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Classified School Employees of the Year Awards 2022

September 12, 2022


Winners are from the Guadalupe Union School District, Orcutt Union School District, and Santa Maria Joint Union High School District. Orcutt Union’s Timothy Romine selected by the California Department of Education as the statewide winner of the “Skilled Trades” category.


SANTA BARBARA COUNTY – The Santa Barbara County Education Office is proud to announce the Santa Barbara County winners of the 2022 Classified School Employees of the Year awards. These individuals were selected from the over 125 school sites across the county and recognized by the Santa Barbara County Board of Education at their September meeting.

The Classified School Employees of the Year awards is a program of the California Department of Education (CDE) in which County Education Offices select employees nominated by school districts in their counties in nine classified school employment categories: Clerical/Administrative, Custodial/Maintenance, Food and Nutrition, Health and Student Services, Paraprofessional, Security Services, Skilled Trades, Technical Services, and Transportation. The winners from each county are nominated for the statewide award in their respective category. 

Timothy Romine, Vehicle & Equipment Mechanic for the Orcutt Union School District, was selected by the CDE as the statewide winner of the “Skilled Trades” category. He was recognized by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in a recent news release and is eligible for the national Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) award from the U.S. Department of Education. 

School districts in northern Santa Barbara County shone this year, producing the winners in the seven categories for which nominations were received. Five of the seven county winners come from the Orcutt Union School District. The other two winners are from the Guadalupe Union School District and Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

“Classified employees provide the essential services that keep our students safe, well, and learning,” says Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools. “They support teachers, school staff and countless others to make our public school system the vital resource hub that it is for students and families. I congratulate the winners and appreciate the many contributions our classified employees make each and every day of the year."

Read about each of the Santa Barbara County winners below.

Skilled Trades:
Timothy Romine, Orcutt Union School District

Romine is the Vehicle & Equipment Mechanic for the district office. As OUSD’s only mechanic, Romine is responsible for keeping all vehicles and equipment owned by the district operating at the highest level possible. According to his nomination form, “His work performance is exceptional and he raises the level of work of those around him. All of our staff know, like and respect Tim immensely.”

Kim Domingues, Orcutt Union School District

Domingues is the Office Manager at Orcutt Academy High School. According to her nomination form, Dominguez is described as “the heart and soul of the office and school. She helps staff in a million different ways to keep our school running successfully.”

Ernesto Vela, Orcutt Union School District

Vela is the Site Custodian at Olga Reed School and Orcutt Academy K-8. He ensures students have a safe, clean place to learn. According to his nomination form, Vela “has an inner drive to perform a job well done and do what’s right for kids.” He is described as “an exemplar of what a site custodian can and should be … modeling good citizenship, a hard work ethic, and respectful treatment of others.”

Food and Nutrition:
Chandra Lauer, Santa Maria Joint Union High School District

Lauer is the Food Service Worker Lead at Ernest Righetti High School. She has served the district for 28 years. She worked throughout the entire pandemic, serving 750,000 meals to students during the school closure period. According to her nomination form, her food service staff, which includes 15-20 student workers, adore working for her and in the positive environment she’s created. “The calm steady flow of the kitchen reflects Chandra’s calm, consistent demeanor, and leadership style. She leads by example, working hard, staying calm, and being organized.”

Health and Student Services:
Norma Cuevas, Guadalupe Union School District

Cuevas is a Health Technician at Mary Buren Elementary School. According to her nomination form, “Norma’s contributions to supporting new guidelines and protocols were essential to the success of the school year.” She was a key player in managing Covid cases on campus and could be relied upon to share information with staff and parents in a confident manner. Even when emotions run high, “she is always considerate and patient when talking with parents.”

Jane Gallet, Orcutt Union School District

Gallet is an Instructional Aide at Joe Nightingale Elementary School. She has been an Instructional Aide for the district since 2005. According to her nomination form, Gallet serves as an example that paraprofessional staff members are key to helping create a space for students with disabilities. “She consistently models kindness and promotes understanding and acceptance of individual differences.”

Jana Graham, Orcutt Union School District

Graham is the Transportation Coordinator for OUSD. She is known as someone who leads by example. “She walks the walk,” according to her nomination form. “There is no task within the Transportation Department that she has not done herself. Graham recruits and trains bus drivers, identifies suitable bus stops, develops bus schedules, works on transportation for special needs students, and collaborates with teachers and school office staff on field trips.”