A nutrition services assistant, a bus driver, a maintenance worker and a database specialist are among nine exemplary school workers who were announced Monday as the 2022 Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year.
The Orange County Department of Education selected this year’s winners from a pool of 86 district-level honorees based on their work performance, leadership, dedication and involvement with their schools and communities.
“Classified workers are essential to the success, safety and wellbeing of our students, and at no time has this been more evident than during a global pandemic,” said Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares.
“The 2022 Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year have even further distinguished themselves through their commitment, compassion, creativity and character,” Mijares said. “On behalf of the Orange County Department of Education, I want to personally commend this year’s honorees for performing at the highest levels, often under difficult circumstances, in support of our schools and communities.”
Without further ado, here they are:
Clerical and Administrative Services Sonia Arreguin Administrative Technician Orange County Department of Education Alternative, Community, and Correctional Education Schools and Services (ACCESS)
Custodial and Maintenance Services Jason Munier Day Custodian La Habra City School District
Food and Nutrition Services Lorena Simerson Nutrition Services Assistant Santa Ana Unified School District
Health and Student Services Sheri Saladow Guidance Technician Capistrano Unified School District
Paraprofessional Evan Jacobs Behavior Interventionist/Paraprofessional Tustin Unified School District
Security Services Erik Estrada Campus Supervisor Huntington Beach Union High School District
Skilled Trades Luis Camarena Skilled Maintenance Worker Ocean View School District
Technical Services Armando Gomez Database Specialist Los Alamitos Unified School District
Transportation Services Shannon Lauricella School Bus Driver Garden Grove Unified School District
Honoring classified employees
The California Department of Education established the Classified School Employees of the Year program in 2008 to spotlight some of the unsung heroes within the education community, including custodians, instructional assistants, office clerks, technicians, bus drivers and other non-certificated staff members. Each year, school districts select their top candidates, who have the potential to win at the county, state and national levels.
In Orange County, which serves about 475,000 public school students, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union partners annually with OCDE to recognize local employees throughout the county who help ensure campuses are safe, supportive and engaging learning environments.
All nine Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year are set to be formally celebrated during Classified School Employee Week, which starts May 15.