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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 12:26 pm | Fair and Breezy 61º


Cathy Christman of Franklin Elementary Named County Classified Employee of Year

Zonia Chaney of Santa Barbara County Education Office also a recipient of the award

Cathy Christman, an instructional assistant at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Barbara for 10 years, and Zonia Chaney, an administrative secretary at the Santa Barbara County Education Office for seven years, were named 2012 Santa Barbara County Classified Employees of the Year and will be honored at a ceremony during the meeting of the Santa Barbara County Board of Education on Thursday.

Cathy Christman
Cathy Christman

Christman was nominated in the instructional assistance category, and Chaney was nominated in the office and technical category.

The county recognition is part of the California School Employee of the Year Program.

“We are very happy to take part in this program,” county Superintendent Bill Cirone said. “Each year we honor the Teacher of the Year and outstanding schools; it is fitting that we also include the school staff members who play such a key role in supporting children’s achievement, safety and health.”

To qualify, the employee must have been in the same service category for at least five years.

The nomination process started at the district level, where each district was invited to select employees from six categories, including child nutrition, maintenance/operations/facilities, transportation, para-educator/instructional assistance, office and technical, and support services and security. A county committee reviewed the nominations and selected the county’s nominees.

Christman has been a special education aide at Franklin for 10 years.

Principal Casie Killgore wrote that Christman “is a model employee and advocate for students. Cathy goes above and beyond the call of duty. … As I observe employees daily, Cathy has always stood out. … Cathy is sought by other classified staff and is a leader amongst other classified employees.”

Special education chair and teacher Leslie Oliva MacDougall added: “Cathy demonstrates outstanding performance in all areas of her work. … Cathy understands what the students need to learn, why they need to learn each skill, and how to facilitate that learning. … The students love working with her as she is positive, patient, nurturing, and is responsive to their individual needs both academically and behaviorally.

“Any week during the school year, before school begins, after the school day, or on the weekends, Cathy Christman can be seen on the Franklin campus anywhere and everywhere. If there’s a job to be done, she’s ‘on it.’ ... Miss Cathy is a jewel here at Franklin. She leads by example and is a role model for all of us.”

Chaney has been an administrative secretary for seven years with the assistant superintendent for Categorical and Special Programs, which provides managerial oversight for several federal, state and local programs.

Zonia Chaney
Zonia Chaney

Assistant Superintendent Jan Clevenger wrote of her: “Zonia exemplifies SBCEO’s motto of ‘service and leadership’ on a daily basis with her exceptional ‘can-do’ work ethic, professional demeanor and positive attitude. I marvel at her ability to efficiently juggle multiple tasks and projects while maintaining her routine office responsibilities with personal touches and an ever-present smile. Zonia is extremely organized and plans her workload to meet all deadline and department timelines. … She is a model employee — dedicated, competent and selfless, who will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Mark Leufkens, coordinator at Summit High, wrote that “Zonia is a ‘go-to person’ … her confidence, interest and caring approach make her a unique and invaluable employee. Those who are fortunate to work with her can put things into her hands with the confidence that those things will be done and done right. Zonia’s skills, knowledge, and efficiency make us all more effective in our jobs.”

Williams consultant Dr. Richard Shelton: “I have worked closely with Zonia for seven years as she has coordinated the complicated and challenging Williams project. … She provided what was needed efficiently, effectively and cheerfully. ... Zonia is exceedingly well organized, and always demonstrates a willingness to go the extra mile and do whatever it takes to see a job to completion. It is hard to imagine someone more fitting for this award.”

— Wendy Shelton for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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