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Classified School Employees of the Year

Recognizes exemplary classified school employees who best represent all of California's classified staff and symbolize the profession's contributions and commitment to quality education.

Program Information

A component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the Classified School Employees of the Year (CSEY) Program highlights contributions of classified school employees who support the education of California’s more than six million public school students from preschool through grade twelve. The CSEY Program pays tribute to the tireless efforts of our state's outstanding classified school employees. From school bus drivers to cafeteria workers to instructional aides, these employees are the unsung heroes who play key roles in creating a school environment that contributes to the whole child by promoting student achievement, safety, and health. CSEY Awardees are recognized at an event in Sacramento during Classified School Employee Week, the third full week of May each year.

Eligibility Criteria

The California Department of Education (CDE) invites county offices of education (COEs) to participate in the CSEY Program. To be eligible for the CSEY Program, applicants must:

  • Be a current classified school employee of a California public school (preschool through grade twelve), including charter schools, school districts, and county offices of education.
  • Be named as a finalist in their local county competition.
  • Be a rank and file employee, not in a management or supervisory position.
  • Have a minimum of five years of service in nomination category, with no minimum full-time equivalent.

Selection Process

The CSEY Program identifies and honors exemplary classified school employees throughout California with a structure of local, regional and statewide recognition activities and selects employees to serve as CSEY Awardees. All COEs should celebrate and recognize outstanding classified school employees. Candidates for the CSEY Award compete in the CDE state program as candidates of COEs. The CDE provides the COEs with the guidelines for submitting nominations along with the evaluation and selection criteria that will be used to select awardees at the state level.

Each COE identifies their candidates through a local selection process in the following six categories and submits their nominations to the CDE:

  1. Child Nutrition
    The work of this candidate must be directly related to food handling and/or preparation. For example, cook and cafeteria worker.
  2. Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities
    The work of this candidate must be directly related to maintenance services or operations services. For example, technology support, custodian, electrician, carpenter, groundskeeper, and mechanic.
  3. Office and Technical
    The work of this candidate must be directly related to clerical, secretarial, or technological duties. For example, accountant, network engineer, programmer, secretary, and attendance clerk.
  4. Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance
    The work of this candidate must provide direct instructional services to students. For example, classroom assistant, instructional aide, and library assistant.
  5. Support Services and Security
    The work of this candidate must be directly related to security of students and/or property or work which has duties that are not covered under any of the other categories. For example, campus security monitor, health aide, and community outreach assistant.
  6. Transportation
    The work of this candidate must be directly related to student transportation. For examples, bus driver, dispatcher, and mechanic.

The CDE selection process begins with candidates whose names are submitted by COEs and consists of two phases:

Phase I - Review of Written Nominations

To evaluate the nominations, the CDE convenes a selection committee consisting of school, district, and COE administrators; professional organizations; and CDE personnel. The selection committee evaluates all nominations within the context of the selection criteria, which is organized around three themes: (1) Work performance, (2) School Community Involvement, and (3) Leadership and Commitment. The CDE selection committee then recommends the finalists for each category. There is no appeal process.

Phase II - Selection of Award Winners

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, or their designee, selects and notifies one CSEY Awardee for each category.


On February 8, 2019, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond notified County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators in his 2019 Classified School Employees of the Year Program letter, how to nominate classified employees for the 2019 CSEY Award. In order for classified employees to be considered in the Statewide Selection Process, COEs were required to submit a completed 2019 CSEY Program Nominee Recommendation (PDF) and 2019 CSEY Program Nominee Information (PDF) for each 2019 CSEY Program nominee, by Wednesday, March 13, 2019, to the CDE Awards Team email at

For more information regarding the CSEY Program application process, please contact your California School Recognition Program County Coordinator.

Timeline of Activities

Date Activity
February 8, 2019
The California Department of Education (CDE) disseminates nomination forms and instructions to county offices of education (COE).
February 2019

COEs determine nominees.

March 13, 2019
Postmark deadline for COEs to submit nominations to the CDE.
March-April 2019
CDE selection committee reviews nominations and recommends finalists.
April 2019

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, or their designee, selects and notifies the CSEY Awardees.

April 2019
The CDE announces the CSEY Awardees.
May 19-25, 2019
Classified School Employee Week.
May 23, 2019
CSEY Awards Ceremony, Holiday Inn, Sacramento, California.


We are thankful for our California School Recognition Program Sponsors who help to make the Classified School Employees of the Year Program a success! The CSRP would not be successful without the generous support they provide. We appreciate their willingness to support our efforts to recognize California's exemplary students, teachers, classified employees, schools, and districts for achievement and for advancing excellence in education.


California School Employees Association Classified School Employee Week External link opens in new window or tab.
California School Employees Association information about the importance of Classified School Employee Week.

California School Recognition Program County Coordinators
Contact information for California School Recognition Program county office of education coordinators.

Classified School Employees of the Year County Office of Education Participation
Participation information for county offices of education in support of the Classified School Employess of the Year Program.

Classified School Employees of the Year Awardees
Classified School Employees of the Year Awardees by year.

Classified School Employees of the Year Awards Luncheons
Classified School Employees of the Year Awards Luncheons by year.

Questions: Awards Team | | 916-319-0842 
Last Reviewed: Friday, May 3, 2019
Recently Posted in Awards and Recognition