Today, IUSD announced its five 2020 Classified Employees of the Year – Kristine Arebalo, Susan Cortez, Cheryl Deason, Spencer Hoover and Judith Salazar. 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.
KRISTINE AREBALO - Office Assistant
Kristine Arebalo is an Office Assistant at Woodbridge High School. She began her career in IUSD as a clerk in 2016. Kristine is extremely knowledgeable and a great team player. She is flexible and efficient, even under pressure. Kristine is always willing to learn what’s happening in other departments to help serve the Woodbridge students and community. Colleagues say, “We are all so grateful for Kristine and all her hard work. We would be lost without her!”
SUSAN CORTEZ - Media Technician
Media Technician Susan Cortez has worked at Deerfield Elementary since 2005 where she is described as an absolute super-hero. She exhibits a positive, professional, inspiring “can do” attitude and spirit of continuous improvement. Over the past five years she has taken initiative to do research on converting traditional computer labs into innovation spaces. Susan offered to work with a team of students through the Flock Together leadership program. Over time, Susan grew this crew of students to be one of the most popular volunteer units on campus. She has also applied and was granted for the IPSF 20 thousand Mega Grant allowing Deerfield to build and supply the new innovation lab. Staff comment that “Our students are having meaningful collaborative experiences thanks to Susan.”
CHERYL DEASON - Specialist in Software Application Support
Cheryl Deason is a Specialist in Software Application Support. She started her career with IUSD 19 years ago as an instructional assistant. It wasn’t long before Cheryl moved up to clerk and then to a specialist in the IT department. Cheryl is a wealth of knowledge, a ray of sunshine and always a pleasure to talk to. She responds in a timely and accurate manner. It is a high priority to her that her answers are understandable and appropriate. Other employees share that “they can’t say enough good things about her. She’s their go to for both information and a smile. She is the best!”
SPENCER HOOVER - Electrician
Spencer Hoover has been an electrician with Maintenance and Operations for a decade. He is extremely dependable and goes out of his way to get any job completed. Spencer’s attention to detail has been outstanding. He works with contractors, construction staff, the M&O team, and all the while is professional, confident and a pleasure to work with. Spencer has a “can do” attitude and understands the true value of being an IUSD employee and that his trade directly impacts the educational process. When asking others about Spencer they say “He is the best of the best at what he does!”
JUDITH SALAZAR - Behavior Interventionist
Judith Salazar has been a Behavior Interventionist at Eastwood Elementary since 2017. Judith is an extraordinary employee whose practice not only improves the community but inspires others to improve. She is open, patient, creative, inclusive and kind. Judith is able to determine how to motivate and engage with each of her students, while building a trusting relationship to reduce anxiety and unlock each student’s strengths. When the student becomes overwhelmed, she conveys a respect for the struggle with such grace and compassion. She is a respectful communicator and always accepts her need to make changes with a humility that illustrates courage of letting go to do better. She collaborates with the teachers and offers insights to others in a way that draws people together.
Congratulations again to each winner, who will receive a jacket and commemorative plaque courtesy of CSEA Chapter 517.