Loma Ridge Elementary School
“I feel lucky to work with an incredible team who supports me in so many ways. … Working with students and a supportive staff makes work something I always look forward to.”
Library/media technician Francheska Anderson has positively affected the growth of hundreds of students during her tenure with the Irvine Unified School District. Anderson was hired in August of 2015 to serve as the library/media tech at a former school. Within two years, the computer lab was transformed into an innovation lab and Anderson had implemented the use of multiple highly engaging and challenging STEAM learning tools with students. From coding robotics to stop-motion video and more, she had sourced the materials, aligned them to standards and learned how to teach students to use the different tools and devices. Twenty-first century learning skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration came to life in students. Students participated in lunchtime lab thanks to Anderson’s efforts. IUSD colleagues visited and were enthusiastic after talking with Anderson and observing her work with students. Anderson came to open the brand-new school, Loma Ridge, in August of 2019 and has partnered with the team to create another incredible hub of STEAM and literacy learning.
Servite High School
“The past 10 years working at Servite have been a blessing and I consider myself lucky to work with a community of people who love and support one another so deeply.”
If there is a Servite High School game or competition, you will certainly see Karlie Carlson on the sidelines. As the Sports Information manager at Servite, an all-boys Catholic high school in Anaheim, Carlson is responsible for the communications for 13 CIF sports, as well as a variety of clubs and campus organizations. She Tweets, she posts, she writes, she updates websites, she produces collateral, she takes photos, she works after-hours — she does everything she possibly can to support the athletic program and the school’s mission to form faith-filled leaders. She cares deeply about the students and gives generously of her time and talents to help them on their journey to college, career and professional sports. She works tirelessly to provide exposure for all of the athletes and patiently teaches them how to handle media interviews so that everyone has their moment to shine. Carlson is a natural educator who makes every decision based on what is best for the student-athletes who thrive under her mentorship and direction.
Vibrant Minds Charter School
“Any recognition I receive on an individual level highlights the support I have from some of the most amazing people who also work tirelessly to do their best for our families.”
Kla Cook serves as the coordinator of after-school programming and technology for Vibrant Minds Charter School. However, her support of the school extends beyond her official role. She is willing to do anything that helps scholars thrive, and she is greatly appreciated for her selfless can-do attitude, especially during the pandemic. Cook wears many different hats, and she jokes that there is not enough time to change hats. As a founding staff member and parent, Cook is an integral part of why VMCS is successful. During distance learning, Cook was able to prepare all Chromebooks and hotspots in addition to assisting with the purchasing and distribution of other instructional supplies for the school within days of the mandated closure. She also singlehandedly assisted scholars, parents and staff by creating a call center for all connectivity/technology issues. In addition to being the resident IT support, Cook spends the majority of her time as the head of the after-school program.
Red Hill Lutheran School
“I love my job and I love what I do, but most of all I love God and every day I strive to be the best I can be and to do my best serving the students, families and staff.”
For the past 16 years, you could usually find School Registrar Maggie Radmacher quietly working in her office, keeping the student records in order. While this is her primary responsibility, she doesn’t stop there. She goes above and beyond to humbly serve others, without ever expecting anything in return. Radmacher singlehandedly manages the student information system, oversees student schedules and rosters students for testing. No matter how complicated the system, she will figure it out. She even went out-of-state to New Orleans and Chicago for advanced system training, so she can know all the ins-and-outs to best serve teachers and school families. If there’s ever a staffing shortage, Radmacher is there to support the accounting department, cover the phones, or do crosswalk duty. She will drop anything to help someone in need. Radmacher also helps as a translator for parents and teachers who need language assistance. On top of that, she is an IT person extraordinaire.
Tustin High School
“It is truly a blessing to receive such a title like this. But I must admit, it is a team effort. I certainly could not have met this accomplishment without my fellow colleagues.”
Head Custodian Art Rodriguez has only been at Tustin High School for a few years, but he is a seasoned veteran of Maintenance and Operation in Tustin Unified School District. He has worked his way up, showing that he is not only highly responsible and dependable, but also a capable leader. He leads his team with a positive, can-do attitude that permeates the whole school. There is no task too small for him and he is willing to take on the biggest projects for the sake of the students and their high school experience. He goes out of his way to support teachers, staff and administration in order to make them more successful. This past year, Tustin High School celebrated 100 years, and there were multiple events hosted honoring the Centennial. Rodriguez led his team to get the campus in the best condition for outside visitors, and then worked diligently with his team to keep it that way.
Fairmont Private Schools, Historic Anaheim Campus
“It feels great to be nominated. I do not like being in the spotlight, so to speak, so it feels great that people recognize you are doing great work.”
Multitasker really doesn’t do enough to capture Activities Director Karen Saturday’s unique skillset. From greeting every student at morning drop-off to planning campus events, running summer and winter camps, coordinating field trips and a million other things, Saturday happily and expertly fills every role that comes her way. Saturday is able to anticipate the needs of the school community and is always ready with a well organized and thoughtful plan. She is the maestro behind the spelling bees, honor roll assemblies, graduation ceremonies and special events. Beyond her school-year duties, Saturday is also the “woman behind the magic” of the summer camp program. In summer camp, every day is an adventure with games, activities, new experiences, new friends and life-long memories. Parents and students are genuinely appreciative of her dedication, assistance and support with clear communication and great follow-through. No matter what comes her way, Saturday either knows the answer or is quick to find out. In each role that Saturday fills, she is enthusiastic, hard-working and committed.
Fairmont Private Schools
“As a therapist, I am given a gift every day when families allow me to counsel their children as they are learning to grow socially, emotionally and intellectually. Working beside extremely talented and incredibly smart colleagues, I feel supported and challenged to do my very best every day. Fairmont Private Schools encourages me to be creative and always look to push myself and enhance my skills as a clinician.”
School Counselor Jill Thomas has worked for Fairmont Private Schools for almost 20 years. Her level of compassion, skill and expertise make her one of the very best school counselors around. Thomas is the school counselor for all five of the Fairmont campuses from preschool through 12th grade. Thomas is an abundance of knowledge and readily shares this in classroom presentations for students of all ages, with parents through Zoom and in person, and with faculty and staff for professional development. She is always searching for ways to build tools and resources with social-emotional learning, anti-bullying, positive body image, anxiety and depression, and so much more. Thomas has handled some of the most delicate student and parent situations, as well as personal conflicts between staff members, expertly.
San Joaquin Elementary School
“This nomination means a lot to me. The recognition I have received from the teachers and staff at San Joaquin Elementary makes me feel honored. I love doing what I do as a playground assistant.”
Melva Ventura is a playground assistant with a passion for bringing a smile to students. Typically, a playground assistant’s main responsibility is to provide supervision for students in the lunch area and at recess, but Ventura takes her role to a whole new level. She organizes all types of tournaments to keep students interested and enthusiastic about recess game play and positive sportsmanship. During the soccer tournaments she organizes, she makes sure students understand they need to follow the rules, play fair and try their best during friendly competition. These tournaments sometimes last an entire week and come complete with championship brackets and second chance rounds for teams that need extra support. Students truly look forward to these opportunities “Coach Melva” provides. In addition to all the things she does above and beyond as a playground assistant, she also volunteers her time to help post positive messages and information on the marquee and serves as a mentor to other members on staff.
Fairmont Preparatory Academy
“I am grateful that I get to work with some amazing colleagues who share the same vision and that, together, we have the opportunity to impact young people during a transformational part of their lives.”
As director of College Counseling, Justin Voss oversees the counseling program at two campuses. He also serves as Academic and College counselor for students in the Advanced Science & Engineering, International Business and International Baccalaureate Programs. Voss leads the school’s social media presence, and is a class advisor for the Associated Student Body. As an academic and college counselor to the students in his advanced program caseload, Voss’s experience from the other side of the college admission desk has been an asset as he assists his students. He offers sage advice and guidance from both the high school and college admission viewpoints. His college counseling skills and his ability to really get to know his students have allowed Voss to help match his students with the best colleges and universities for their needs. His dry and witty sense of humor is appreciated and his creative side is often on display, most notably in talent shows where he has performed well-known pop musical pieces.
By Jessica Peralta, Madison Amirehteshami and Jeseny Escobar