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Grad Student Receives Bilingual Directors Award

UCR Graduate Student Receives L.A. County Bilingual Directors Award

Gregory O’Brien, principal at Sparks Elementary School, will be honored at
the 32nd Annual Recognition Banquet on Saturday, June 7.

(June 6, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — For service provided to English language learners, UC Riverside doctoral candidate Gregory O’Brien will be honored as a recipient of the 2008 Los Angeles County Bilingual Directors’ Award at a ceremony held June 7 at the Long Beach Hilton Hotel. O’Brien, principal of Sparks Elementary School in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, has dedicated his career to bilingual education.

He is completing work on his Ph.D. in parent involvement from UCR and has worked to enhance the power of immigrant parents at the school site and in their homes. His dissertation work addresses how culture influences the participation of Mexican immigrant parents in the formal schooling of their children in California.

"How fitting that Gregory's award-winning service to English language learners is being matched by his intellectual contributions to Latino education through his dissertation work," said Professor Robert Ream of UCR’s Graduate School of Education and co-chair of O’Brien’s dissertation committee.

O’Brien’s interest in bilingual education began early on when he attended college in Argentina and Spain, before graduating from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Spanish. He began teaching in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in 1995 where his knowledge of Spanish was essential in his bilingual classroom and with the majority of the parents of his students. After gaining experience at the elementary, middle and high school level, he worked for several years as a district program specialist in the Multilingual Office.

Each year, a category of education personnel is honored with the L.A. County Bilingual Directors Award. This year, the award is going to site administrators. In addition to Outstanding School Administrators who have made significant contributions to bilingual education, the organization will also be honoring Denise Moreno Ducheny, California State Senator, 40th District

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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