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Principal picked for Ripon-based virtual K-12 school
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RIPON — Connections Academy has hired education veteran Don Ogden as principal to lead its new California virtual school serving students in San Joaquin and surrounding counties.

Kicking off its first academic year this fall, the tuition-free online public school is currently enrolling K-12 students in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties. As principal, Ogden will lead the school’s dedicated staff of teachers, administrators and support staff in delivering to students Connections Academy’s proven virtual school program and individualized approach to learning.

Ogden brings 15 years of experience in elementary administration and teaching, and several accolades for outstanding achievement. He is a recipient of the prestigious Milken National Educator of the Year Award in 2002 and has led schools recognized for outstanding student achievement nationally and in California, including the following honors: National Blue Ribbon School, National Distinguished School, California Distinguished School, California Achieving School as well as Exemplary School, and School on the Move.

“Helping students reach their full potential is my greatest passion,” said Ogden. “I am honored to lead our team of exceptional teachers and staff as we deliver an innovative and proven education option through which a wide range of students can thrive.”

Ogden added that one of his team’s first tasks will be to develop an individualized lesson plan for each student. “We look forward to getting to know our new students and their Learning Coaches through this one-on-one process, as well as at our beginning-of-the-year party and open house this month.”

Chartered through Ripon Unified School District, California Connections Academy @ Ripon gives students a flexible learning environment with a challenging curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards and is taught by state-certified teachers. Students in all grade levels socialize through group labs, clubs and activities; school-sponsored events and field trips; and LiveLessons, which are virtual classrooms where students can communicate with peers and teachers in real time. California Connections Academy @ Ripon’s first day of classes is Aug. 27.

“Don is known throughout the education community for using assessment data to shape instructional strategies and establishing programs that monitor and improve students’ individual progress and successes. This, coupled with his proven background in developing learning organizations that support all students to learn and meet the highest performance standards, makes him an excellent addition to the team and a highly qualified leader for our new school in north central California,” said Joanna Royce-Davis, board chairwoman of California Connections Academy @ Ripon and dean of students at University of the Pacific.

Prior to joining California Connections Academy @ Ripon, Ogden served as principal at Camellia Basic School, in Sacramento, where he was also involved in district-wide planning committees and mentored new administrators. Ogden holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from California State University, Stanislaus, and a master’s degree in education from the University of La Verne.

Connections Academy is a division of Connections Education, which is accredited by AdvancED. California Connections Academy @ Ripon is authorized under state law by the Ripon Unified School District. For more information, please visit California Connections Academy @ Ripon. The school’s teaching center is located in Ripon (580 N. Wilma Ave., Suite G).