This year's Classified Employee of the Year is Aida Hairston, who has kept busy over the last several years by organizing a variety of important and inspirational efforts for SDCOE and in her off-time.
"Aida has given so much of herself at SDCOE and in the community—more times than not behind the scenes," said her supervisor, Gabriela Baeza Delgado.
Hairston has been a program secretary with Student Support Services for more than 14 years and has been with SDCOE for nearly 19 years. She treats her coworkers like family, making them feel cared for and valued, said Anthony Ceja, a coordinator with Student Support Services.
In her nomination form, Delgado called Hairston a "true team player."
"Aida is one of the best employees I have ever worked with," Delgado wrote. "Her positive attitude promotes an atmosphere of enthusiasm and open communication."
Hairston said she was excited and surprised to get the recognition.
Here at SDCOE, she has helped organize the popular tostilocos sales to raise money to support girls at risk of dropping out and those in the juvenile justice system. She has also helped put together a "wall of honor" in her work area for SDCOE employees who have served in the military.
She keeps busy outside of work too. She recently earned a bachelor's degree and is currently working on her master's. In September, she had a son, George Aidan.
On top of all of that, she has served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves for the last 17 years, and she has volunteered to speak to students about her experiences as a woman in the military.
"She is an inspiration to others and works hard for all of our students and youth in schools and in the community," said Barbara Rivas, a former SDCOE employee who worked with Hairston.
When Hairston started at SDCOE in 1996, she was only planning to be here for two weeks in a temporary job. That two weeks has turned into almost 19 years and counting. She said she really enjoyed the work and the ability to learn and keep challenging herself.
"Her genuine personality and work ethic make her a true gem," Delgado said.