2014 AVID Advocacy Award , Joanna Vandal

Joanna Vandal embodies our school’s saying, “Once a Tiller, always a Tiller.” She is one of our most dedicated teachers on campus. Mrs. Vandal is a Tustin High alumna who introduced the AVID Program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) to Tustin High in 1997, with the goal of increasing the number of students who enroll in 4 year universities. Joanna started out with just three classes of AVID; the program has since grown and now includes 18 sections of AVID. Additionally, THS was recently named an AVID National Demonstration School, putting its AVID program in the top 3% in the country. In June 2015, 97% of her students were accepted to 4 year colleges and universities, and collected just over three million dollars in scholarship and grant money.

As a result of her dedication to AVID and her students, Joanna was the recipient of the 2014 AVID Advocacy Award from AVID Center. This award is given to teachers who “typify AVID’s spirit and have become leaders for a college readiness for all culture on their campus.” Along with the distinction, Joanna was given $10,000 to enhance AVID at Tustin High School.

The AVID students at THS refer to themselves as a family. They often refer to Mrs. Vandal as an extra mom. The students’ love for Mrs. Vandal and her dedication to them is apparent every day in her classroom. We are lucky to have Joanna on our campus and to have her as part of the Tiller family.