Select San Diego Teachers Win Ashford University Scholarships at Padres' Teacher Appreciation Night
Ashford University Sponsors Tenth Annual Teacher Appreciation Night at PETCO Park


As part of the San Diego Padres’ May 6 pregame ceremonies, Ashford University Teacher Appreciation Scholarship winners James Lafferty, Tiffany Navarro, Mark Starr and Kristina Villena were introduced to the assembled crowd. These San Diego teachers were the recipients of master’s degree scholarships from Ashford University.

In its fifth year, the Ashford University Teacher Appreciation Scholarship Program provides the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology degree, which balances traditional teaching practices with a rigorous understanding of electronic and online influences, or the Master of Arts in Education degree, with a broader curriculum based on the needs of the modern classroom. Ashford University, an academic institution owned by Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI), offers these scholarships in cooperation with the San Diego County Office of Education.

“Ashford is proud to sponsor Teacher Appreciation Scholarships in support of the amazing educators in San Diego County,” stated Dr. Jane McAuliffe, executive vice president and chief academic officer at Bridgepoint Education. “With the increasing burden of financial hardships in our schools, supporting our teachers is more important than ever. By providing local educators with a full scholarship to improve their expertise in the classroom, Ashford continues to demonstrate its commitment to San Diego and the children in our community.”

To apply for the Teacher Appreciation Scholarship, applicants submitted essays on the effects of online learning, the expanding modern classroom and a teacher’s impact on the learning community. All essays were then subjected to a blind review conducted by representatives of the San Diego County Office of Education and Ashford University.

Every 2011 scholarship recipient teaches at a San Diego school. Del Norte High instructor James Lafferty teaches freshman geometry and algebra, and plans to earn his Teaching and Learning with Technology MA. Tiffany Navarro will be working on an MA in Education while teaching kindergartners at Willow Grove Elementary. Mark Starr, a technology resource instructor, plans to work on his MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology, and Kristina Villena, who teaches third grade at Westwood Elementary, is seeking an MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology.

“I really appreciate this opportunity to get my masters and further my education,” said Kristina Villena. “The gift of education is the most important thing anyone could give, and this is a wonderful thing for Ashford University to do.”


About Bridgepoint Education
Bridgepoint Education’s postsecondary education services focus on offering associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in such disciplines as business, education, psychology, social sciences and health sciences. Bridgepoint Education’s regionally accredited academic institutions – Ashford University and University of the Rockies – deliver their programs online as well as at traditional campuses located in Clinton, Iowa, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. For more information about Bridgepoint Education, visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.668.2580.


About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools ( The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.