For the 13th year running, the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region VII will honor outstanding classified (non-supervisory) education employees. Called “Employees Making a Difference,” school districts throughout the county selected their own honorees and forwarded nominations to SCOE.
A total of 28 classified staff throughout the county will be honored at a special 4 p.m. reception set on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the Martin G. Petersen Event Center, 720 12th Street, Modesto.
Among the employees from Ceres, Hughson and Keyes districts nominated for the honor are:
• Katie Kelley, a Ceres Unified cafeteria worker at Patricia “Kay” Beaver Elementary School;
• Sylvia Martinez, a CUSD paraprofessional and student supervision assistant at Walter White Elementary School;
• Kim Webster, a CUSD credential analyst at the district office;
• Sal Ramirez, the lead maintenance and grounds keeper at the Hughson Unified District Office;
• Susan Hanson, a Keyes Union campus support person.
Five of the 28 honorees will be selected to represent Stanislaus County in the statewide recognition program. The names of the five individuals will be announced at next week’s reception.
Kim Webster just may be the most sought-after employee of CUSD’s Personnel Services Division. As the credential analyst, she deals with complex situations of the hiring process. She researches and seeks assistance to ensure staff members are appropriately placed and meet the credential requirements required for their assignment. She goes above and beyond to help the employee – from signing them up for tests to contacting the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for extensions or emergency authorizations.
Her smile, friendly personality, genuine happiness at work and positive energy are at times contagious, coworkers report.
Kim also supports CUSD’s Leadership Academy, assisting students by getting them signed up to earn units and providing beverages and snacks for each session. Many times she stays far beyond her regular work day to answer students’ questions and providing details to ensure university credits are earned. Webster also oversees the “Girl of the Month” recognition program of the Soroptimist International of Ceres.
Katie Kelley was nominated because she relates well to students – even knowing their names – and does a great job in teaching cafeteria procedures as well as communicating with families when questions and concerns arise. She also has a “great relationship with school staff,” said Principal Libby Holmes.
“Katie has a heart of gold and goes above and beyond for students on a daily basis,” said Holmes. “Teachers describe as kind and caring. They feel that she creates a nice environment and makes it clear that she cares about kids.”
One second-grader described her as “kind, awesome, loving and helpful.”
Katie also attends many school events outside of her work day.
A kindergarten classroom paraprofessional and also a student supervisor before school on the playground, was chosen because of her ability to help out wherever needed.
“I have worked with Sylvia in my classroom for the past five years,” kindergarten teacher Samantha Mustaca. “Sylvia has the innate ability to make connections with our students. She has the patience to work in challenging situations, is able to connect with the most challenging students on a personal level and shows how much she cares about their well-being and their success. She can handle tasks, situations, assignments without direction, and I can rely on her for anything. She puts her whole heart into her job and it is evident from working with her how much compassion, care and love she puts into her job.
“I have seen her ability to mentor, guide, and build trust with the older students on campus as well. She is a guide, light for many of our students!”
According to Administrative Assistant Autumn Gose, Martinez is a very dedicated employee who is extremely helpful with students and staff.
“She inspires me every day. She is always willing to fill in, helping with our vacant position when needed. Her dedication to her students and fellow employees is amazing. We appreciate her warm, friendly smile greeting our students when they arrive to school every day.”
In Keyes, Susan Hanson has a number of responsibilities dealing mainly with safety and student support. She started at Spratling Middle School six years ago and every year more responsibility has been added to her plate.
“She understands the challenges of middle school and is a positive influence on her students as they travel through their middle school years,” said Principal John Stewart. “Each day, she gives her students moral support, guidance, wisdom, and above all compassion. She truly builds a bond with students and understands when a simple smile, a pat on the back, or providing tough love is appropriate.”
Hanson performs her duties at a high level and is quick to volunteer or to assist in any area without hesitation when needed. Additionally, she has learned all office, yard duty, and crossing guard positions ensuring Keyes School never needs to be worried about being understaffed. She participates in several school committees including the safety committee, attendance review team, PBIS support team, and discipline committee. In the community she has coordinated the collection of items such as shoes, backpacks, and hygiene supplies for Keyes students who can’t afford them or don’t have the parent support to supply them. She also volunteers for the Keyes district safety committee and LCAP committee.
“Susan has a pulse on the total school and often brings me potential issues before they become problems,” said Stewart. “Susan always smiles and even in the worst situations remains calm and focused. She is a definite role model for our kids and they are lucky to have such a caring individual during, for some, the most difficult times of their lives.”
Hughson Unified School District has benefited from the service of Sal Ramirez for nearly 23 years, said Supt. Brenda Smith. Not only does he drive a school bus but Sal is handy man and an “all-around fix it guy,” said Smith.
“We appreciate Sal very much,” said Smith. “Whenever anything needs to be fixed, we all know we can count on him. He has always been a dependable and enjoyable part of our team.”
Each district was eligible to send in a certain number of nominees based on district attendance figures.