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Select San Diego Teachers Win Ashford University Scholarship at Padres' Teacher Appreciation Night
Ashford University Sponsors Tenth Annual Teacher Appreciation Night at PETCO Park

As part of the San Diego Padres’ May 6 pregame ceremonies, Ashford University Teacher Appreciation Scholarship winners James Lafferty, Tiffany Navarro, Mark Starr and Kristina Villena were introduced to the assembled crowd. These San Diego teachers were the recipients of master’s degree scholarships from Ashford University.

In its fifth year, the Ashford University Teacher Appreciation Scholarship Program provides teachers the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology degree, which balances traditional teaching practices with a rigorous understanding of electronic and online influences, or the Master of Arts in Education degree, with a broader curriculum based on the needs of the modern classroom. Ashford University offers these scholarships in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education.

“We’re pleased to honor San Diego’s teachers with Ashford’s Teacher Appreciation Scholarships,” said Dr. Elizabeth Tice, president of Ashford University. “Our support of educators is an ongoing part of our effort to give back to the community.”

To apply for the Teacher Appreciation Scholarship, applicants submitted essays on the effects of online learning, the expanding modern classroom and a teacher’s impact on the learning community. All essays were then subjected to a blind review conducted by representatives of the San Diego County Office of Education and Ashford University.

Every 2011 scholarship recipient teaches at a San Diego school. Del Norte High instructor James Lafferty teaches freshman geometry and algebra, and plans to earn his Teaching and Learning with Technology MA. Tiffany Navarro will be working on an MA in Education while teaching kindergartners at Willow Grove Elementary. Mark Starr, a technology resource instructor, plans to work on his MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology, and Kristina Villena, who teaches third grade at Westwood Elementary, is seeking an MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology.

“I really appreciate this opportunity to get my masters and further my education,” said Kristina Villena. “The gift of education is the most important thing anyone could give, and this is a wonderful thing for Ashford University to do.”


About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools ( The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.