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The San Benito County Office of Education honored its Classified and Certificated Employees of the Year in an online ceremony May 26.

This year’s awards were particularly well deserved as the awardees overcame unprecedented challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift to distance learning, according to those who spoke at the ceremony.

Before County Office of Education Krystal Lomanto named each of the award recipients and read a brief description of the work they have done over the past year, various elected officials from the county and region gave comments congratulating and thanking the educators.

“Thanks to you, our schools were organized, clean and safe, and most importantly, available to provide education services to our youth during this unprecedented time,” State Sen. Anna Caballero said in a video recorded statement. “You will have a positive impact on students for years to come and it is much appreciated.”

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez also thanked the employees of the year in a recorded message. “You guys make our community great by doing the work that you do,” Velazquez said.

The county’s employees of the year awards “recognize certificated and classified staff who challenge, motivate and inspire students, and/or provide valuable services to schools or students of our community,” County Board of Education President Reb Monaco said at the beginning of the online ceremony.

The 2020-21 Classified Employees of the Year are: Thalia Bozarth, Aromas-San Juan School District; Elva Aguirre, Aromas School; Felipe Davila, Sr., Anzar High School; Christina Juarez, San Juan School; Jackie Munoz, Calaveras Elementary/Accelerated Achievement Academy; Felipe Mercado, Cerra Vista School; Susan Jones, Cienega School; Cindy Brown, Gabilan Hills; Lisa Ranzoni, Hollister Dual Language Academy; Maria Orozco, Ladd Lane School; Darlene Abodaca, Marguerite Maze Middle School; Alma Nandino, Spring Grove School; Maria Molinar, Rancho San Justo Middle School; Barbara Silva, R.O. Hardin School; Christy Gorham, Sunnyslope School; Jim Lewis, San Benito High School; Orelia Gonzalez.

This year’s Certificated Employees of the Year are: Michelle Beske, Anzar High School; Grace Rosa, Aromas School; Kathleen Hoel, San Juan School; Marsha Cuellar, Calaveras School; Laurie Forrest, Accelerated Achievement Academy; Evelyn Sachau, Cerra Vista School; Sarah Fruit, Cienega School; Stephanie Sobeslavsky, Gabilan Hills; Laurie Marcus, Hollister Dual Language Academy; Jamie Fowles, Ladd Lane School; Nicole Felkins, Marguerite Maze Middle School; Kelly Oldakowski, Spring Grove School; Marcela Serrano, Rancho San Justo Middle School; Julia Blankenship, R.O. Hardin; Melissa Morrison, Sunnyslope School; Brian DeCarli, San Benito High School; Megan Ward, San Benito County Office of Education.

To watch the May 26 awards ceremony on Youtube, visit

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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