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Congratulations to MDUSD's eight District Classified Employees of the Year!

Congratulations to MDUSD's eight District Classified Employees of the Year!

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is pleased to announce the District's eight Classified Employee of the Year finalists, who are also the District's County Classified Employees of the Year nominees. The District finalists are: Sheila Bergum, Clerical and Administrative Services; Liberato (Ato) Caparas, Transportation; Aramis Hegler, Security Services; JoJo Miguel, Skilled Trades; Mari Nist, Para-professional, Sandy Reeder, Food & Nutrition Services, Sandra Solis, Custodial Services, and Alan Wright, Technical Services. The MDUSD Governing Board will recognize the employees at its May 8th meeting. All of the nominees said they were honored to be selected for this special recognition.

Bergum, who is the College & Career Advisor for Concord HS and the Lead College & Career Advisor the the District, initiated MDUSD's Career Education Fair seven years ago, which features trades and career options that don't necessarily require a four-year college degree. "Everything she does is with her whole heart," according to counselors Rima Boujaoude and Becky Heindel, who nominated her. "She is so passionate about college and career exploration, and her passion is contagious to all who interact with her." They said Bergum is the "go-to" person for many counselors and college and career advisors "because she is continuously seeking educational opportunities to learn more about college applications, scholarships, internship and summer opportunities, financial aid, and so much more....MDUSD is so lucky to have Sheila Bergum spearheading this very important work."

Caparas, a school bus driver, was nominated by Transportation Director Cris Lepe, who described him as "adored by many; thanks to his easy-going demeanor and the respect he extends to everyone he encounters." Lepe said Caparas' "harmonious relationship with school site staff  and parents further demonstrates his ability to foster a supportive and inclusive community." With an "unparalleled work ethic," Lepe said Caparas "is present and willing to assist whenever and wherever needed" by "driving any bus in our fleet or taking on weekend field trips." Lepe concluded that Caparas "has dedicated over two decades of his life to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and their families" and his "unwavering commitment, reliability, and profound impact on our community" qualify him for this award.

Hegler, who is a security guard, was nominated by Custodial & Operations Manager David Hart. "His ability to remain calm under pressure allows him to handle tense situations and effectively communicate security protocols," Hart said in his nomination. "His proactive approach and quick thinking have helped to prevent and mitigate potential risks, creating a safer and more secure environment for everyone." Hart added that Hegler builds positive relationships with staff and the local community and that his "professionalism, integrity and unwavering dedication" has had a "profound impact on the security and atmosphere of our school District."

Miguel was described by Maintenance Manager Paul Lundholm as "the hero of the District who swoops in when there are mechanical issues at any of our school sites and administrative offices." Lundholm added that Miguel "exhibits a remarkable attention to detail and a proactive approach to problem-solving, ensuring that our school buildings are safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing for students, staff and visitors alike."  Besides his technical skills and knowledge, Lundholm praised Miguel's "excellent interpersonal skills and strong work ethic," along with his ability to communicate "effectively with colleagues, administrators, and contractors, fostering a collaborative and positive working environment." Luncholm concluded: "His hard work, professionalism, and commitment to excellence make him an invaluable asset to our school district. He is the true King of HVAC."

Nist has been a special education assistant at Pine Hollow MS for 30 years. "Her unwavering dedication and passion for her work have left an indelible mark on countless lives," said Special Education Assistant Sheila Ronque in her nomination. "Many of her former students, now adults, have followed in her footsteps, inspired by her commitment to making a difference." Ronque said, adding that throughout her career, Nist "has demonstrated exceptional patience, empathy and understanding, fostering an inclusive and nurturing environment where every child feels valued and supported." In addition, Nist "volunteers her time generously for various school activities," such as organizing field trips, chaperoning school dances, and assisting with homecoming or fundraising events. Ronque said: "Mrs. Nist is known for her reliability and willingness to contribute to the school community."

Reeder, who is a lead Food and Nutrition Services Worker in the District's Central Kitchen, was nominated by Food and Nutrition Services Director Alexandra Emmott. "This year, Sandy has spearheaded a Harvest of the Month taste test program in partnership with our after school provider, CARES, to promote seasonal produce," Emmott said in her nomination. "Sandy has made some incredible food as part of this program, such as freshly baked persimmon bread, butternut squash mac and cheese, kale bites with marinara sauce and much more. She goes above and beyond to make the taste tests successful, setting up baskets with produce and samples and providing tablecloths for each school. Thanks to her creativity and dedication, students across the District are loving the new menu items."

Solis, who is the Night Custodian at Walnut Acres Elementary, was nominated by Principal Lauren Ashton. Solis was lauded for her exceptional attention to cleaning and repairing the campus facilities; her commitment to fostering positive relationships with staff, students, and families; and for spearheading initiatives to reduce environmental impact. "Her proactive approach to problem-solving" and "willingness to embrace new challenges" make her "an indispensable asset to our school," Ashton said in her nomination. "Her contributions may often go unnoticed, but her impact on our school community is immeasurable," Ashton concluded. "She is truly deserving of this recognition and our heartfelt gratitude."

Wright was described by IT Director Robert Sidford as "a brilliant network engineer and a highly skilled network manager" who is "an indispensable architect for our network." Sidford also praised Wright's people and problem-solving skills, saying that he can "discuss and coordinate networking projects of the highest complexity, then explain those projects to laymen. This is an extraordinarily rare skill." Sidford concluded that Wright's "work on networking projects and the maintenance of our network is crucial to the District's success in providing a safe and reliable network."

Classified Employees of the Year
  • Classified Employees of the Year