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Ceres school employees honored for ‘Making a Difference’
Austin Pimentel
Ceres Unified School District technology specialist Austin Pimentel was among the 24 people recognized during the Stanislaus County Office of Education’s Employees Making a Difference Awards Ceremony.

Ceres Unified School District classified employees Liz Cooper, Ruben Silva and Austin Pimentel were among the 24 people honored by Stanislaus County Office of Education during a recent virtual event.

The “Employees Making a Difference” program awards ceremony was staged on Jan. 21.

Five of the 24 honorees were selected to represent Stanislaus County in the California Department of Education’s statewide recognition program.

 “It is so important to recognize our outstanding education employees for going above and beyond especially during these difficult times,” said State Senator Anna Caballero who congratulated award recipients. “The work our classified employees perform on a daily basis is the glue that keeps our schools running and greatly contributes to the quality of education for our students.”

Cooper has worked as a library media clerk at Sam Vaughn Elementary School for seven years.

“Liz loves books, reading and especially sharing the love of reading with students,” said Claudia Vicino, the co-chairperson for the ACSA Region 7 Employees Making a Difference program. “During distance learning, she schedules reading a loud times and has developed a system for students to check out books and have them delivered to their class during hybrid learning. Her nominators describe Liz as personable, knowledgeable, approachable, coachable and always wants to learn more about her students, the families and her job. She goes above and beyond in the library and works as a teammate alongside others as changes are made to schedules and programs. Liz is able to take any challenge thrown her way, troubleshoot and apply strategies to help her program be successful.”

Silva has worked as a custodian at Westport Elementary School for the past 15 years.

“Ruben embodies the character traits every employer would wish for, dependable, thorough, conscientious, detailed orientated, friendly, professional, with high standards for cleanliness and communication,” noted Vicino. “When various needs arise throughout the day, he never grumbles or complains, but simply tends to the task in a timely manner. One of Ruben’s mainly responsibilities includes supplying five gallon water bottles in each classroom because students cannot drink the tap water at Westport. When the water is out, Ruben stops whatever he is doing and ensures every classroom is stocked with clean drinking water. As the COVID-19 crisis became a reality this past spring, Ruben was undeterred. He stood out as a leader and thoughtfully created a plan to deep clean the campus. This plan has become a model for other sites. In preparation for the students’ return this fall, Ruben has been flexible, creative and diligent to ensure the campus is a safe place for all stakeholders.”

Pimentel has worked as a technology specialist for six years for CUSD.

“Accommodating, responsive and impactful are three characteristics that define Austin Pimentel’s approach to supporting students, staff and community of Ceres Unified School District,” said Stanislaus County Office of Education Chief of Staff Jason Maggard. “Austin is committed to providing the highest level of professional technology support and is mindful of the influence his role has on the operations of the school district community. Austin utilizes his knowledge and skills in order to increase effectiveness and enhance access for all. Austin makes a difference every day through his sense of urgency, his courtesy, and his awareness of the district’s mission. Austin is dependable and can be counted upon to complete tasks, assist with projects and support district functions. He treats everyone with kindness and respect which allows him to collaborate well with his teammates. Whether an extra hand is needed or information is requested, Austin is always willing to help. Austin regularly checks in on everyone he supports to make sure their needs are fulfilled to the fullest extent. He provides all with the same level of cordial and quality support whether it’s a student needing help with a Chromebook, a staff member needing a computer update or a community member needing audio video support for their event.”

The five from across the county who were selected to represent Stanislaus County in the California Department of Education’s statewide recognition program are: Leada Allahwerdi of Turlock Adult School; Travis Mazorra of Hughes Elementary School in the Empire District; Adria Sanders of Mark Twain Jr. High School in Modesto; Michael Jacobs of Beyer High School in Modesto; and Isela Rosales of Chatom Union School District.

Liz Cooper
Sam Vaughn Elementary School library media clerk Liz Cooper was recognized by Stanislaus County Office of Education as an Employee Making a Difference recipient during a virtual ceremony on Jan. 21.
Ruben Silva
A longtime custodian at Westport Elementary School, Ruben Silva was rewarded by Stanislaus County Office of Education last week. He was named an Employee Making a Difference award winner.