Monthly Awards for Teachers and Classified Employees!
(nominations by staff only, please)
We would like to thank our community businesses for their generosity and for wanting to recognize the work of our staff!
Jacob Young Financial is a Financial Planning Firm located in Watsonville, specializing in retirement planning. The company sponsors and manages the Educator of the Month Award and the Classified Employee of the Month programs. The selection committee is comprised of retired classified and certificated employees. All district employees are encouraged to participate by nominating a peer who has gone above and beyond to support students. Recipients are honored in front of their peers at their site and at a board meeting.
Attached are the nomination forms with instructions for submitting a nomination, as well as information on the selection process.
Educator: Colleen Riggen, Mar Vista Elementary
Classified employee:Denee Sereano, Librarian, Starlight Elementary
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District has named Colleen Riggen as Educator of the month and Denee Sereano as Classified Employee of the month. Both were nominated by their colleagues.
Riggen is a third grade teacher at Mar Vista Elementary. She was nominated by second grade teacher Risa Schwartz who says she has always felt confident placing her second grade students in Riggen’s class, she know they will be challenged and supported as needed. Riggen is admired for bringing her passion for writing into the classroom and igniting it in her students. She is described as a stellar teacher and well deserving of this accomplishment.
Sereano has been the librarian at Starlight Elementary for the last eight years. She is described as being a very skilled, dedicated, and knowledgeable librarian. She is very dedicated to her students and teachers. She tries to make a connection with every single student and supports them in building their success as independent readers. She is loved by all for her hard work and dedication, often going above and beyond her job requirements.
The recognition from PVUSD, which includes a $50 honorarium, is sponsored by Jacob Young Financial Services, an investment counselor that works with district staff.
Educator: John Simms, Aptos Jr. High School
Classified Employee: Rich Arellano, Textbook Media Specialist, DO Warehouse
The following is an article about Mr. Simms and Mr. Arellano that appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sunday, March 17, 2013:
ABOVE AND BEYOND
John Simms and Rich Arellano are the February employees of the month at Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
Simms has taught math at Aptos Junior High for 12 years. Se serves as the department chair and data team leader for the math department, and is also the main tech support person on campus.
"John is an incredible asset to AJHS," stated Principal Brian Saxton. "From his wonderful classroom teaching to his willingness to serve, he reaches all corners of and helps improve the learning for all students."
Arellano is in charge of the inventory and distribution of textbooks to all school sites in PVUSD. Nominator Monica Cesarello is astounded at how effeciently Arellano does his job, which is essential to quality teaching and learning.
The recognition from PVUSD, which includes a $50 honorarium, is sponsored by Jacob Young Financial Services, an investment counselor that works with district staff. By: Justine DaCosta
Educator: Shireen Goudarzi, HA Hyde Elementary School
Classified Employee: Marina Candor, ESL Registrar, Adult Educaiton
Educator: Veronica Hernandez, MacQuiddy Elementary School
Classified Employee: Betz Olivares, Registration Specialist, Language Arts Resource Center (LARC)
Educator: Joel Amrani, Renaissance High School
Classified Employee: Debbie Lerma, Attendance Specialist, Adult Education
Educator: Sydnie Moore, MacQuiddy Elementary School
Classified Employee: Carrie Marquez, Attendance Clerk, Pacific Coast Charter School
On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, the Board of Education and administration recognized the following two employees.
Educator of the Month: Christine Kopecky, a teacher at Watsonville School, was nominated by her peer to receive the Educator of the Month Award. Ms. Kopecky is a model for outstanding teaching. The letter nominating her states, “Her classroom routines provide a learning frame for students which helps measure their own growth over time…. Her relationships with students have been profound in many cases and memorable for most of the rest due to her ability to listen and push in the gentlest manner.” In attendance at the meeting were Elaine Legorreta, Principal, as well as her proud parents.
Classified Employee of the Month: Diana Martinez, Attendance Specialist at EA Hall Middle School, was nominated by her peers to receive the Classified Employee of the Month award. Ms. Martinez received many letters nominating her; in one of the letters, Ms. Martinez was described as a “hard working employee who goes over and above anything required of her and has a deep commitment to CSEA (California State Employees Association. She is always professional and objective and can be counted on to see all versions before she makes a decision.” In addition, it was noted that Ms. Martinez is a school volunteer, an active member of Relay for Life, and an involved member of the employees’ union. EA Hall’s Assistant Principal, Matt Levy, was in attendance at the meeting along with many of her peers and family members.
On Wednesday, March 14, the Board of Education and administration of Pajaro Valley Unified School District recognized the following employees:
Educator of the Month: Gerardo Palafox, a teacher at Radcliff Elementary School, was nominated by his peer to receive the Educator of the Month Award. Creating a welcoming classroom, effective organizing skills and a positive disposition defines Mr. Palafox's character. The letter nominating him states, “Mr. Palafox is an example of what all teachers should be. Not only does he love his job, he is someone who truly cares about his students and the staff here at Radcliff. He always goes the extra mile to help the children, their families and the staff.” In attendance at the meeting were Ulli Kummerow, Principal, as well as some of his peers.
Classified Employee of the Month: Vince Cendejas, Head Custodian at Watsonville High School, was nominated by his peer to receive the Classified Employee of the Month award. In the nominating letter, Mr. Cendejas was described as a “constant light of [professionalism], courtesy and industry.” WHS principal, Elaine Legorretta, was in attendance at the meeting and noted that Mr. Cendejas always managed to have a professional and positive attitude with staff and students alike. She noted that he would be retiring and that the award is a great way to acknowledge his work.
November 2011 Recipients
On Wednesday, November 16, the Board of Education and administration of Pajaro Valley Unified School District recognized the following employees:
Educator of the Month: Lanny Leighton, a teacher at Mintie White Elementary School, was nominated by her peer to receive the Educator of the Month Award. Creating a welcoming classroom, effective organizing skills and a positive disposition defines Ms. Leighton’s character. The letter nominating her states, “I nominate Ms. Leighton for this honor because she is hard-working, innovative, and inspirational…. Trying new things is one reason why Ms. Leighton is always improving as a teacher. Watching a colleague grow like this is an inspiration.” In attendance at the meeting were Bertha Torres, Principal, as well as some of her peers.
Classified Employee of the Month: Perri Johnson, an Instructional Assistant at MacQuiddy Elementary School, was nominated by her peer to receive the Classified Employee of the Month award. In the nominating letter, Ms. Johnson was described as an inspirational role model who “exudes positive energy…. She also finds time to plan fun and motivational events for the kids and fundraisers for the school.” She was described as possessing the will and desire to do great things in small ways simply for the sake of the happiness that comes from making others happy. In attendance were her peers who were very proud to be part of the team.
October 2011 Recipients
On Wednesday, October 12, the Board of Education and administration of Pajaro Valley Unified School District recognized the following employees:
Educator of the Month: Mike Donegan, a teacher at Rolling Hills Middle School, was nominated by his peers for his devotion to students. Mr. Rick Ito, principal, remarked that “Mr. Donegan is a teacher who does everything: yearbook editing, works with English Language Learners, works in the after school programs and offers technology support.” He added that Mr. Donegan develops great relationships with students and staff and that he was honored to be part of giving him the award.
Classified Employee of the Month: Herlindo Fernandez, Energy Management Technician in the Maintenance and Operations department, was nominated by his peers and selected by the committee for his dedication to his work. Mr. Steve Okamura, Energy Education Manager, spoke of Mr. Fernandez’ willingness to learn and help the team out whenever it was necessary. Mr. Okamura stated that Mr. Fernandez learned the responsibilities of his position quickly and is a committed employee. Also in attendance to witness his award were his family and Rick Mullikin, Director of the M&O department.