On Thursday, April 3, the Santa Barbara County Board of Education announced their selections for County Classified Employees of the Year. Three employees from the Goleta Union School District where among those being honored. County Superintendent Bill Cirone commented on the qualifications that led to selection by the County Office of five employees based on district nominations. The five candidates being honored are: Tammy Hughes (Brandon School, GUSD), Jeremiah Johnson, (District Office, GUSD), Margaret Foehl (Food Services, GUSD), Rosa Cavaletto (SBUSD), and Rosa Valle-Rico (SBCEO). The nomination materials for these employees will now be advanced for consideration of State Classified Employee of the Year honors.
Read comments from the County Superintendent, about the GUSD employees:
Tammy Hughes was selected in the para-educator and instructional assistance category. As an inclusion aide at Brandon Elementary School in the Goleta Union School District for more than nine years, she is an instructional assistant who supports students with learning disabilities while they are fully included in general-education classrooms.
“We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and inspiring person to work alongside,” said Brandon Elementary Principal Felicia Roggero.
She and two teachers who nominated Ms. Hughes wrote about her admirable work ethic, dedication, talent, flexibility, and consistent efforts to go “beyond the call of duty.” For example, Ms. Roggero said, she often brings nutritious snacks for needy children “to make sure they have brain food to make it through lessons,” and has also provided them with backpacks, binders, and other supplies.
With a background in art, she frequently volunteers to make posters, banners, and other materials for school events, and has volunteered to help with Brandon’s after-school homework club for sixth-graders.
“At times, an exceptional instructional assistant in a general-education classroom becomes a role model of respect and encouragement for children who are learning to interact with classmates who have exceptional learning needs. Tammy Hughes exemplifies the essential and often humble work of this job,” said Goleta Superintendent William Banning.
Jeremiah Johnson, who was selected in the maintenance, operations, and facilities category, has been an information technology specialist for the Goleta Union School District for more than seven years.
Those nominating him praised his technical and communication skills, professionalism, leadership, kindness, and complete commitment to supporting teachers and students as they use technology that is essential for 21st-century education.
“Jeremiah is a resource for teachers and supports their innovative instructional dreams using a variety of technology,” said Assistant Superintendent Donna Madrigal. “Whether it is previewing an instructional app for a teacher, posting instructional videos, helping out with the after-school robotics class, or setting up Google accounts for students, Jeremiah goes the extra mile.”
Teacher and computer specialist Jim Pigato added, “I often joke that he is able to manipulate time, as the amount of work he gets done each day seems beyond what’s possible. … I’ve seen him answer the most bizarre and inane questions (sometimes from me) with patience and good humor.”
Pigato added, “Students know him by name, and Jeremiah is always happy to answer their questions about technology. … Under daily pressure that would drive most people to the brink, Jeremiah serves our school and our district with a work ethic and integrity that are beneficial beyond measure.”
Margaret Foehl, selected in the child nutrition category, attended Goleta schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and has worked for the Goleta Union School District for more than 25 years, including the past 23 years in the district’s central kitchen.
Her supervisor, Director Sharon Baird, said she “is extremely dedicated and talented, assisting her team in the preparation of over 2,200 healthy lunches, 700 nutritious breakfasts, and 340 tasty and wholesome snacks a day.”
“Margaret is a role model to all GUSD food service staff due to her excellent attendance, warm personality, strong work ethic, and her commitment to preparing and serving high-quality, healthy foods,” Ms. Baird added.
Personnel Specialist Bonnie Casey said Ms. Foehl “is grace under pressure,” and praised her “kindness, tolerance, generosity, positive outlook, and calm nature,” which all contribute to “the lively and pleasant work environment” in the central kitchen.
District Superintendent William Banning praised her “dedication to excellence” as well as her flexibility and leadership through 25 years of changes in food preparation. He also cited “her energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic, all for the children of our community.”