Celebrating Classified School Employees
The Sonoma County Office of Education on Thursday, April 21, recognized outstanding classified school employees from around the county. Classified school employees, from crossing guards and bus drivers to cafeteria workers and instructional aides, are the often-unsung heroes who play key roles in creating a school environment that promotes student achievement, safety, and health.
A total of 11 classified employees were nominated by their school districts for the work they do on behalf of the students of Sonoma County. Five, each representing a different category of worker, were selected as finalists for the state-level Classified School Employees of the Year award. The state awards, which recognize non-teaching school employees who support pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public schools, are scheduled to be announced later this year.
Each finalist selected by a judging panel received a $100 Target gift card and a personal note from County Superintendent Steve Herrington.
Meet the finalists and nominees below.
Tammy Affonso | Santa Rosa City Schools | Clerical and Administrative Services
“I have worked with Ms. Affonso for multiple years, and through some of the toughest years our district and community has experienced. … Currently in the role of Human Resources Substitute Technician, Ms. Affonso has been instrumental through the pandemic in working to ensure we recruit and retain quality individuals who are ready to serve our schools. ” —Anna Trunnell, Superintendent, Santa Rosa City Schools
Eric Chrisco | Old Adobe Elementary Charter School, Old Adobe Union School District | Custodial and Maintenance
“From delivery to the school sites, large repair work, warehouse organization and so much more, Eric runs the show! … His work is always top-notch, he needs very little direction, and he gets things done right the first time.” —Craig Conte, former Superintendent, Old Adobe Union School District
Dale Walsh | La Tercera Elementary School, Old Adobe Union School District | Health and Student Services
“For over 20 years, Dale, or “Mr. Dale” as the students call him, has brought support, nurturing, and caring to his role of Campus Aide. In his crossing guard role, Dale is consistent and dedicated to the safety of all our families … He brings smiles and positivity to every moment here at La Tercera, and is committed to making each day the best day.” —Dan Noble, Principal, La Tercera Elementary School
Bri Seely-Clark | Santa Rosa Middle School, Santa Rosa City Schools | Paraprofessional Services
“Bri really hustles to get her students connected to community resources: from CHOPS teen center to LandPaths, homeless resources, food bank info, and donating her own food and money to help support her students. She does not stop, even meeting kids on community-sponsored hikes, just to get them into nature and out of trouble.” —Kaesa Enemark, Coordinator of Student and Family Engagement, Santa Rosa City Schools
Jose Tlatilpa | Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School, Roseland School District | Technical Services
“With all that has taken place the past two years, technology has been at the forefront. … Jose was there every step of the way to provide his assistance and support. Sheppard Elementary has almost 600 students. The workload to ensure every student was able to transition to 1:1 technology during Distance Learning and support every family with technology needs when things went wrong says so much about Jose and his dedication to serve the Sheppard students, families, and staff.” —Jenny Young, former Principal, Sheppard Accelerated Elementary
Benny Fonzeca, Roseland University Prep, Roseland School District
Sarah French, Sonoma County Office of Education
Sheri Roberge, Special Education Local Plan Area, Sonoma County
Cristina Padilla, Roseland Creek Elementary, Roseland School District
Kimberly Szalai, Brooks Elementary School, Windsor Unified School District
Asia Teixeira, Sonoma County Office of Education