Celebrating Classified School Employees
The Sonoma County finalists for the statewide Classified School Employee of the Year (CSEY) program were announced April 19 at a reception held at the Sonoma County Office of Education. These dedicated school employees were nominated by their districts for the important and too-often un-noticed roles they play in creating and maintaining positive school environments for the students of Sonoma County. They received extensive praise from supervisors and colleagues for their heroism during a particularly difficult year for Sonoma County schools.
Sonoma County’s finalists were selected by a judging panel and will advance to the state awards program. State-level award winners will be announced at the end of April.
Meet the Finalists
Dave Sandoval | Sonoma Valley Unified School District | Maintenance Technician
“There is nothing I can't ask Dave to do. He always answers the call even after hours. He is the first to volunteer or to step up when we need an extra push to get things done. ” —Tony Albini, Maintenance Manager
Nance Thiele | Piner High School | Business Office Technician
“Nancy Thiele attends sporting events, helps run the Gate for many games, and loves being a part of the Piner High School community. She knows her actions help events like prom go successfully, which helps build a positive school culture for all of Piner High School. Nancy works in a central position for the school and each thing she does has a large reach. For example, with graduation this year, Nancy has been tracking down and notifying the 24 seniors who lost their homes to the October wildfires that Josten's will be buying the cap and gown for them. She is dedicated to impacting students and their lives in a positive way. ” —Tim Zalunardo, Principal
Karen Wofford | Jack London Elementary and Piner-Olivet Charter | Library Technician and Program Assistant
“Karen Wofford treats the school community as her family. She is deeply invested in the success of every child, and has a special capacity with students who are often perceived of as "difficult." Although Karen lost her own home during our recent fires, she has been a support to all those around her who have suffered losses and has not missed work to take care of her own needs because she is so concerned with the stability and continuity of the programs she supports, which give comfort and consistency to the students who need it most. ” —Betha MacCLain, Principal
Celebrating Teamwork During Crisis
This year's ceremony included a special category for classified staff who went above and beyond to serve their schools and communities following the October wildfires. Teams from Sonoma Valley Unified School District, SCOE, Santa Rosa City Schools, Roseland School District, Rincon Valley School District, and Old Adobe Union School District were honored for the courageous work they did to support students during the fires. It was a touching event, with many amazing stories shared about these classified heroes. Below is a picture of all the classified employees honored for this special award.
Transportation Team, Old Adobe Union School District
Ben Borrego and Russ Marshall
"Both Ben and Russ provided emergency transportation services for the Sonoma Valley evacuation center. They were called out in the middle of the night and were on duty for 24 hours." —Craig Conte, Superintendent
Transportation Team, Rincon Valley Union School District
Cruz Escutia, Josy Hagstrom, Jackie Ledou, Tom Prosser
"Without hesitation, (our school bus) drivers raced to their buses, and taking many detours to avoid the fires, arrived in Sonoma... to begin the evacuations of patients and supplies to safer facilities. I believe we can confidently say that we have never been prouder of an employee group as we are of these bus drivers.”—Joseph Pandolfo, Deputy Superintendent
Custodial Staff, Roseland School District
Dennis Vickrey, Antonio Aguilar, Raul Castro Alcantra, Juan Carlos Castro Alcantra, Jaime Diaz Gomez, Fidel Florez, Benjamin Fonzeca, Marcello Gamez Gallegos, Yacob Gebreamalak, Emilio Gonzalez, Armando Hernandez, Samuel Martinez, Araceli Roman, Antonio Aguilar, Jr.
"Unfortunately, one of our school sites burned down. Our custodial staff helped two of our elementary sites accommodate over three hundred students who now did not have a school to return to...Our custodial staff made a miracle happen!" —Amy Jones-Kerr, Superintendent
Piner High School Classified Staff, Santa Rosa City Schools
Delmar Billy, Kathy Bassini, Jackie Harris, Shobna Kumer, Lizbeth Moreno, Claudia Robles, Michelle Kolb, Nancy Thiele, Antonio Chavez
"The classified staff at Piner High School has made every effort to support fire victims from the first day of the wildfires. They have been consistently steadfast, selfless, and giving in their time and energy to support our families and students. Our fire-impacted students have been connected to help and support that they would not otherwise have if it were not for our fabulous and hard-working classified staff."—Tim Zalunardo, Piner High Principal
Maintenance & Operations and Transportation Departments, Sonoma Valley Unified School District
Full list of SVUSD team names here
"While the City of Sonoma coordinated fire and police efforts around the city, the two shelters relied on SVUSD staff support and community volunteers. The fact that these Sonoma Valley Unified School District employees rose to the need without pause deserves any recognition that might come their way."—Loyal Carlon, former Interim Superintendent and HR Director
Additional SVUSD team members were honored at the recognition ceremony. They included: Amber McCann-Howlett, Nicole Lage, Danielle Contreras, Edyta Jacobsen, Kimberly Smith, Samantha Albini, Jennifer Albini
Sonoma County Office of Education Classified Staff
Staff members recognized included: Janelle Sarsfield, Debbie Shepherd, Jennifer Duckhorn, Joel Rennison, Jorge Torres, Javier Prescott, Ben Siebert, Diane Perkiss, Lynda Pinochi, Angie Duplicki, Miwa Smith, Carol Mahan, Derek Ng, Cody Grosskopf, John Silvestrini, Erin Graves, John SIlvestrini, Kimberly Vallee, Kristen Johnson, Dan Bienkowski, Jamie Hansen