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CSEY Awardees 2015

Classified School Employees of the Year Awardees for 2015.

News Release and biographies of the Classified School Employees of the Year Awardees for 2015.

Additional information can be found on the May 7, 2015, State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California's 2015 Classified School Employees of the Year News Release #15-40.

Raul Torres

Child Nutrition Category
Cafeteria Manager, 12 years in current position
Glick Middle School, Modesto
Empire Union School District, Stanislaus County

Each school day, Mr. Torres is responsible for serving more than 600 students breakfast, lunch, and/or supper. A culinary wizard and a highly regarded child nutrition expert, he has developed effective procedures to ensure the food production system provides safe nutritious foods of high quality. Mr. Torres goes beyond the normal duties of a cafeteria manager and makes a special effort to work with teachers to make school meals part of the curriculum when possible—like when he served calamari to science students when they studying squid. Friendly, creative, and colorful, Mr. Torres often comes to school wearing his Glick Middle School tie-dye T-shirt. He has a great rapport with students, motivating them to develop and maintain healthy eating habits. His commitment and dedication have earned the respect of all district employees.

Alfredo Perez

Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities Category
Head Custodian, 10 years in current position
Rea Middle School, Costa Mesa
Newport-Mesa Unified School District, Orange County

Mr. Perez delivers services with pride, care, dedication, diligence, quality, and excellence. He treats students like family, and students have come to call him "Uncle." When he arrives on campus early each morning, his main goal is to ensure that the huge school is safe and welcoming. He is committed to the school environment as if it were his own home. Mr. Perez is a true mentor who works with students to instill respect, responsibility, and care for others. He says, "If I can get one kid in the right spot, then I am doing the right thing." This principle is also evident at home. His two oldest daughters have earned master degrees and his son is in college. A man of humble grace and pride, he is adaptable, flexible, and patient. Mr. Perez is known throughout the community for his professionalism, his family values, and his positive energy.

Janelle Cranch

Office and Technical Category
Buyer Technician, 12 years in current position
Irvine Unified School District, Orange County

Mrs. Cranch is an invaluable asset and resource in supporting the district's vision and mission. Her conduct serves as a model of the core values of the school district, which is one of the most high-performing districts in the nation. During the state's budget crisis, Mrs. Cranch's leadership, calm communication style, and comprehensive understanding of district finances greatly contributed to the continued and ongoing success of its instructional programs. She advocates for classified personnel as well as the education of students and has occupied several leadership roles on prominent committees at the state and local levels. A soft-hearted and empathetic individual, Mrs. Cranch is always willing to go above and beyond normal expectation, resulting in many significant accomplishments for the district and the community.

Janice Currie

Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance Category
Special Education Instructional Assistant, 14 years in current position
Ready Springs School, Penn Valley
Penn Valley Union Elementary School District, Nevada County

Mrs. Currie is the quintessential career para-professional. She is an expert instructional support leader on the school's special education team and trains and guides new instructional assistants. She instinctively relates to a child's situation and is able to take appropriate action to help soothe a potentially troubling behavior. She has a rapport with students who in turn trust and respect her. Known for her ability to work with challenging children, she has a natural, calm centeredness about her that is important when talking with parents and students. She exhibits her dedication and love of children in everything she does. Mrs. Currie has participated on many committees and has attended Nevada County's Autism School, where she has put the skills she learned there to everyday use with both special education and general education students.

Gricelda Cardenas

Support Services and Security Category
Foster Youth and Parent Liaison, 7 years in current position
Public Services for the Woodland Joint Unified School District, Yolo County

Ms. Cardenas' knowledge of foster youth and school procedures puts her in an ideal position to offer her expertise to administrators, school staff, social services professionals, group home personnel, and foster parents. Her position in the district is unique and important. To ensure families have access to community resources, she participates on various committees and boards, such as the Salvation Army. Ms. Cardenas also provides training throughout Northern California to ensure compliance with new laws and best practices. When a student is not attending school, Ms. Cardenas works to build a positive relationship and through her interactions, she identifies the barriers to attending school and works to overcome them. She is culturally sensitive and creative in her approach. Ms. Cardenas personally takes students to school and works with school staff to form special connections with struggling students, so they get the support they need.

Phoebe Minick

Transportation Category
Bus Driver, 2½ years in current position
Foothill Horizons Outdoor School, Sonora
Stanislaus County Office of Education, Stanislaus County

Ms. Minick is the lead bus driver who is responsible for driving students, high school counselors, and teachers to and from the outdoor school program on the first and last day of their week of outdoor education. She is an excellent bus driver who always puts safety first. But Ms. Minick is much more than a driver. She knows how to strike a balance between being strict and friendly with her passengers to make sure they have positive and safe experiences. Her wonderful attitude and sense of humor are appreciated by students and staff alike. She eagerly takes on extra tasks to make field trip days run more smoothly for everyone. She is constantly looking for ways she can help to improve the student and staff experience.

Questions: Awards Team | | 916-319-0842 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 2, 2020