SAN JACINTO – San Jacinto Unified School District’s San Jacinto Leadership Academy commandant retired Col. Francis W. Sick received honors from 23rd District Sen. Mike Morrell as “2017 Patriot of the Present-Education” during the senator’s fourth annual Patriots of the Past, Present and Future Recognition Ceremony and Dinner. This annual event to honor servicemen and women includes five categories for Patriots of the Present awards – business, community service, civic service, education and public safety. Sick was selected from three final candidates in education at event held March 10 at March Field in Riverside.
Sick is a 28-year U.S. Air Force veteran that retired from active duty in 2007. He served in Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Enduring Freedom, commanding more than 25 combat and combat support sorties. Upon retirement, he joined SJSUD as commandant for San Jacinto High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Under his direction, the high school program’s enrollment increased by 220 percent, beginning with 70 students to 225 students in just three years, and named to the top 3 percent of AFJROTC programs worldwide.
In 2011, Sick opened San Jacinto Leadership Academy, SJUSD’s first middle school magnet school with a focus on training student cadets to lead with character and develop strong intellectual capacities. In 2013, the academy was a recipient of a Models of Academic Excellence Award by the Riverside County Office of Education for leadership education.
San Jacinto Leadership Academy has scored as one of the top public schools in Riverside County two years in a row on the Smarter Balance Assessments, the new online testing for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System. CAASPP replaced STAR, the previous California standardized testing program in place since 1997.
“I am especially proud that San Jacinto Leadership Academy was twice selected for the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence California Honor Roll, which speaks loudly of the Colonel’s dedication to education,” SJUSD Superintendent Diane Perez said. Schools that receive this honor have demonstrated high levels of student academic achievement and reduced achievement gaps among student populations.
“Col. Sick’s leadership and patriotic demeanor has made a difference for all our students at San Jacinto Leadership Academy, and it was no surprise he was selected by Sen. Morrell for Patriot of the Present – Education,” Perez said.