Pasadena Educational Foundation’s Celebrating Our Schools Was INSPIREd

Published on May 18, 2023

Pasadena City Hall was filled with an air of excitement and anticipation on Tuesday, May 16, as the community gathered to celebrate and honor the achievements of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). 

The event, aptly named INSPIRE 2023, was organized by the Pasadena Educational Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to achieving excellence and equity in all PUSD schools. 

It was an evening filled with inspiration, recognition, and appreciation for the outstanding work done by students, teachers, and education partners.

The event began with a Showcase & Reception, providing an opportunity for attendees to explore the award-winning exhibits and experiences presented by some of Pasadena Unified’s remarkable students. From scientific discoveries to artistic masterpieces, the interactive student showcase truly highlighted the exceptional talent and dedication within the district.

Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo welcomed the attendees as the formal program got underway. He delivered a heartfelt speech, reflecting on his own experience as an immigrant who grew up in the Pasadena Unified School District.

 “This is a fun event. It’s for a great school district with great programs, and more importantly for the future of Pasadena, because that’s what our kids represent,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything… it was people like you who contributed to my being able to stand here before you and say it’s an honor and a privilege to serve as your mayor. It’s people like you who took the time to ensure that children like me, Spanish speaking, monolingual, both parents working had that extra activity, had that care and compassion.” 

PEF Executive Director Patrick Conyers greeted those gathered by saying “it’s always great to see the most wonderful and supportive group of people in our community, who have their priorities in the right place and understand how important public education is.”

Then the spotlight shifted to the recipient of the Exemplary Service Award, Dr. Elizabeth Pomeroy.

The Exemplary Service Award was presented by Dr. Brian McDonald, Superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), who highlighted Pomeroy’s multifaceted career as an educator, author, and advocate for equity.

“Dr. Pomeroy embodies the love of lifelong learning,” said McDonald. “She has been a tireless champion of our students and employees. In her gentle way, she has shaken our world for the better.”

Pomeroy, a mother, educator, and published author, was elected to the Board of Education in 2009 and served the district for 13 years. Her career has spanned teaching middle and high school students, holding academic positions at UCLA, UC Irvine, and the California State University of Los Angeles, and working as an English professor at Pasadena City College.

Beyond academia, Pomeroy has been active in the Women’s Liberation Movement and the National Organization for Women, and has served on the boards of the Pasadena Historical Society and the Sierra Club.

Since ending her tenure on the PUSD Board, Pomeroy has continued her focus on personal learning, studying music history at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and volunteering at the Arboretum.

During the award ceremony, Pomeroy expressed gratitude for the recognition and thanked the PEF, the PUSD teachers and principals, parent groups, and nonprofit organizations that support student achievement.

“We have created here our own supernova of positive energy,” said Pomeroy. “We can take that with us into our schools, into our families, and continue on this energetic path of positive achievement.”

The event also paid tribute to the excellent teachers within PUSD. Special guests, who are exemplary educators, were recognized for their unwavering dedication and commitment to shaping the minds of future generations. Their hard work and passion were acknowledged with great appreciation, as they continue to make a profound difference in the lives of countless students.

INSPIRE 2023 was not only a celebration of achievements but also a joyous gathering. The courtyard came alive with vibrant conversations, laughter, and the clinking of glasses as attendees enjoyed a delightful spread of food and drinks. The event organizers prioritized sustainability and ensured that it was a zero-waste event, showcasing their commitment to environmental responsibility.

As the night drew to a close, the echoes of inspiration continued to resonate. INSPIRE 2023 had achieved its goal of celebrating the remarkable achievements of Pasadena Unified School District and fostering a strong sense of unity among all those present. 

For more information on Pasadena Educational Foundation and their programs visit

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