California Department of Education has honored CVESD as a “California Exemplary District,” the latest in a string of honors for its schools, staff, and programs.


VH1 Save The Music Foundation   
Jaclyn Rudderow

P.O. BOX 2096 New York, NY 10108-2096 
Office (212) 846-3527   
Cell (917) 796-8780

AASA, The School Superintendent Association
James Minichello
Director, Communications & Marketing
1615 Duke Street
Alexandria, Va. 22314   
Office (703) 875-0723

Cell (703) 774-6953      

Chula Vista Elementary School District 
Anthony Millican

Director, Communications and Community Development
Chula Vista Elementary School District

(619) 425-9600, ext. 1328