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2013 Classified Employees of the Year
Five CSEA members recognized in state honors


Five CSEA members were named as 2013 Classified School Employees of the Year in recognition of their exceptional efforts toward school operations and student success.

This year’s winners are: Javier Marquez of Redondo Beach Chapter 57, Amber Dimas of Escalon Chapter 345, Julie Roe Smith of Corona Norco Chapter 369, Celia Raygoza of Washington Township Chapter 61, and Sandra Dyson of Muroc Chapter 340.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson formally honored the winners in May at a luncheon in Sacramento. He said they are shining examples of what classified employees do for public education.

"The caliber and commitment of these employees are remarkable. They are not only dedicated and motivated workers, but sources of inspiration to students and faculty alike," Torlakson said. "They drive students to school, feed them nutritious meals, keep their spirits up, help with coursework, reach out to parents, maintain a pristine campus, and demonstrate the kind of positive attitude that produces positive results."

The annual California Department of Education program recognizes six outstanding classified school employees, each representing one of the following categories: child nutrition; maintenance, operations, and facilities; office and technical support; paraeducator and instructional assistance; support services and security; and transportation.

The 2013 Classified School Employees of the Year are:


  Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities
Javier Marquez, Custodian I
Washington Elementary School, Redondo Beach Unified School District, Redondo Beach

he job title of custodian doesn't even come close to describing the impact Javier Marquez has on a typical day. He's more like a custodian/counselor/security officer/green team coordinator—the list is endless. Everywhere you look, there are signs of the care and commitment Marquez has for his job. He completes his custodial assignments with ease and uses a variety of methods, materials, tools, and equipment to complete his daily tasks. And above all else, Marquez is committed to creating the best possible learning environment for students.

    Office and Technical Support
Amber Dimas, School Site Secretary II
El Portal Middle School, Escalon Unified School District, Escalon

Amber Dimas’ work performance is outstanding. The volume of paperwork and electronic files that pass through her office is staggering. Somehow, she completes all tasks and keeps all this information organized in a manner that is always readily available. Dimas cares deeply for both the staff and the students of El Portal. She demonstrates this daily through her interactions with each of these groups. However, Dimas makes the needs of the students her number-one priority. She plays so many roles to so many different students—a friend to some, a mother to others. Her work ethic and skill make her a tremendous asset to school administration.
    Para Educator and Instructional Assistance
Julie Roe Smith, Instructional Assistant
Orange Grove High School, Corona-Norco Unified School District, Coron

Julie Roe Smith is an instructional aide for at-risk special education students at the continuation high school. Smith’s students look to her as mentor, teacher, cheerleader, cop and mom. She is tireless. Her job goes far beyond the traditional description of an instructional aide. She calls parents on a daily basis and develops strong and productive relationships with them. There is no task she will not volunteer to take on, her work is exact and excellent, and her energy and passion are infectious. Smith leads by example. She challenges her students to rise to her level by speaking, dressing, and acting professionally. She understands that the difficulties they face can be debilitating, but through her example, they learn perseverance. They learn that they are valuable human beings who need to keep trying.
    Support Services and Security
Celia Raygoza, Recruiter and Student Advocate for the district's Migrant Education Program
New Haven Unified School District, Union City

Celia Raygoza’s dedication and commitment to education is inspiring. She takes the time to not only encourage students to excel academically, but she also inspires parents to take a proactive approach in their children's academic lives. Raygoza locates and recruits qualifying migrant families for the district. She monitors the academic, health, and social progress of the approximately 100 students assigned to her and co-runs an after-school tutoring program for migrant students. Both students and their parents look to Raygoza as the “matriarch” of the program. She is tough with them about doing their best work in school, attending regularly, and behaving. If a child is not being successful, she is in touch with the parent regarding their role in resolving the problem. And she's also inspired parents to inspire their own children by making a commitment to their own education.  
Sandra Dyson, Bus Driver
Muroc Joint Unified School District, Boron

Sandra Dyson has demonstrated superior job performance every year. She takes her job very seriously and, without a doubt, makes every child feel important and loved by the way she attends to their needs and concerns. Dyson is a consummate professional. She is dependable, kind, helpful, and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job accomplished. Dyson does an amazing job of organizing her time to meet the many demands. When students are on the bus, she provides a safe and fun environment. She knows the name of each student as they enter the bus, and they absolutely adore her. Dyson lives what she expects from students. Students are respectful toward her because they appreciate her and all that she does for them.


Each of the awardees underwent a county and state review process. At the state level, applications were reviewed by a team of job category experts, including at least one member representing local educational agency administration, one member representing employee groups, and one member provided by the California Department of Education who reviewed the candidates on the basis of at least five years of service in their nomination category. The candidate evaluation was organized around four themes: work performance, school/community involvement, leadership and commitment, and service above and beyond.