OCDE announces the 2023 Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year

Title with star Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year

The 2023 Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year are nine exemplary school workers who pour their hearts into the roles and communities they serve.

On Monday, the Orange County Department of Education announced this year’s winners from a pool of 73 district level-honorees based on their work performance, leadership, dedication and involvement with their schools and communities.

“I am constantly in awe of the dedication and compassion displayed by our classified school employees, along with their tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to serving our students and families,” said Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares. “From keeping our campuses clean and safe to ensuring our students receive nutritious meals, this year’s honorees perform at the highest levels of excellence day in and day out. Their commitment to supporting our schools and students is truly inspiring and deeply appreciated. On behalf of the Orange County Department of Education, I want to thank these employees for being the backbone of our educational system.” 

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Clerical and Administrative Services
Adriana Ponce
Office Manager
Jordan Elementary School
Lowell Joint School District

Custodial and Maintenance Services
Gene Martinez
Maintenance Operations Division Lead
Magnolia School District

Food and Nutrition Services
Jaime Carranza
Senior Warehouseman
Anaheim Union High School District

Health and Student Services
Emma Avalos
Family and Community Engagement Specialist 
Anaheim Elementary Online Academy
Anaheim Elementary School District 

Josephine Walberg
Paraeducator 4
Adult Transition Program
Capistrano Unified School District

Security Services
Amira Hana
Playground Assistant
Melinda Heights Elementary School
Saddleback Valley Unified School District

Skilled Trades
Karin Vizcaino
Skilled Maintenance – Electrician
Los Alamitos Unified School District

Technical Services
Manjit Kaur Charaia
Senior Programmer Analyst
Garden Grove Unified School District

Transportation Services
Eddie Vey
School Bus Driver
Ocean View School District

Honoring Classified employees

The California Department of Education established the Classified School Employees of the Year program in 2008 to highlight contributions of school workers who support the education of the state’s more than six million public school students. 

In Orange County, OCDE invites all local school districts to submit nominations for the program based on guidelines and timelines established by the state.

All nine Orange County Classified School Employees of the Year are set to be formally celebrated during Classified School Employee Week, which starts May 21. 

Each is now eligible to compete for honors through the California Department of Education, and if they advance, they could also be nominated for the national Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) awards program.

For more information on the Orange County Classified School Employee of the Year program, visit ocde.us/CSEY.