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Superintendent Austin Beutner Recognizes All Classified Employees, Honors Six as Classified Employees of the Year (5-11-2021)




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Superintendent Austin Beutner Recognizes All Classified Employees, Honors Six as Classified Employees of the Year

Board of Education Declares May 16-22 as Classified School Employees Week

LOS ANGELES (May 11, 2021) – The Board of Education and Superintendent Austin Beutner today recognized the 34,000 Classified employees in Los Angeles Unified for their service and commitment to the school community. Superintendent Beutner also honored six Classified Employees of the Year for their extraordinary work during the pandemic.

“I want to thank all of our more than 34,000 colleagues who help provide a safe and welcoming learning environment and help serve the needs of our more than 500,000 students and their families each and every day,” Superintendent Beutner said. “The work of these 34,000 people has never been more important than during this past year – a time of sacrifice and determination, pain and suffering, mixed with moments of hope and optimism, sometimes all in the same day.

“Because so many of our colleagues have gone above and beyond the call of duty this year, I’ve selected six Classified Employees of the Year who exemplify the passion and commitment to students and families found every day in each of our schools and support offices,” he said.

The six Employees of the Year are:

  • Irlanda Gaona Amaya, a Light Bus Driver who provided support at Holmes Avenue Elementary for school families to ensure students were able to connect to their online classrooms. 
  • Felipe Arellano, the School Administrative Assistant at Bravo Medical Magnet High School, who visited homes to provide computers and internet access and to check-in on students and staff who were struggling with COVID.
  • Leticia De Leon, a Food Services Manager who supervised more than 20 staff members at the Dana Middle School Grab and Go Food Center, which served 2,000 meals a day to the community.
  • Marlene Diaz, a Special Education Assistant at Nimitz Middle School, who volunteered at the South Gate High School Grab and Go Food Center and helped serve 7,000 meals per day to the community.
  • Andrew Salvador, the Plant Manager at Cortines Visual and Performing Arts High School, who transformed the campus – top to bottom – in preparation for the school’s reopening.
  • Erik Vazquez, an Assistant Buyer, who supported operations at the SoFi Stadium vaccination site to help all who work in schools get vaccinated.

The work of the six Employees of the Year was highlighted in a video broadcast during today’s Board of Education meeting.

The Board also unanimously approved a resolution declaring May 16-22 as Classified School Employee Week to celebrate employees’ hard work and unwavering dedication to Los Angeles Unified students, families, and schools and the invaluable contributions they make to our educational community.

“It is always a privilege for me to celebrate our Classified school employees, but particularly over this past year when they have gone above and beyond to support our students and families,” said Board President Kelly Gonez, who sponsored the resolution, and was co-sponsored by the remaining board members. “Many of our Classified employees reported every day, in-person, throughout the entire pandemic, feeding families and cleaning schools. Today, they are hard at work at our school sites playing a critical role in the success of our reopening efforts. We greatly appreciate your commitment to our students and our District during a difficult year.”  

“I want to thank all of our classified employees,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Without you, our children can’t learn, and our teachers can’t teach. No one gets fed, or gets a ride to school, or during this time of COVID-19, enters a clean, safe, sanitized building without you. A special congratulations to the Classified Employees of the Year. In my view, all classified employees are special.” 

“Our classified staff have been working tirelessly to provide a safety net for our students and families,” Board Member Mónica García said. “We honor them and acknowledge their crucial role in educating our children and reaching 100 percent graduation.”

“Congratulations to the Classified Employees of the Year,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerleson said. “Your behind the scenes work matters and positively impacts the lives of many students and families. The exemplary work you perform on a daily basis will always contribute to the success of our Los Angeles Unified schools. I applaud Ms. Gonez for introducing this resolution. There is nothing better than to celebrate our classified staff who have worked tirelessly in the reopening efforts.”

“We are incredibly grateful to all our classified employees who went above and beyond their normal duties and schedules to meet the needs of our families and school communities during this crisis,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “Thank you for your continued essential work as we chart a path to recovery for our kids.”

“We are so thankful for our Los Angeles Unified employees who are dedicated to caring for our children and keeping them safe,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “Adults on campuses are so important beyond their job titles for their kindness, compassion, and concern for our students.”

“Our classified employees play a significant role in the holistic success of our scholars both inside and outside the classroom,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “Thank you for your unwavering commitment to our students, families and communities, especially during these challenging times. Your dedication, compassion and leadership are an example to us all, and we look forward to celebrating all your hard work during Classified School Employee Week.”