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Congratulations to Santa Barbara County’s 2023 Classified School Employees of the Year

classified school employees of the year

They’re the caring, committed, and multi-talented school staff who help keep schools running, thriving, safe, and beautiful  


May 18, 2023


SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, CA – The Santa Barbara County Education Office is proud to announce the award winners of the 2023 Classified School Employees of the Year. Described as vital assets to their school communities, winners were selected from 125 school sites across Santa Barbara County.

The winners are: Kathleen Stevenson of Orcutt Union School District, Herk Hang of Lompoc Unified School District, Maria Charco of Santa Barbara Unified School District, Norma Flores of Lompoc Unified School District, and Diane Campo of Lompoc Unified School District.
Read more about each winner below.

The Classified School Employees of the Year program was created by the California Department of Education (CDE) in recognition of the contributions of classified school employees who support the education of more than six million California public school students from preschool through grade twelve.

The program invites county education offices to select employees nominated by school districts in nine classified school employment categories: Clerical and Administrative; Custodial and 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.

Our county’s winners were recently honored at a Santa Barbara County Board of Education meeting by County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido and members of the board. 

“Classified employees provide the essential services that keep our students safe, well, and learning,” Superintendent Salcido said. “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."

Please help us honor the Classified School Employee of the Year in your area.

In the category of “Clerical and Administrative”

Kathleen Stevenson, Orcutt Union School District

If there were a center for all that happens on the Orcutt Union School District's busy Los Alamos campus, it would be Kathleen Stevenson. Kathleen has served for seven years as the office manager for the two schools on OUSD’s Los Alamos campus: Olga Reed School and the Orcutt Academy Charter School’s TK-8 program. She also assists with an SBCEO special day class on the campus, and a family resource center operated by a nonprofit foundation.

Kathleen interacts daily with all visitors, assisting students and parents, welcoming substitute teachers, and fielding questions from neighbors. Somehow she manages to coordinate all of the activity on this bustling school site, and she does it with grace, warmth, and a genuine interest in helping,” says Brenda Galvez, who works in the school office as the campus community liaison. “Kathleen cares about everyone.”

In the category of “Custodial and Maintenance”

Herk Hang, Lompoc Unified School District

Herk Hang has served as the groundskeeper at Leonora Fillmore Elementary School for the past five years. He ensures that school grounds are kept clean, safe, and beautiful. The Fillmore staff said Hang is the reason why students and staff “walk onto campus feeling proud of where they learn and work.” “His commitment to our school shows through the inviting areas he has created throughout the campus.

In the category of “Food and Nutrition”

Maria Charco, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Maria Charco has been a Food Services Assistant at La Cumbre Jr. High School for seven years. She contributes to the daily preparation of food, especially scratch-cooked meals, and serves students with excellent customer service. Maria’s colleagues remark that she is a great team player who always goes the extra mile for students. Her team said of her: “Maria is a great asset to the department and deserves any and all accolades.”

In the category of “Health and Student Services”

Norma Flores, Lompoc Unified School District

Norma Flores has dedicated almost 23 years to Leonora Fillmore Elementary School and the surrounding community and has served as a Home/School Community Liaison for 11 years. In her current role, she organizes the Student Study Team, Parent Teacher Association, Fillmore English Learner Advisory Committee, and school site council meetings in addition to attending and interpreting IEP meetings. Her team showered her with praise, saying: “Norma puts all staff members and families at ease with her approachable demeanor. She always has a smile on her face, is willing to do anything needed, and creates a positive feeling in our office.”

In the category of “Paraprofessional Services”

Diane Campo, Lompoc Unified School District

Diane Campo has served 16 years in her role as a special education paraprofessional at the Los Berros Visual and Performing Arts Academy. She supports students with autism as they participate in general education classrooms, ensuring that their instructional, behavioral, and social needs are met. Her colleagues shared with us that “Mrs. Campo is a true team player. She knows her responsibilities as a special education paraeducator and will do whatever needs to be done to meet the needs of the students she supports.” “We are very fortunate to have her on our Los Berros team.”