At a meeting of the Santa Barbara County Board of Education on April 4, 2013, County Superintendent Bill Cirone announced the selection of two GUSD employees as 2013 Santa Barbara County’s Classified Employees of the Year.
Richard Chavez, custodian at La Patera School and Cynthia Olsen, Accountant at the District Office were selected from a pool of nominees submitted from throughout Santa Barbara County. Nomination materials submitted to the County Office on behalf of the two employees will now be forwarded to the California Department of Education for consideration of selection in the State Classified Employee of the Year program.
In her nomination papers for Richard Chavez, La Patera School Principal, Patricia Santiago said, “Richard has an incredible work ethic. He is reliable and responsible. He foresees potential problems and works to resolve issues before they happen. He goes above and beyond in all that he does. He comes in on the weekends to check the site to make sure that the night custodians have done a good job, to check for vandalism or trespassers on campus or to blow down the campus when he hasn’t had time during the week to do that. He takes a great deal of pride in what he does and accepts only the best from himself. I have never worked on a school campus that was so well maintained. I have heard accolades from not only teachers and staff, but parents as well. Richard has a positive attitude and is always willing to help out wherever he is needed. He is a valued member of the La Patera school community.
Richard’s colleagues added:
“Richard does an outstanding job at La Patera school. He is one of [the district’s] best custodians – it’s not often that a custodian is viewed the way he is. It’s great not only for him but the school to have someone like him working there.”
“I have worked with Richard and agree that he is one of the hardest working custodians I have ever worked with. He is thorough and thinks ahead.”
“Helpful custodians can really ease the load for teachers and principals.
Richard, works very hard to take care of his site and takes total ownership of his duties. Excellent employees like Richard always works above and beyond their duties.”
Assistant Superintendent, Ralph Pachter, noted about Cynthia Olsen, that “nominating Cindy takes little explanation for anyone who has worked in our office for any length of time. In a sense, this nomination is really a Cecil B. Demille Award, a sort of lifetime achievement for sustained excellence over many years. She exemplifies focused effort, always meeting deadlines and prioritizing her time to ensure that critical business functions operate smoothly. This extends many questions from site staffs and supporting other Fiscal Services staff members. Cindy retains an easy grace in this effort, and is always cheerful, helpful and retains crucial institutional memory.
“For the 25 years Cindy has worked here, she has lived 50 miles away. She commits an hour or two of commute time daily just to work at GUSD. Over the years she has had opportunities to work elsewhere, but a sense of loyalty and commitment has kept her coming back! Accounting people are quiet facilitators, not drum majorettes. She does all we ask of her and more. Without a doubt, Cindy is one of the most beloved employees in the District. Her care and empathy for all employees, and daily public interaction, speak to her commitment. Cindy has shown great patience and leadership by helping to train, cross-train, and retrain numerous employees. She has been crucial to our department’s ability to sustain a high level of performance despite staff absences from illness or vacation.
“Recognizing Cindy as Classified Office EOY is easy. She is an outstanding employee, and has just completed an excellent year of continued success in quality financial control and extending her kindness, humor and assistance to all who ask. Most highly recommended.”
Cindy’s colleagues added:
“Cindy embodies both excellence and humility. She is extremely knowledgable and adds to that the ability to communicate the necessary information in a clear manner. I highly support her selection as Classified Employee of the Year.”
“I understand that this is not a recognition of length of service, etc., but financial management offers few opportunities each year to stand out. Cindy performs at exemplary level all the time. Highly deserving.”
“Cindy has a huge impact, from behind the scenes. She actively supports every school site as well as all District Office in her position. Her knowledge and her approachability can not be understated.”
“Cindy continues to amaze me with her ongoing patience and willingness to assist when needed. She is detailed in helping explain procedures and answer questions in a caring manner, even when I’m sure she is asked the same question by numerous people (or maybe the same person.”
“When I started in the district she explained to me how things worked and is always the first to say hello and smile when you walk into the district office, a wonderful lady.
She is a commensurate professional and always willing to answer any question you may have at any time.”