La Mesa News Briefs – Nov. 27, 2015

Local charter school honored with Baldridge Award

On Nov. 17, The Charter School of San Diego (CSSD) was awarded the Malcom Baldridge Quality Award. CSSD, which has campuses throughout San Diego County, including one in La Mesa, is the first school ever to receive the award in its 28-year history. The award is the highest honor recognizing performance excellence in innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.

CSSD was the first charter school in San Diego and serves students in sixth through 12th grades who are at risk of dropping out. The Baldridge Award recognizes the school’s achievement in improving the learning for these students.

Despite starting out three to four grade levels behind, 80 percent of CSSD students pass the California High School Exit Exam, a state-required assessment of student achievement. Between 94 percent and 98 percent of CSSD students have graduated from the school or have successfully transitioned back into a traditional public school. Student and parent satisfaction levels at CSSD have remained at nearly 100 percent over the past five years. CSSD has sustained a student retention rate above 80 percent over the past five years and has retained 80 to 90 percent of its instructional staff over the past six years. And audits of the school’s finances and operations for the past five years have shown sound business principles.

CSSD was one of four entities to receive the Baldridge Award. The others include: MidwayUSA, a small business that specializes in outdoor sports equipment; Charleston Area Medial Center Health System, a healthcare provider in West Virginia; and Mid-America Transplant Services, a nonprofit that deals in organ procurement.

“This year’s Baldridge Award honorees have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving their performance in all facets of their organizations, and they have served as role models for others to follow,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in a press statement. “As America’s Innovation Agency, the Commerce Department is honored to support innovators and job creators who power our economy and help keep America open for business.”

Miss La Mesa Pageant applications

La Mesa Chamber of Commerce announced on Nov. 4 that applications are available for the 2016 Miss La Mesa and Miss Santee Scholarship Pageants. Each year the two cities seek young ladies between the ages of 12 and 26 to participate in a program that has become a tradition in the cities since the late 1960s and is a mentoring program for young women. The pageants are sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce and focus on community service, networking, improving public speaking and interview skills and overall personal growth. There is no swimsuit contest.

The contestants will be scored on personal interviews, speech, poise and personality, evening gown, and onstage impromptu questions. Pageant photographers will present the Miss Photogenic award, contestants will vote for the Miss Congeniality award and a local educator will choose a winner for the essay-writing contest.

Miss La Mesa 2016 and Miss Santee 2016 will each receive a $2,000 college scholarship donated by the sponsor, McWire Electric Co. Miss Teen La Mesa 2016 and Miss Teen Santee 2016 will each receive a scholarship of $500 or more. All four titleholders will also receive prize packages that include paid entry into the 2017 Miss San Diego Cities Pageant in addition to the once in a lifetime opportunity to serve as an ambassador for their city and attend grand openings, parades, summer concerts, breakfast and evening business meetings and other chamber functions throughout the year.

Interested participants can visit the website: for more information. Contestants will be accepted until Feb. 7, 2016. For additional information, including information on the princess and Jr. Miss programs for girls ages 6–12, contact Pageant Director Sierra Billock at 619-672-0688 or by email at

Local agency named insurance elite

A La Mesa insurance agency has been recognized in a list of the industry’s top-performing elite.

Teague Insurance Agency has been included in Insurance Business America magazine’s second annual Elite Agencies report, which features 35 agencies at the top of the game.

Teague Insurance Agency has been operating for 61 years and is located on the fourth floor of 4700 Spring St. Teague Insurance is a full-service agency that has provided personal and commercial insurance to the San Diego area for more than 60 years. The company has been recognized as a Best Practices Agency by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, and has three owners who have served as president of the local chapter of IBA San Diego. The company also supports numerous local charities, including the Boys & Girls Club, the Interfaith Shelter Network of San Diego and the Rady Children’s Hospital.

From hundreds of nominations, Teague Insurance Agency was one of 35 that were chosen for best demonstrating efficiency and innovation and high standards of customer service and community engagement. This year’s Elite Agencies vary in size from hundreds of producers across multiple locations to small, single-office operations. The report provides a wide-ranging look at agencies that are leading the way in terms of best practices, revenue, employee satisfaction and community service.

“The Elite Agencies provide unique insight into the common denominators that power today’s most innovative, efficient and successful operations,” Mike Shipley, CEO of Insurance Business America publisher Key Media, said in a press release. “These are the agencies that are doing it right, and they’ve shared with us their secrets to success. They’re an inspiration to other agencies to go above and beyond.” 

Grossmont Hospital Foundation reaches $10 million

Thanks to a $2 million pledge from East County philanthropists Ron and Mary Alice Brady, the Grossmont Hospital Foundation has met its $10 million capital campaign goal. The announcement was made at the Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. The fundraising event, dubbed “Western Swing With a Lot of Bling,” also netted over $300,000 toward the capital campaign goal.

“We are at a time in our lives where we have our health, we have accumulated some wealth, and we want to give back and leave a legacy in our community,” Ron Brady said during the gala. “Our family has used the hospital for generations. Our company has helped construct buildings on the campus. We believe in the work done at the hospital and we want to make it as good as it can be for everyone in East County. I can’t think of a better philanthropic investment than Sharp Grossmont Hospital.”

The $10 million will go toward the hospital’s new 74,000-square-foot Heart and Vascular Center, which is slated to open in 2017. The money will be used to equip the center with the most advanced cardiovascular technology on the market.

In addition to those from the community, Sharp Grossmont “insiders” have come forward with support as well. Nearly $1 million has been donated by Sharp Grossmont Hospital employees. The Grossmont Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary recently increased their pledge to $1 million and was recognized alongside Ed and Sandy Burr, Bill Verbeck and Dave Salo as the newest member of the “Million Dollar Roundup” at the gala.

“We are grateful to the Grossmont Hospital Foundation and the generosity of donors to help Sharp Grossmont Hospital build an innovative cardiovascular center for the community,” said Joyce Mcginty, Heart and Vascular Services director for Sharp Grossmont Hospital. “The center will greatly enhance the hospital’s ability to treat acutely ill patients and help decrease cardiovascular disease mortality in East San Diego County.”

Sycuan Vets honored


In honor of Veterans Day, Sycuan Casino commemorated all its team members who served time in the military at a special luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Attendees received a special one-of-a-kind military pin that can be worn on their uniforms to signify their time served.

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