Today, IUSD announced its five 2019 Classified Employees of the Year – Christian Gregor, Dayna Pace, Klara Saunders, Sue Natalizio and Joshua Razo. Classified employees include custodians, paraeducators, media technicians, food services staff members, analysts, secretaries, bus drivers, maintenance technicians, clerks, and all the other non-certificated staff members. Most are represented by the California School Employees Association (CSEA). This year’s five employees were selected from nearly 2,000 classified employees districtwide.
Similar to previous years, a caravan of District employees, including Superintendent Terry Walker, traveled to each winner’s site to surprise them in front of their families, colleagues and their school sites. For more photos of the announcements click here!
Christian Gregor – Special Education Instructional Assistant, Alderwood Elementary
The first stop was to Alderwood Elementary School to recognize Christian Gregor, Special Education Instructional Assistant. Christian’s colleagues stated that he is comparable to Superman because he is someone people can count on. Except, Christian does not magically appear to only “fix” the problems, instead he radiates perseverance, patience, and motivation by guiding others toward success. He is someone who advocates for equal access and opportunities for his students. Recently, he came across the challenges our students’ with visual impairments face when accessing the internet with their braille note takers and accessible computer for braille readers. Christian went out of his way to develop a website to help ease internet access for those students. He is committed to assisting students, staff and the community by dedicating time and support to lend a helping hand.
Dayna Pace – Campus Control Assistant, Rancho Middle School
Next, the District caravan traveled to Rancho San Joaquin Middle School to recognize Dayna Pace, Campus Control Assistant, as a 2019 Classified Employee of the Year. Her colleagues said, “Dayna is a perfect example of what a Campus Control Assistant should be. She makes Rancho, and IUSD, a better place because of her incredible work ethic, her ability to support ALL students, and her consistently positive outlook.” Dayna has a calm demeanor in tough situations and her intuitive skills are truly impressive. Dayna connects with the students, who need it most, and keeps up with them long after they leave Rancho. She is also a trusted, reliable and important resource for students.
Klara Saunders – Technician I-Media/Library, Stone Creek Elementary
The third stop to announce this year’s classified employees was Stone Creek Elementary School to honor Klara Saunders, Technician I-Media/Library. Klara is an innovative, collaborative, creative, flexible and joyful person who is adored by co-workers and students alike. Klara has worked with others at her site to put innovation in the hands of all students. She has helped to advance Stone Creek’s lunchtime activities and Innovation Lab program, which is a favorite place for so many students. She comes up with weekly innovation challenges and students are extremely excited to work with her and see what she has planned for them. Klara is always encouraging students to collaborate and that learning from mistakes can be a huge success. Her colleagues said, “She is definitely one of a kind and we couldn’t ask for anyone better.”
Sue Natalizio – Technician-Student Data, Irvine HS
The fourth stop was to Irvine High School to recognize Sue Natalizio, Technician, Student Data as a classified employee. Sue is a tremendous support to the counselors and staff at Irvine HS. She carefully analyzes transcripts to assist with student placement and college applications. She graciously assists others and helps to make registration events run smoothly. After Irvine HS tragically lost their swim and water polo coach a few years ago, she took it upon herself to organize the Scott Hinman Memorial Scholarship Fund. Each year, one graduate at Irvine HS is awarded a $1000 scholarship from this fund. Sue truly holds Irvine HS near and dear to her heart and they are thankful she is a member of their team.
Joshua Razo – Specialist-Elementary Resource Counseling, Eastwood/Turtle Rock
The Final stop of the day was to Eastwood Elementary School to honor Joshua Razo, Specialist-Elementary Resource Counseling, as the fifth 2019 Classified Employee of the Year. Josh, who serves both Eastwood and Turtle Rock elementary schools, demonstrates an amazing commitment to the students he works with. He is continuously switching activities throughout the day to better align with each student’s preference. His colleagues said, “When you walk by his office, he has a different activity out that makes the students feel comfortable and open up. You can often see him painting watercolors, making friendship bracelets or drawing maps with each of the students he supports.” Josh is responsible for helping students at Eastwood create a ‘kindness crew” that helps train upper grade students to be conflict managers and problem solvers during recess. He goes out of his way to make all students and staff feel included and important.
Congratulations again to each winner, who will receive a jacket and commemorative plaque courtesy of CSEA Chapter 517. They will also be honored at the May 28 IUSD Board Meeting.