Here are Riverside County’s 7 top educators for 2019 – Press-Enterprise

More than 36,000 people work in Riverside County public schools, from campus cafeterias to principal’s offices.

But, this year, these seven people have been cited as the best.

They’ve been nominated by their peers, weathered a long application process and now have been named the 2019 Riverside County Educators of the Year.

The winners will be saluted at the May 7 Celebrating Educators Luncheon at the Riverside Convention Center, along with the 2019 Riverside County Teachers of the Year, who’ve already been named.

Each employee got word of their award when — to their surprise — Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Judy White and others showed up at their workplace in recent weeks with the good news.

“These seven outstanding professionals represent the best and brightest in the field of education,” White said in a Riverside County Office of Education news release.

Here’s a closer look at the 2019 winners.

Name: Ronald Nelson

Award: Classified Employee of the Year

Title: Campus security officer at Murrieta Valley High School, Murrieta Valley Unified School District

Details: Nelson, who’s worked at the school seven years, helped created a quarterly awards breakfast, Campus Influencers, to recognize students with good citizenship.

Quote: “He goes above and beyond, always helping others with a kind and gentle spirit,” Principal Mark Pettengill said in statement.

Name: Lisa Pynn

Award: School Counselor of the Year

Title: Counselor at Alvord Continuation High School, Alvord Unified School District

Details: Pynn, who has worked at the school 10 years, has written many successful grants for the district and created a program for at-risk girls aimed at addressing teen pregnancy, girl-on-girl violence and instances of social media disrupting learning on campus.

Quote: “My teaching philosophy and feeling of social responsibility toward my students has been molded by the model set by Lisa Pynn,” Alvord High teacher Natasha Kohls said in a statement.

Name: Catherine Belcher

Award: Confidential Employee of the Year

Title: Administrative assistant, student programs and services at the Riverside County Office of Education.

Details: Belcher, who’s been in her post for three years, has worked with others to help bring new ideas to lower chronic absenteeism in the county. She also arranged to get new shoes donated to more than 500 students.

Quote: “Catherine is willing to do whatever it takes to create and ensure a culture where people thrive,” Associate Superintendent Diana Walsh-Reuss said in statement.

Name: Dawnyelle DeLongchamp

Award: Site Support Employee of the Year

Title: District psychologist, based at El Potrero Preschool in Moreno Valley, Val Verde Unified School District

Details: DeLongchamp, who has been in the post five years, helped create Val Verde’s preschool assessment team, raised awareness of mental health issues and fought the stigma of special education.

Quote: “Her leadership is vital in collaborating with community agencies, families, and district staff,” Jeff Janis, Val Verde’s director of special education, said in statement.

Name: Colleen Flavin

Award: Principal of the Year

Title: Principal, Cawston Elementary School, Hemet Unified School District

Details: Flavin, who’s been at Cawston for six years, has teams of staff members visit each other’s classrooms and works to get many involved with improving education on campus.

Quote: “She is always looking for new ways in which she and her staff can help their students, even though it may take extra time and effort on her part,” Superintendent Christi Barrett said in statement.

Name: Sharon A. Raffiee

Award: Certificated Administrator of the Year

Title: Executive director, personnel services, San Jacinto Unified School District

Details: Raffiee, who has worked at the district office for six years, sits in on every interview with a potential new employee. The New Teacher Academy, which aims to support and retain new teachers, was developed under her leadership.

Quote: “She puts the needs of our students first and is an equity champion … During tough times, her character shines,” Superintendent Diane Perez said in statement.


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