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Alumna Honored as a White House Champion of Change

Sylvia Padilla at a Champions of Change event.

Among those taking part in the Aug. 31 Champions of Change event were, from left, Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Sylvia Padilla; Ben Hernández; Patricia Gandara, member of the president’s commission; Jesus Arrizon; Selina Alonzo; and Silvia Rodríguez Macdonald. White House photo courtesy of Sylvia Padilla

Encino-born Sylvia Padilla experienced a love of learning from her parents as well as humiliation from uncaring teachers while growing up in Mexico and California that influenced her desire to teach.

Since 1991, she has taught in Long Beach at Patrick Henry K-8 School in its dual language program, where students learn in both English and Spanish. For her efforts in inspiring educational excellence, the CSULB alumna found herself in the White House on Aug. 31 as one of 10 Champions of Change in education, recognized by the White House and the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

With the support of her husband, Roy, Padilla attended CSULB while raising three children, earning her B.A. in liberal studies in 1990, a teaching credential in 1992 and an M.A. in education–elementary education-reading and language arts in 2007.

“My entire career has been at Patrick Henry’s dual language program, servicing English language learners and native English speakers in a cultural, supportive, innovative and creative manner. I love to teach and find the richness each child brings,” she said.

Padilla also serves with local, state and national organizations and earned Teacher of the Year honors from the California Association of Bilingual Education, Long Beach Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Department of Education.

Sharing credit for her honor with her CSULB faculty and Patrick Henry colleagues, Padilla also recognized her co-honorees. “When I met all the educators who are making a difference at the national level, I am grateful that there are great individuals who care about Latino students as much as I do,” in addressing their needs.

To learn more about Padilla’s accomplishments, visit