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Class Acts - School Employees Honored
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Kim Leverett is an Administrative Assistant in the OJUSD office and was one of Oakdales nominees for the Employees Making A Difference award for classified school employees in Stanislaus County. She was then selected as a finalist to represent the county at the state level. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader


Kim Leverett and Annabeth Alcazar are “Employees Making a Difference” as voted on by their peers in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District.

The Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Stanislaus Charter honored 28 outstanding classified (non-supervisory) education employees representing 18 school districts in Stanislaus County through the Employees Making a Difference program at a special reception on Jan. 22 held at the Martin G. Petersen Event Center, Modesto.

Honorees were selected by each school district throughout the county and the nominations were forwarded to SCOE.

Leverett was then one of a group of five nominees selected at the reception who will go on to represent Stanislaus County in the state 2013 Classified School Employee of the Year Program. She is an Administrative Assistant in the OJUSD office and was nominated for the Employees Making a Difference program in the Office and Technical category by OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Kristi Rapinchuk. Leverett has been with OJUSD for 13 years and lives in Oakdale with her husband and children.

“I was pleasantly surprised. I just do my job,” Leverett said modestly of her nomination. “I am very happy I work for this district and I love working in Kristi’s (Rapinchuk) department.”

Alcazar is an English Language (EL) Program Instructional Aide at Sierra View Elementary School and was nominated for the Employees Making a Difference program in the Para Education/Instructional Assistant category by the school’s Principal David Kindred.

“I am honored to have been nominated and selected to receive this recognition,” Alcazar said. “I greatly enjoy working with children and their families. It gives me a great satisfaction to know that I am making a difference and helping at the same time.”

Leverett’s nomination letter by Rapinchuk included statements about her “ ‘can do’ attitude” as well as her “willingness to take on challenges” and “delight in learning new skills.”

Alcazar’s nomination letter by Kindred included statements about how she does her job “with compassion and conviction” and that she also has a “confident, competent, and friendly manner that is very reassuring to the students and parents.”

Rapinchuk stated in her letter that Leverett volunteered to coordinate the district’s Drugstore anti-drug event that required fundraising and coordinating about 100 volunteers including students, parents, district staff, and local service organizations. She also volunteers to cross-train with her colleagues and was involved with the development and administration of the fee-based component of after school programs. She is also active in community service, doing fundraising for various community needs and coordinating needy students with community volunteers for a Christmas season shopping event.

Kindred stated in his letter that Alcazar is professional and a highly regarded member of the team. He further wrote that her expertise in providing translation services is invaluable in helping EL families feel more connected to the school, and that she also provides them with her personal phone number for questions or concerns. Alcazar assists in a reading program, Transitional Kindergarten, individual and group assistance in second through sixth grades, as well as clerical and interpretation duties – and she does it all with a smile. Further, she is pursuing her master’s degree by taking night classes to become a school psychologist, while also being a wife and mother of four.

Alcazar said she couldn’t have chosen a better career. She plans to work in the educational system throughout her life and to positively impact the lives of many.

Kari Jaylynn Blagg, who works at Waterford Early Childhood Education in the Waterford Unified School District, was also nominated as an “Employee Making a Difference,” as was Vickie Rocha, who is a Para-Educator for severely handicapped students at Waterford High School through SCOE.

For the California School Employee of the Year program, coordinated by the California Department of Education (CDE), the four other nominees selected for the state program along with Leverett were Sharon De Greek, Ceres Unified School District, Child Nutrition category; Karen Souza, Turlock Unified School District, Para-Educator category; Reggie Valenzuela, Empire Union School District, Maintenance/Operations category; and Brian Chandler, Ceres Unified School District, Support/Security Services category.

California Classified Employees of the Year will be announced by the CDE during Classified School Employees Week in May.

It was also announced at the reception that Vickie Rocha, who works at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, is the first recipient of the Jane Johnston Civility Award for exemplifying the principles of civility at her school site.