The Los Alamitos Unified School District has honored five from its ranks as 2020 Employees of the Year.
“If we are going to ignite unlimited possibilities for our students, we must have exceptional employees. Our 2020 Employees of the Year are no exception,” said District Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver. “They go above and beyond, working tirelessly to help students achieve excellence in Academics, Athletics, Activities and the Arts throughout the school year.”
Teacher of the Year
Janelle Fox, Math Teacher, Los Alamitos High School
A math teacher at Los Alamitos High School for 18 years, Janelle Fox embodies excellence in the classroom, and her student-first approach is unparalleled, Pulver said. “Janelle is a collaborative force, not only for her students, but among her colleagues as well. She truly represents what it means to be Better Together, and we are so lucky to call her one of our own.” Fox teaches Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus. She not only facilitates the learning of mathematics at a very high level in her classroom, but extends herself beyond the instructional day to work with students and support their learning and a love of math. Fox was an early member of the Secondary Math Collaborative working with other 6-12th grade teachers to develop enhanced strategies and approaches to mathematical instruction and to identify what high quality math instruction looks like for 21st century learners. “Janelle is an inspirational teacher who creates a learning environment that is filled with inquiry, high expectations, and a joy of learning. Her creativity, humor and personality make mathematics approachable and relevant to students,” Pulver said.
Classified Employees of the Year
Danny Salas, Head Custodian, Oak Middle School
Danny Salas has been with the District for 21 years, most of the time serving as head custodian at Weaver Elementary where he did far more than keep the place in shape. “Mr. Danny,” as he’s known, ran the PA system Friday Flag ceremonies, played Superman at Halloween, and was the go-to person for every PTA volunteer who needed something done fast and well. In 2017, he moved to his position at Oak where he takes great pride in making the large campus look its best. “He arrives early and leaves late every afternoon to make sure that all details have been taken care of,” said Joe Fraser, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. “Anyone who has ever worked with Danny Salas will tell you he is all Los Al all of the time. He serves this district with his whole heart.” In addition to the District’s recognition, Danny has also been selected as the Orange County Classified Employee of the Year for the Maintenance and Operations category.
Carrie Weil, Instructional Assistant, McGaugh Elementary
Carrie Weil left her career in the medical sales field 22 years ago to take on the role of lunch-duty supervisor so that she could be closer to her five-year-old daughter at McGaugh. Before long, Carrie’s value as a compassionate and loving person was recognized, and she was assigned as an Instructional Assistant in a Special Education classroom. “Carrie is brilliant when it comes to working with Special Needs students and helping them see their potential as well as their place in this world,” Fraser said. “She makes students feel safe and valued. Her kind and gentle soul are a gift to every child, teacher, and parent with whom she comes in contact.” Weil actually has come full circle: Her then-five-year-old daughter was hired this year at McGaugh as an Education Specialist.
Tina Fenner, Attendance Office Secretary, Los Alamitos High School
In her 15 years with the District, Tina Fenner has served in many roles: health clerk at Los Alamitos Elementary, elementary and high school summer school secretary, and attendance clerk at McGaugh, before moving to the Attendance/Enrollment office at Los Alamitos High School. “Tina’s five-star customer service, positivity and efficiency supports her success as one of our first points of contact for our students and families,” Fraser said. Through her vast experience and knowledge, Tina provides families with the utmost care, service and kindness, he added. “There is no task too big and no problem too complicated for Tina. Everything she manages has the “Tina Touch” meaning it is done accurately, thoroughly, and on time.”
Administrator of the Year
Elvia Galicia, Director of Fiscal Services, District Office
When Elvia Galicia came to the District five years ago, she brought with her a wealth of experience in school business operations at other school districts in Southern California. Pulver called Galicia an exceptional leader, bright, innovative, conscientious, and outstanding in all aspects of her position and committed to the District vision of “Igniting Unlimited Possibilities for Students.” “We are fortunate to have a Director of Fiscal Services who equally supports appropriate expenditures to ensure that our students demonstrate continual academic, social, and emotional growth,” Pulver said. “Her leadership inspires administrators to set high expectations and create a culture of accountability and performance where we do the best we can with limited resources to meet the District’s goals.” Galicia’s accomplishments have also earned her the prestigious honor of being selected the Orange County School Business Services Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).
“We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated and skilled staff who work tirelessly on behalf of our students and families,” Pulver said.
All of the District Employees of the Year will be recognized by the Board of Education for their service.