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Classified school standouts honored
Three Ceres Unified School District employees and a Keyes paraprofessional are among 22 countywide classified schools employees honored through the fifth annual "Employees Making a Difference" program. The awards were given by the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Stanislaus Charter at a Tuesday reception held at the Petersen Event Center in Modesto.

Local employees who were honored include:

• Jaime Carreon, a custodian at Ceres High School;

• Lina Haro, a Blaker-Kinser Junior High School paraprofessional;

• Kelly Randle, Central Valley High School secretary;

• Cindy Moon, a Spratling Middle School paraprofessional/campus supervisor in Keyes.

"Our classified employees have a vital role in educating students," said Stanislaus Charter ACSA President Debra Fusco. "They provide a healthy, supportive, and well maintained educational institute which allows teachers to teach students in an optimal environment. Classified employees are the heartbeat of our schools."

Classified employees are those who are in non-supervisory education. Employees were nominated in the areas of child nutrition, maintenance/operations, office/technical, para educators/instructional assistants, support services/security and transportation. The ranks of classified include cafeteria workers, custodians, district and school office personnel, school secretaries, health clerks and others. Positions range from a two-hour noon duty to full-time positions.

"This program helps us recognize the efforts of some of our outstanding classified employees, many who are unsung heroes behind the scenes, yet critical to the education of our children," said Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon.

Six of the 22 nominees were selected to represent Stanislaus County in the California School Employee of the Year program, coordinated by the California Department of Education. The names of these six individuals were announced at the reception, which is being hosted by key corporate sponsors.

Each district was eligible to send in a certain number of nominees based on district average daily attendance.

School secretary Kelly Randle said she enjoys being a part of the daily buzz in the Central Valley High School office.

"I like it a lot, I do," said Randle. "I just like the interaction with the students and staff. We have an amazing staff and a lot of great kids."

Randle has worked for CUSD for 16 years, starting out at Don Pedro Elementary School, spending four years at Ceres High School and joining the CVHS staff when the campus opened in the fall of 2005. She started as the receptionist, moved to attendance and then a secretary, now to assistant principal Edith Rodriguez.

She said she has enjoyed seeing students who had attended Don Pedro School when she worked there now in the high school.

"That's been fun," said Randle.

Saying her job "does involve a lot," Randle listed areas her job covers, including being in charge of the bell schedule, Back to School Night, assisting in the California State Standards Test, involvement with producing the student handbook, and working with behavior issues and parent groups. Randle also operates the school's automated communication phone dialer to occasionally convey information to parents.

"I do a lot of reports - data, data, data."

Ceres High School custodian Jaime Carreon has worked for Ceres schools for 14 years, helping make the campuses clean and safe for students. He started out at CHS as a lead night custodian, then was head custodian at Carroll Fowler School. From there he joined the Ceres district grounds crew for about three years. He rejoined CHS about two years ago.

"He's taken over and made our school come a long way in a short time," said Assistant Principal Lonnie Cornell. "He'll outwork anybody. I've never heard him say 'nah, can't do that.' He gets respect from the other guys because they see how hard he works and that's always the case with supervisors."

Cornell commented that Carreon is well liked by all and has a positive attitude.

"I like being here with the kids, being helpful," said Carreon. "A lot of good kids."

As head custodian Carreon oversees maintenance and grounds, and participates in litter pickup, bathroom cleanliness and emergency calls.

Cindy Moon's exceptional work ethic at Spratling Middle School in Keyes has garnered her attention, even though she downplayed the attention.

Moon, a Christian who attends Monte Vista Chapel in Turlock, has focussed her attention on winning students over to the concept of making being at school every day.

"That's one thing I really push big - attendance," said Moon, who occasionally makes home visits to round up students who are truant. She keeps track of student attendance and oversees a reward and incentives program intended to get students to show up every day.

"We have prizes for every trimester for the kids with perfect attendance," said Moon.

One reward is a bike raffle and the offering of "front of the cafeteria line" passes which are coveted.

As a paraprofessional she works with the P.E. teacher three periods each day, offering crowd control.

"I help out in classrooms as needed."

Moon worked for Turlock schools and left in 1989 before coming to Keyes. She worked 12 years at Keyes School and left for five and a half years to meet to family needs during an illness. Before she reapplied to work for Keyes, Spratling Middle School had opened up in January 2001. She said it was a "God thing" that the day she inquired about a job was the day the prior employee resigned. At first she was unsure about working with sixth- through eighth-graders.

"I didn't think I would necessarily want to be at a middle school but I love it," said Moon. "I get paid to do something I absolutely love. It's nice."

Moon said she expects to retire in four years but is open for staying longer.

"My husband and I both have the attitude that as long as we like our jobs and feel that we're doing a good job at it, we're willing to work."