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West Sacramento News-Ledger

WUSD’s Top 14 Awarded

Apr 30, 2024 03:36PM ● By Angela Underwood

Paraeducator of the Year goes to Holly Valine, right, Stonegate School, pictured here with Superintendent Dr. Cheryl P. Hildreth. Courtesy photo


WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - And the Employees of the Year are…

The 2024 list of Washington Unified School District's (WUSD) 14 elite is out, and according to some of the accolades given, it's an awesome workforce, beginning with Paraeducator of the Year Holly Valine of Stonegate School.

"Holly goes above and beyond in building relationships with all students, staff, and families on our campus," Belinda Rabb-Patterson, principal of Stonegate School, said.

Custodial and Maintenance Service Employee of the Year goes to Marta Diaz. According to LaReisha Johnson, a Riverbank Elementary teacher who has worked with Diaz for more than a decade, the honor could not have gone to anyone better.

"Marta goes above and beyond the call of duty on a daily, if not hourly, basis," Johnson said. "Marta is a friend to students and staff, and she completes her work with a smile and is always ready to lend a helping hand in any activity."

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl P. Hildreth visited each employee, presenting them with flowers along with a certificate only given to the select few who met certain accolade requirements: excellence in service, innovation and creativity, collaboration and teamwork, and positive impact.

"It is my utmost pleasure to extend heartfelt congratulations to this year's Employee of the Year recipients," Hildreth said. "Your unwavering commitment to our students and dedication to excellence has not gone unnoticed." 

JoAnn Martinez walked away with Transportation Services of the Year as the best bus driver in Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation.

"She's always bringing the light and the love into the department," Angelina Valencia, transportation manager, said.

Anselmo Marin is the Secondary Teacher of the Year. This year, Marin gained serious respect for teaching science to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at Elkhorn Village.

"Mr. Marin's unrelenting commitment to his students and community is truly remarkable; he is an exceptional teacher who goes above and beyond to ensure the success of his students," Carmen Wright, a math teacher at Elkhorn Village, said. "His remarkable impact and exceptional contributions make him the ideal candidate for Secondary Teacher of the Year, an award he has earned and deserved."

Hildreth said each of the 14 recipients "embodies what makes WUSD truly exceptional."

Other district employees of the year include Sara Drewery for Clerical and Administrative as an administrative secretary in the district office; Elisa Brown for Health and Student Services as a health aide at Bridgeway Island, Stephanie Byard for Food and Nutrition Services as the managing cook at Westmore Oaks; Patrica Arauza for Security Services, as a campus aide at Westfield Village; Gabriel Mendoza for Skills Service; and Aaron Smart for Technology Services.  

Elisa Brown Cheryl P Hildreth Bridgeway Island

 Health and Student Services Health Aid of the Year Elisa Brown, left, Bridgeway Island, stands with Superintendent Dr. Cheryl P. Hildreth. Courtesy photo


Regarding additional instructors, Primary Teacher of the Year goes to Nicole Wilson, a second-grade teacher at Riverbank School, and Excellence in Education goes to Jose Guiterrez, principal at Elkhorn Village. Last but not least, Support Staff of the Year goes to Dannah Nielson, school social worker at Southport, and Volunteer of the Year to Irene Vera, parent volunteer at Elkhorn Village.

"I am immensely proud to have such outstanding individuals on our team," Hildreth said. "Thank you for your tireless efforts and invaluable contributions to the education and well-being of our students. Congratulations once again on this well-deserved recognition."

Cheryl P Hildreth Gabriel Mendoza

 Superintendent Dr. Cheryl P. Hildreth, left, smiles with Skills Services Employee of the Year Gabriel Mendoza, Equipment Mechanic, Maintenance, Operations and Transportation. Courtesy photo


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