Congratulations to David Oliva, bus transportation aide in the Poway Unified School District, who is this year's San Diego County Classified School Employee of the Year.
We celebrate Oliva and all school support staff as we recognize Classified School Employee Week from May 17 to 23.
The San Diego County Office of Education runs the countywide Classified School Employee of the Year program to recognize the work that these vital employees do to ensure students have what they need and deserve to succeed.
"David and all his fellow nominees work tirelessly on behalf of San Diego County's children," said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. "They truly are the hidden heroes of education, playing key roles in the day-to-day functions of schools and districts."
There were 20 classified school employees nominated by their districts for the countywide honor. See the full list below.
Oliva rose to the top because he is a quintessential leader and consummate team player, said Maria Arroyo, a behavior specialist who was on the selection committee and honored as a statewide Classified Employee of the Year in 2019.
"He is a humble person who betters himself and his community out of the goodness of his heart, no strings attached, and with no desire for admiration," Arroyo said.
Oliva supports the bus drivers and the students in Poway Unified, helping students with special needs, providing learning tools to keep students engaged, and turning buses into virtual classrooms.
"David has an incredible amount of love for his students, his coworkers, and his work," said Andrew Baldwin, a technology centers support analyst at the San Diego County Office of Education who was also on the selection committee. "He is selflessly passionate about providing a warm, fun, safe environment through his School Bus Karaoke, bus birthday parties, EMT training, and so much more."
In his letter of recommendation, Transportation Director Timothy Purvis wrote: "David is astute in quickly identifying the mood and interest of the students, allowing him to quickly alter or change strategies on the bus to ensure a safe and successful ride to school or home. His students are in a learning environment before they get to school each morning and after they leave the classroom riding home each day."
The countywide Classified School Employee of the Year program recognizes employees in the following categories: child nutrition; maintenance, operations, and facilities; office and technical; para-educator and instructional assistance; support services and security; and transportation. A nomination committee made up of classified employees from throughout the county selects the winner.
Oliva now moves on to the state-level program for possible recognition by the California Department of Education.
Congratulations to all the district employees of the year who were nominated for the county level. They are listed below.
- Kerry Kenna, Fuerte Elementary School, Cajon Valley Union School District, Special Education Classroom Assistant
- Kevin Simonds, Carlsbad High School, Carlsbad Unified School District, ASB Accounting Technician
- Martha Sagrero, Liberty School, Chula Vista Elementary School District, Noon Duty Supervisor
- Susan Harris, Coronado High School, Coronado Unified School District, Instructional Assistant
- Margaret Mendenhall, Del Mar Union School District, Payroll/Benefits Supervisor
- Joshua Dreazy, Encinitas Union School District, Information Systems Technician
- Loretta Long, Bear Valley Middle School, Escondido Union School District, School Office Manager
- Cynthia Decker, Valhalla High School, Grossmont Union High School District, School Finance Technician
- Mary Lincoln-Johnson, Steam Academy @ La Presa, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, Paraprofessional - Special Education
- Martha Ortega, Palmer Way School, National School District, Office Technician
- Amy O'Neill, North Terrace Elementary School, Oceanside Unified School District, Health Clerk
- Kathy Funk, Montecito High School, Ramona Unified School District, Secretary III
- Nikkie Bryant, San Diego County Office of Education, Program Secretary
- Cindy Skeber, San Dieguito Union High School District, Executive Assistant
- Whitney McCoy, Carrillo Elementary School, San Marcos Unified School District, Library Media Technician I
- Yolanda Olszewski, Vista Del Mar Middle School, San Ysidro School District, Campus Aide
- Susan Beale, Rio Seco School, Santee School District, Food Service Worker 1-A
- Gladys "Carla" Hammonds, Montgomery Middle School, Sweetwater Union High School District, Registrar
- Diane Faber, Valley Center Pauma Unified School District, Accounting Specialist