May 1, 2014
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California's
Classified School Employees of the Year for 2014
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the selection of six outstanding classified school employees in recognition of their roles in school operations and student success.
"I offer my congratulations to six hard-working and devoted school employees who exemplify what commitment to school and student really is," said Torlakson. "These highly skilled and talented workers make the extra effort to support their students, schools, and communities."
The annual program recognizes six outstanding classified school employees, each representing one of the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical Support; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation.
The 2014 Classified School Employees of the Year, who will be honored by Torlakson at a luncheon held May 22 in Sacramento, are: (The information contained in the following biographical sketches was excerpted from their nomination forms.)
Sharon Cliffman, Assistant Cafeteria Manager, Millville Elementary School, Millville Elementary School District, Millville, Shasta County (11 years in current position)
Mrs. Cliffman provides a positive, compassionate, and encouraging approach to serving healthy meals for Millville students. She is responsible for ordering supplies, creating menus, preparing breakfasts and lunches, cleaning up, and then organizing for the next day. She is familiar with state nutrition guidelines and understands well what is required for proper nutrition. From preparing a living history day feast to serving green eggs and ham on Dr. Seuss's birthday to laying out an impeccably displayed salad bar, Mrs. Cliffman has an unwavering commitment to her work and to the children. Part chef, part nutritionist, and part mother, she goes above and beyond all aspects of her profession.
Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities
Marcus Board, Painter, Department of Buildings and Grounds, Oakland Unified School District, Alameda County (seven years in current position)
Mr. Board has a passion for his job. He is well-known throughout the Building and Grounds Department for his compassion and his energy. A highly skilled craftsman, his high ethical standards and vast experience enable him to be an excellent mentor to his colleagues and to the students who intern during the summer. Last year, Mr. Board was called upon to temporarily step in as shop manager and provided a comfortable and open environment for his coworkers. He worked hard, often coming in early and staying late to ensure the work was properly completed and on time. He possesses wisdom beyond his years and knows how to motivate people. He exudes warmth, humility, and compassion and always expresses appreciation to others for their efforts.
Office and Technical
Diana Vita, Account Clerk II, Carmel High School, Carmel Unified School District, Carmel, Monterey County, (six years in current position)
Ms. Vita is an exemplary employee and more importantly an outstanding person. She sees no boundaries of time or defined job parameters when she comes to work. She is the school's financial secretary and that entails managing money, fundraisers, clubs, minutes, rosters, the student store—the list goes on. What she sees are responsibilities and needs—for students, parents, faculty and staff, and the community. When she sees a need you can be sure she will be either leading the charge to address it, or will be working tirelessly to meet it as part of a team. At no time will you find her to be less than professional and she consistently brightens the day of others with her cheerful attitude and willing spirit.
Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance
Lisa Nowels, Instructional Assistant, Sun View Elementary School, Ocean View School District, Huntington Beach, Orange County (eight years in current position)
Ms. Nowels serves as an Instructional Assistant for English learner students and brings to that job a wealth of experience that allows her to suggest changes to improve district procedures and practices on implementing state and federal English learner regulations. She often participates on district-level committees and is a valuable resource for her colleagues. She helps administer the California English Language Development Test, works on English learner related paperwork, and attends English learner staff meetings. She is a team player who is focused on helping meet the needs of English learners district-wide. Described as professional, efficient, helpful, reliable, and dedicated, Ms. Nowels' work performance is summed up in one word: outstanding.
Support Services and Security
Treavor Maddux, Campus Monitor, Oak View High School and Education Center, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District, Yucaipa, San Bernardino County (eight years in current position)
Mr. Maddux is the campus monitor at a community day school where students are considered at-risk because they were expelled or frequently absent from a traditional high school or are substantially behind in credits to graduate. Next door is an education center for emotionally disturbed students. He has the ability to deal with the most challenging students on the high school site and also to interact with a distressed elementary student at the center. He consistently demonstrates that time spent building relationships and by being firm, fair, and consistent shows students that authority figures can be trusted. These relationships have kept many potential issues at a minimum. He is a role model for staff and respected for his high-moral conduct and common sense in difficult situations.
Henry Bell, School Bus Driver, Transportation Department, Roseville Joint Union High School District, Roseville, Placer County (12 years in current position)
Mr. Bell is an amazing person to work with and is a true leader in his field. He is respected not only for his ability to maintain a safe and effective bus, but also for how he communicates and builds relationships with students and staff. He works effectively and patiently to resolve issues with students and parents and demonstrates a climate of trust and teamwork. He often gives discouraged students a positive pep-talk about responsibility and making good choices. This has helped students know what is expected of them, and also shows how much Mr. Bell cares about them. He is an outstanding role model for students and a positive representative for the district.