"This is about honoring the outstanding leaders in our schools and acknowledging their hard work, which seldom happens in education," said Melanie Jones.

And, honored these 12 folks were.

The recent Art of Leadership event was sponsored by the Delta Chapter of the Association of California School Administrators.

The winners were: Stephanie Anello, central office administration, Antioch Unified School District; Maria Bordanaro, elementary principal, Oakley Union Elementary School District; Megan Balderas, elementary co-admin, Brentwood Union School District; Matthew Belasco, classified leader, Pittsburg Unified School District; Russ Cornell, middle school principal, Brentwood Union; Gaby Hellier, business services admin., Byron Union School District; Chris Holland, secondary co-admin, Liberty Union; Jason Larson, elementary principal, AUSD; Kevin McIntrye, technology admin., AUSD; Heather Partida, confidential employee, OUESD; Jane Rodriguez, personnel/HR, BUSD; and Linda Rondeau, superintendent, PUSD.

Honorees were chosen by each district's superintendents, assistant superintendents, administrators and colleagues.

Founded in 1971, the association features more than 16,000 members. The 15-year-old Delta Charter boasts administrators from Antioch, Pittsburg, Oakley, Byron, Brentwood, Liberty and Knightsen districts.

Jones, principal at Antioch's Diablo Vista Elementary, is the local group's president. The board is "responsible for providing professional developing and networking opportunities to members."

According to Jones and the website, ACSA "has a significant role in steering the course for improvements and progress in public education and for school administration ... and has led efforts with counterparts in the Education Coalition to maximize education funding and to protect the integrity of Prop. 98," which requires a minimum percentage of the state budget to be spent on K-12 education.

For more information, visit www. www.acsa.org

BATTER UP: Delta Baseball & Softball League hit a home run with a donation of more than $2,750 to area schools.

The local youth sports organization started the Delta Goes to Bat for Schools initiative last year, with a twofold purpose: "In partnering with local schools, the league strives to demonstrate to its players the overriding importance of education," the news release stated.

Board member Rick Hilton said: "Baseball and other team sports are important in the development of our children, but every player should be reminded that school must always come first."

"Sports in general and team sports, specifically, teach kids things like communication, teamwork, good sportsmanship and responsibility -- all qualities that aid in their overall physical and educational development," said board member David Chuey.

The program asks schools and its PTA/PTO groups to encourage children to participate in sports. A percentage of the fees families pay to play in the Delta Baseball & Softball League are donated to the school that the player attends.

This year's funds benefited public, charter and private schools in Antioch, Pittsburg, Oakley, Brentwood and Discovery Bay. Reps from the three schools with the greatest number of players in the league are from Diablo Vista Elementary School, Holy Rosary Catholic School and Cornerstone Christian School, and have been invited to the March 23 opening day event at Oakley's Freedom High. The league will present checks to each of the schools.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1984 as the Delta Peanut. Originally serving only 6-to- 8-year-olds, it now includes children from 4 to 13, and features noncompetitive and competitive divisions.

In 2007, the league added a division for differently-abled children, "where physically or mentally challenged children learn and play baseball for free along with all of the (others) in the league."

For more information, visit www.deltabaseballleague.com.

A NEW CHAPTER: Liberty Adult Education recently celebrated some student success.

Carole Hatch, lead teacher, said " ... Many turn to adult education for a career change or skills update."

The following, who are enrolled in the career technical program, were highlighted for their recent accomplishments: Pamela Bell, electronic medical records clerk; Linda Castro, skills update; Kenya Curiel, medical receptionist, medical records coding and billing specialist and electronic medical records clerk; Leslie Fallon, electronic medical records clerk; Deborah Faughnan, skills update; Michele Hartwell, medical office receptionist, medical records coding and billing specialist and electronic medical records clerk; and Julie Rennie, Microsoft Office Suite.

For more information, call 925-634-2565, ext. 1040.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. You can also reach Judith Prieve at jprieve@bayareanewsgroup.com.