ENCINITAS – The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Salute to Education is scheduled for May 24, 2022. It’s the 25th year that the Chamber has produced this special event with founding sponsor Rancho Santa Fe Security Systems. Formerly called the Student Recognition Awards, Salute to Education was founded in 1997 by Encinitas resident and owner of Rancho Santa Fe Security Systems Denise Mueller. Mueller became passionate about the project when she was on the Education Committee of the Encinitas Chamber and they decided to honor outstanding local students. She has expanded the Awards over the years to include both Encinitas public and private schools and outstanding teachers.
Mueller is the second generation owner and daughter of the founders of Rancho Santa Fe Security Systems, with offices in Encinitas since 1980. Her oldest son is the general manager, her youngest son is a supervisor and her brother also works for the business. Mueller went to Encinitas elementary schools, Diegueno Middle School and graduated from San Dieguito Academy. All three of her children also attended Encinitas schools.
Mueller has been active within the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and local other organizations for many years. She is the current president of Soroptimist International of Oceanside-Carlsbad and has been a member of the Rotary of Rancho Santa Fe for 21 years. In her spare time, Mueller is an avid bike enthusiast and renowned athlete. She raced bikes while at Diegueno and has won 13 national championships.
After taking a break to go into the family business and raise her family, she was encouraged to get back into racing by former coach John Howard. She has since set two Guinness Worlds Records and holds the US Women’s Human Powered Vehicle Record. Up next, Mueller will be working with 2021 Paralympian Amy Dixon to compete in the 2024 Paralympics. About the legacy of starting Salute to Education, Mueller says, “You never know what one inspiring moment will create. The most special thing for me is seeing the students and the teachers receiving the same type of recognition. I see this as an inspiration for the students to continue their hard work beyond school.” This year 20 students and 18 teachers will be honored.
Minuteman Press Encinitas will supply the engraved plaques. Certificates will be given by representatives of Congressional, State, County and City Leaders, and a Joint Resolution commemorating the 25th Anniversary will be presented by California State Senator Patricia Bates and Assembly member Tasha Boerner Horvath. Scholarships will also be given to 2022 High School Graduates from San Deguito, La Costa Canyon and Sunset.