Two Orange County classified school employees win top state honor

Cafeteria manager Karen Allison from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and custodian Norman Dobrofsky from the Huntington Beach Union High School District have been named 2017 California Classified Employees of the Year.

The two are among only six in the state to receive the honor from the California Department of Education this week. Classified workers include instructional assistants, custodians, office workers, technicians, bus drivers and other non-certificated staff members.

Karen Allison and Norman DobrofskyWinners were selected based on their work performance, leadership, commitment and involvement with their schools and communities, officials said.

The state recognized Allison, who’s worked at Adams Elementary in Costa Mesa for 11 years, for her dedication to providing healthy meals, including those for students with gluten-free diets, allergies and other special dietary needs, to more than 600 students daily.

The selection committee described Allison as “widely known as a wonderful employee with a natural talent in the kitchen and a caring approach to all of her students. She goes out of her way to make sure healthy meals look and taste good. At Adams Elementary, she begins cooking lunch right after breakfast and rotates oven and warming spaces to maximize output. She fully immerses herself in the school community, including reaching to children.”

Dobrofsky, who’s worked at Valley Vista High in Fountain Valley for the past eight years, is described as “a tireless and dedicated worker who cleans and fixes things at the continuation high school. He makes sure that all campus rooms and facilities are prepared and ready for students and staff every single school day. He is calm, controlled, and well-organized.”

Both Allison and Dobrofsky were among six school employees chosen in April by the Orange County Department of Education as 2017 Orange County Classified Employees of the Year.

“These terrific employees keep schools clean and safe; they make sure our students get to school and can eat healthy meals; and they contribute to an overall positive school culture that cares for the whole child,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a news release.

Allison and Dobrofsky, along with the other four state honorees, will be honored at a May 25 luncheon in Sacramento.