Robert Sortino, a CEIS doctoral alumnus, recently received the Paul T. Begley Award for graduate student research on the values and ethics of educational leadership.
The Consortium for the Study of Leadership and Ethics in Education, a program center of the University Council for Educational Administration, recognized Sortino during the 23rd annual CSLEE Conference on Nov. 15 in Houston, Texas.
The award, established in 2012, is given annually to recent graduates of post-baccalaureate programs who have contributed to the fields of values, ethics and leadership in education through research. The title of Sortino’s award-winning dissertation is “Contemplative Transformation: A Blueprint for Creating a Culture of Care Learning Environments.”
“When I first received the email stating that I had won the Paul T. Begley Award, I was overwhelmed with joy,” Sortino said. “In fact, I asked my wife to come read the email, and then I started to cry. I cried, because I was filled with such gratitude for the journey that life has taken me on.
My life path has led me from being a child who attended special education classes because I couldn’t read until I was in the 7th grade, to being an adult honored in education in this extraordinary way. In that moment, I couldn’t express in words to my wife what I was feeling, I could only cry. This award is proof of the power education has to elevate an individual’s life and the beauty of how the very thing that you might be weak in, can turn out to become your greatest strength.”
Sortino completed his doctoral degree from Cal Poly Pomona in 2017. His dissertation examined education inequity among students living and attending schools in impoverished neighborhoods. In his study, he interviewed six school administrators to find out how spirituality influences their moral and ethical decisions to improve school climate and culture.
“As his dissertation chair, I appreciated Robert’s tenacity and conscientiousness in researching his topic, conducting his study, analyzing his data and finalizing his dissertation with strong professionalism displayed throughout the process,” said Professor Betty Alford, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership. “To be awarded the Paul T. Begley Award by CSLEE for dissertation of the year is an outstanding accomplishment.”
Sortino has dedicated his career to educating underrepresented youth in various teaching and administrative positions in public and private institutions throughout Los Angeles County. He has won numerous other awards including the NAACP Los Angeles Teacher of the Year Award; Teachers’ Making a Difference Award from the Cherry Blossom Festival of Southern California; and the Golden Key International Honor Society Award from CPP.
For more information, contact Ashley Jones at 909-869-5370.