Making The Grade: Irvine Residents Enjoy Award-Winning Schools

Topping the list of “must haves” for savvy homebuyers is high-caliber and high-quality local schools. That’s why smart homebuyers consistently select Irvine as their new hometown!

Throughout The Irvine Ranch®, where outstanding schools include those in both the Tustin Unified School District (TUSD) and the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD), three schools recently earned the prestigious 2007 California Distinguished School award from the California Department of Education.

Among this year’s honorees was TUSD’s Pioneer Middle School and Beckman High School.

Pioneer Middle School is a repeat winner, earning the title of California Distinguished School in 2003. Accepting the award this year were Principal Mike Matos, school secretary Leni Herman, teachers Claudia Flint, Melanie Miranda, Miriam Prell and Lori Spriak, students Holly Kamo, Kelly Kerler, Elijia Wells, and Remy Wiley, parent Deanna Bartholomew, and corporate sponsor Jeanne LaFourcade. Pioneer Middle School is located at 3588 Bryan Ave. in Irvine.

Beckman High School also earned honors from the State Department of Education. Accepting for the award for Beckman High School were Principal Adele Heuer, Assistant Principals Dean Crow, Sean Diaz, and Mike MacCormick, school secretary Kim Dixon, Music Director and Visual & Performing Arts Department Head Jim Kollias, Activities Director Janine Addison, Athletic Director Nick Beronich, counselors Joanne Ehret, Harvey Guzik, Kimberly Lee, and Barbara Schultz; department heads C.J. Del Balso, business/tech, Tracey Ryan and Darin Hallstrom, English, Stephen McGill, History; Cathie McClellan, mathematics; Monica Cullinan, physical education; Sonia Regenfuss, science; Misty Jones and Joy Havrisik, special education; and Bonnie Hoy, world languages.

All three schools were selected based upon the quality of their academic programs and additional criteria such as school leadership, student achievement, test scores, curriculum and instruction, technology, school environment, and parent and community support.

“Gaining recognition as a California Distinguished School takes a lot of dedication, hard work and the cooperative efforts of students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and community members,” said Suzanne Maddalon, senior director of marketing and research for Irvine Community Development Company, an affiliate of The Irvine Company LLC. “Excellent schools are a source of pride for all families who live within our villages of Irvine.”

As California Distinguished Schools, Pioneer Middle School and Beckman High School are now eligible to compete in the National Blue Ribbon Schools program.

Initiated in 1985, the California Distinguished Schools program honors elementary and secondary schools in alternate years. During the past five years, 14 TUSD schools and six IUSD schools have made the list.

Added Maddalon: “When a family purchases a new home in any of our master-planned communities in Irvine, access to exceptional schools is part of the built-in value they will enjoy.”

With quality education as such a high priority, homebuyers in Irvine are also pleased to know that the internationally recognized University of California at Irvine (UCI) is within easy reach. The City of Irvine is also home to Irvine Valley College and two satellite campuses of California State University at Fullerton.

Setting equally high standards as the educational facilities in the City of Irvine are beautiful parks and other recreational facilities, great shopping, richly varied dining and entertainment destinations, and a wonderfully walkable and bikable network of trails connecting residents to one another and to their community amenities.

Currently, new homes are offered within four villages in the City of Irvine, as follows:

Portola Springs® invites homebuyers to be close to nature yet within easy reach of all the city advantages. Ten neighborhoods within this village’s first two residential enclaves offer attached and detached homes sized from approximately 975 to 4,379 square feet. Prices range from the high $300,000s to more than $1.3 million.

Woodbury’s intimate neighborhoods are interwoven with memorable parks, squares and gardens. Within this village’s varied districts, six currently selling neighborhoods offer attached and detached residences sized from approximately 1,132 to 3,648 square feet. Prices range from the mid $500,000s.

Northpark Square offers detached homes at Campanile by California Pacific Homes within the well-established village’s final neighborhood. Campanile’s two-story homes range from approximately 1,949 to 2,460 square feet, with prices starting from the low $900,000s.

Woodbury East is Irvine’s newest village and part of the city’s green building program. Homes are currently selling at Celadon by John Laing Homes. This spirited neighborhood is an innovative and dynamic townhome collection, offering five two- and three-story floorplans in four different building types. Home interiors range from approximately 1,594 to 1,782 square feet. Prices start from the mid $500,000s.

Homeshoppers are invited to learn more about these villages, their residential opportunities and life in Irvine by visiting The Homefinding Center™ at This one-stop virtual homeshopping destination is open 24/7 with village, neighborhood and floorplan details and interactive elements that make the experience of shopping for a new home easy and fun.

Using the My Tool Box feature, homeshoppers can “point, click and compare,” storing information about their favorite floorplans and neighborhoods in a “personal folder,” which they can return to later. One of the site’s most popular features even allows visitors to conduct their own side-by-side comparison of up to three floorplans at a time.

The Homefinding Center website also features up-to-date information about schools, recreation, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and more. Also convenient is the website’s handy mortgage calculator and the availability of driving directions to the various Irvine villages where new homes are currently for sale.

Homeshoppers can learn more about all the new homes currently available in Irvine by visiting The Homefinding Center™ at or by contacting a new home consultant at (888) 820-0721.