North County’s teachers, classified employees of the year chosen

RUSD employee Gayla Hager is the San Diego County Classified Employee of the Year and also for the state of California.
Gayla Hager, of the Ramona Unified School District, has been named the San Diego County Classified Employee of the Year and is one of nine Classified Employees of the Year for the state of California.
(Kristina L. Wright/Ramona Unified School District)

A food service worker at Hanson Elementary School in Ramona has been named one of the 2022 California Classified Employees of the Year.

Gayla Hager is the lead food service employee at the school and has been with the Ramona Unified School District for 18 years. She was named one of nine state classified employees of the year and was also one of California’s two nominees for the national RISE (Recognizing Inspiring School Employees) Award, which will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education next year.

Hager was also chosen as the San Diego County Classified Employee of the Year.

In his announcement of the state honor, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said, “Gayla Hager stands out as an exemplary school food service professional, in both her kid-friendly approach to customer service and her stellar work performance, even during difficult circumstances. Gayla has perfected the balance between regulatory compliance and happy, well-fed students.”

Thurmond went on to describe how Hager learns the food likes and dislikes of students so she can represent them at districtwide menu planning meetings. In several instances during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hager had to single-handedly prepare, serve, clean up after and document 450 meals in one school day.

Besides choosing their Classified Employees of the Year, many school districts have also named their Teachers of the Year, some of whom will go on to compete for the county and then the state title. The San Diego County Office of Education plans to choose and honor the San Diego County teachers of the year in the fall.

North County’s school district winners, certificated employees followed by classified employees, are:

Bonsall Unified School District: Amy Tull, fifth-grade teacher, Vivian Banks Charter School; Laura Vera, attendance clerk, Sullivan Middle School

Carlsbad Unified School District: Amanda Tsoi, sixth-grade science teacher, Valley Middle School; Dan DeLeon, campus safety assistant, Sage Creek High School

Del Mar Union School District: Stephanie Cluxton, kindergarten, Torrey Hills School; health aide technicians Susie Peterson, Ashley Falls, Lisa Kim, Sycamore Ridge, Debra Maldonado, Sage Canyon, Becky Young, Del Mar Heights and Del Mar Hills, Tracy Berger, Carmel Del Mar, Jaime Hernandez, Torrey Hills, and Sanjana Dhruv, Ocean Air and Del Mar Heights

Encinitas Union School District: Jennifer Green, fifth grade, Ocean Knoll Elementary School; Danielle Johnson, instructional assistant, specialized care I, Flora Vista Elementary School

Escondido Union School District: Carla Hodge, second grade, Felicita Elementary School, and Johanna Vigil-Deleon, industrial technology / STEM lab, Rincon Middle School; Gregory Nava, paraeducator in the SEAS (Social-Emotional Academic Supports) program, Miller Elementary School

Escondido Union High School District: David Nemteanu, graphic arts teacher, Del Lago Academy; Tracy Reynolds, senior network support technician, district service center

Fallbrook Union Elementary School District: Breena Bogikes, elementary physical education teacher, William H. Frazier Elementary School; Thomas O’Malley, lead mechanic, Transportation Department

Oceanside Unified School District: Rebecca Miceli, first and second grade, Del Rio Elementary School, and Kristina Vasquez, 11th-grade U.S. History and ninth-grade entrepreneural exploration teacher, El Camino High School; Donna Contrado, health technician, Palmquist Elementary School, and Carlos Rozo, day lead custodian, César Chávez Middle School

Poway Unified School District: Nay Flinn, kindergarten teacher at Connect Academy, Aimee McCoy, eighth-grade humanities and AVID teacher, Mesa Verde Middle School, and Andrea Ford, Spanish teacher, Westview High School; Andrea Schmidt, school bus driver, Transportation Department, Alisa Mendenhall, accounting assistant IV, preschool, after school and extended student services, Debra Sabatini, health technician, Bernardo Heights Middle School, Julie Charles, health technician, Willow Grove Elementary School

Ramona Unified School District: Kaylene Weber, intervention teacher grades 1-6, Barnett Elementary School; Gayla Hager, lead food service, Hanson Elementary School

San Diego County Office of Education: Cindy Stallo, education specialist at 37ECB Community School; Vedrana Carew, English language development assistant, Lindsay Community School

San Dieguito Union High School District: Timothy Stiven, social science and humanities teacher, Canyon Crest Academy; Cathy Shroyer, administrative assistant II, district office administrative services

San Marcos Unified School District: Kristen Engler, school counselor, Richland Elementary School; Ivy Keim, occupational therapist, Early Education Center

San Pasqual Union School District: Kymbee McKay, kindergarten teacher; Mike Veach, maintenance department

Solana Beach School District: Kathy Cimo, school nurse, Solana Santa Fe School; Susan Callagy, instructional assistant, Solana Pacific School

Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District: Evelyn Hupp, special education teacher, Valley Center Elementary School; Omar Huerta, help desk technician, district office technology department

Vista Unified School District (Golden Apple award winners): Susan Blew, multiple elementary subjects, The Leadership Academy; Christine Barrett, mathematics, Madison Middle School; Krystal De Leeuw, special education, Vista High School; Christina DeSanto, principal, Rancho Minerva Middle School; Scott Conley, operations supervisor, Facilities/Maintenance/Operations; Rosie Figueroa, administrative secretary, Monte Vista Elementary School; Nick Garcia, psychologist, Beaumont Elementary School