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🎉 Thank You Classified Staff!

🎉 Thank You Classified Staff!
Allison McGowan

Classified Employee Appreciation Week is a time to celebrate the people working in and for our schools to support and help educate every student, every day.

2024's theme, selected by the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), is "Classified are the Hidden Treasure Within Our Schools."

Who are classified staff? They are Educational Assistants (EA), Nutrition Services kitchen staff, bus drivers, administrative support staff, library managers, health aides, custodians, facilities and maintenance, technology staff and more. They work tirelessly to ensure that students are safe and cared for.

We invited the community to tell us about the classified staff that have made a difference in their students' lives. Here's what you had to say:

Malia Owens, Yolanda Elementary EA: "Malia is outgoing and pours her whole heart into our students as well as the Yolanda staff. She always has a warm smile and hug for anyone who needs it."

Lupe Oropeza Gomez, Hamlin Middle School EA: "Lupe interprets for Newcomers who are not proficient in English yet. She translates written material and teacher directions. Sometimes, in advance, but more often in the moment. She is a valuable educator in the classroom who guides students with positivity and clarity. Her students adore her and listen intently to her words. She impresses me everyday."

Lunch Team, Thurston Middle School: "This team makes my daughter feel comfortable to eat and come to lunch rather than skip it. We really appreciate their kindness and inclusiveness to make her feel safe and welcome in the cafeteria. She says they are all so nice and they make her day better."

Megan Winebrenner, Thurston Middle School EA: "Megan makes the kids happy and is so fun to be around. Her positive energy and good direction are extremely important to kids feeling happy and help them enjoy being at school. She is an amazing human and I appreciate her so much!"

Carla, Centennial Elementary EEP Transportation bus driver: "Carla is always welcoming, patient and kind with my George... Carla loves George and makes sure he is safe, comfortable, happy and ready to get to school safe! She communicates when early or late and is a team player!"

Heather Bonham, Danielle Ramey, Thurston Middle School Nutrition Services staff: "My daughter has to eat gluten-free, and every single day Danielle, Heather and the other lunch ladies make my daughter a special breakfast and a special lunch so that she can eat at school and not feel left out. They go above and beyond to make sure her health is cared for by providing, a delicious gluten-free meal."

Deb Jolda, Centennial Elementary Administrative Secretary: "Deb is always so friendly, professional, and caring. I couldn't imagine my kids' school without her!"

Cari Hill, Thurston Elementary Kindergarten EA: "Mrs. Hill is super sweet with the kids and always helpful. I love knowing my child has extra loving help in the classroom!"

Kathy Laird, Thurston Elementary Administrative Secretary: "Kathy is always helpful, quick to respond, and we know she knows all the things! Thankful for a seasoned school secretary to keep things running smoothly for parents and staff!"

Jim, Page Elementary Bus Driver: "Mr. Jim is such a friendly and supportive adult. He is kind, direct and supportive of a busload of rowdy elementary school kids. He greets us every morning with a smile and welcomes our daughter on the bus. He has helped her build comfort and skill as a kindergartener riding the bus for the first time. We really appreciate Mr. Jim!"

Tim, Thurston Middle School Custodian: "Mr. Tim is goofy and fun. My daughter and her friends enjoy working with him at TMS."

Sandee Hulse, Douglas Gardens EA: "My son has Ms. Sandee as a workshop teacher in kindergarten and he thinks she is nice. He loves that she gives the kids color spots to earn prizes."

Marie Morgan, Douglas Gardens Family Resource Coordinator: "She has a welcoming attitude, kindness and willingness to help."

Sabrina Chesnut, Library Manager and Donna Pineda, Behavior EA Ridgeview Elementary: "Donna and Sabrina go above and beyond to make our morning crosswalk safe and fun. Each day they have music and fun costumes and outfits that stop traffic in the best of ways. They help students safely get to school and make the first contact students have with a staff person each day a positive one."

Jenna Borrelli, Hamlin Middle School Bilingual EA: "Jenna works with newcomers in their 8th grade classes. She translates assignments and slideshows for them to understand the material being presente. [She also] interprets in the moment what the teacher is saying in class. She is kind, caring and supportive of anyone she works with."

Naomi Ramirez, Maple Elementary English Language Development (ELD) EA: "Naomi, a bilingual educational assistant, has been so supportive in helping the ELD groups succeed and the children meet their goals. I am so thankful to have her at MAPLE."

Martha Mateo Alonso and Mary Knight, Maple Elementary Nutrition Services: "They feed us delicious food and are very friendly."