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School board honors 5 school administrators
CUSDs Backman, Beltran, Cornell, Jimenez, Lubinsky feted
Beth Jimenez (center) was honored Thursday evening at the Ceres Unified School District board meeting. With her are CUSD Superintendent Scott Siegel and Board President Teresa Guerrero. - photo by Photos courtesy of Ceres Unified School District

Ceres Unified School District (CUSD) recognized five of its employees during the commendation portion of the March 23 Ceres School Board meeting.

Jennifer Backman, Carol Lubinsky, Lonnie Cornell, Jose Beltran and Beth Jimenez were named co-Administrators of the Year for CUSD, in addition to being selected Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region VII Administrators of the Year.

"I'm very honored and humbled," said Jimenez. "I work with a great group of people. Everyone is passionate about what they do. To stand out among them, I really appreciate that."

Backman, principal of Virginia Parks Elementary School, has been employed with Ceres Unified since 2005.

"Ms. Backman believes that educators must have high expectations for all students, yet as a community, everyone must do everything in their power to assist students in reaching those expectations," said Denise Wickham, deputy superintendent of personnel services for CUSD. "Ms. Backman is passionate about advocating and supporting a school culture that is based on building positive relationships, while having a laser-like focus on high-quality instruction and student learning. For Ms. Backman, a favorite part of her job is being able to interact with each and every family at Virginia Parks Elementary. She believes relationships are the key to a successful school site."

Lubinsky, principal of Mae Hensley Junior High School, has been employed with the district since 1990.

"Mrs. Lubinsky is dedicated to students being successful every day and all staff feeling empowered and confident in facilitating this process," Wickham said. "She consistently challenges both students and staff to ‘be better today than you were yesterday.' Mrs. Lubinsky asks each teacher to address the following questions as part of the daily instructional practice - ‘What are you going to do if a student doesn't know it?' and ‘What are you going to do it the student already knows it?' She is one of those educators who loves what she does and believes educators at all levels have the most fulfilling jobs in the world."

Cornell, associate principal of Ceres High, has been employed with the district since 2005.

"Mr. Cornell insists that all students deserve a "top-notch" education," Wickham said. "He is committed to knowing the students, their families and any specific needs they may have and believes it is his responsibility to ensure students and families are guided to the most appropriate resources for addressing any barriers to education and academic success. He treats all students and families fairly, with the highest respect, while instilling a sense of pride for the Ceres High culture and environment. Mr. Cornell's decisions are driven by what is best for students."

Jose Beltran, coordinator of Child Welfare & Attendance, started working for CUSD in 2006.

"Mr. Beltran's vision of learning is that all students can achieve academic success, regardless of background or family circumstance," said Wickham. "He believes wholeheartedly that every student matters, and that all students in our classrooms are someone's treasure. He believes all students, regardless of background, are "promise" students who have yet to reach their full potential."

"Students must come first," Beltran stated. "As educators, we can make a difference for students, especially those who have given up on themselves."

Jimenez, executive assistant to the superintendent, started working for CUSD in 2007.

"Mrs. Jimenez's commitment to educational quality and student achievement is evident in all aspects of her work," Wickham noted. "Mrs. Jimenez is viewed as a go-to person who either has the answer to most questions, or knows who to ask. Among Mrs. Jimenez's strengths is her ability to thoughtfully consider issues and problems from multiple perspectives, placing the greatest emphasis on the needs of students and families."

Backman, Lubinksy, Cornell, Beltran and Jimenez were also nominated for state-level recognition by ACSA.

"In addition to being a district employee, both of my children have attended school here from kindergarten on," Jimenez said. "One graduated from Ceres High and is now in college studying to become a teacher, and the other is active in high school. So I get to see the work being done by our teachers, classified staff and administrators not just from an employee's perspective, but also from a parent's perspective. The quality of that work is the reason I wanted to be part of Ceres Unified 10 years ago, and why I'm still excited and proud to be here today."