Board Support & Communications Specialist
(408) 635-2600, ext. 6031
Superintendent Cheryl Jordan, Board Members, Principals, and managers throughout Milpitas Unified celebrated the contributions that classified school employees provide every day to ensure the quality education of more than 10,000 students throughout the school district.
The recognition began with a resolution, adopted by the Board of Education during its meeting on May 9, declaring the week of May 21-27, 2017 as Classified School Employee Week in Milpitas Unified School District.
“The classified school employees of (the District) provide efficient and effective support and ancillary services that are essential ingredients to excellent teaching, sound administration, and high student achievement,” the resolution states.
To wrap up the weeklong celebration, 14 administrators were matched with a classified employee who they shadowed for two hours on May 26 at various school sites and departments during Appreciating Classified Employees (ACE) Day.
That morning, Board President Daniel Bobay joined Latino Liaison Norma Morales in visiting the homes of families from throughout the district and giving students awards while Wendy Zhang, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, was raking leaves and helping clean the grounds of Milpitas High School alongside Steve Gomes; Venus Cenizal, Coordinator of Learning and Development, donned a lunch lady hairnet to join Peter Neddersen in Student Nutrition Services’ Central Kitchen; and Spangler Assistant Principal Katelin McClure paired with locksmith Cindy Winborn, among others.
“This is a great way to end the week that is set aside to appreciate the work that classified employees do throughout the year, 24 hours a day,” Machelle Kessinger, president of Classified School Employees Association Chapter 281, said during an end-of-day taco fiesta. During the event, employees came together to hear what it was like for participants to step into the shoes of classified employees, if even for just a brief time.
Dr. Sheila Murphy-Brewer, Executive Director of Human Relations, shared out her experience joining Dispatcher/Bus Driver Russ Huber 6:30 a.m. at the bus depot to get a start on that morning’s routine with the daily safety check followed by that day’s route.
The highlight, she said, was really watching how the bus drivers “learn the personality of each student that hops on the bus.” Murphy-Brewer added this was particularly impressive because many of the students Huber drives are non-verbal or have challenges communicating.
“Russ never missed a beat.,” she said. “He understood every word out of every child’s mouth and they never stopped asking him questions. … It was heartwarming.”
Superintendent Jordan noted that in following Anastacio Barajas, a custodian at Rancho Milpitas Middle School, she really began to understand his deep connection with the students. He not only knows the students’ names, but mentors the children and is even a part of the Latino Student Union.
“Our classified staff truly are everyday heroes, and I witnessed that with the person I shadowed today,” she said. “...It was very good to spend my time with him. And I really am grateful that we have this in place because it builds connections with us and helps us walk in your shoes so we get a better idea of how you support our school district.”