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Mary Eller, Andrea Moretz Named Employees of the Month

By Peter Day
Lucerne Valley Unified School District Superintendent Peter Livingston presented elementary school teacher Mary Eller and middle high school office manager Andrea Moretz with Employees of the Month awards during the regular meeting of the school district’s Board of Trustees on May 9.
Mr. Livingston described Mrs. Eller, who was this month’s certificated recipient, as “an outstanding teacher who is always ready and willing to embrace new learning initiatives.” He said she has been supportive of the principal transition at LVES and served as a mentor for the current principal while continuing to be engaged with the entire school community in a positive fashion.
“Mary goes above and beyond the call of duty,” the superintendent said. “She is passionate about our environment and shares this passion with her students. Ms. Eller was instrumental in securing local community groups for our Science Night. She mentored and guided many of our new staff through the rigors of being first year teachers. Mary is very active with LVTA and is always looking for what is in the best interest of students. Mary has always kept students first.”
Moreover, Mr. Livingston said, in her classroom it is very evident that she is loved by her students. Ms. Eller has built strong relationships with her students and their families. Mary, through her experience, has helped guide our school through the PBIS and PLC processes. It would be an honor for anyone to have their children is Ms. Eller’s class.
“Lucerne Valley Elementary School is extremely lucky to have Ms. Eller on staff.”
Last year, Andrea Moretz, who is this month’s classified staff winner, returned to her role as the LVMHS office manager after a stint of about 10 years in the private sector, Mr. Livingston said.
“She was welcomed back with open arms and her positive attitude has been contagious in the front office,” he said. “Andrea is an ambitious employee who is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure our students and staff are successful. Andrea is constantly exceeding expectations and happily accepts any task or project, however difficult it may be. She has quickly evolved as the go-to person on campus. Andrea always comes to work energetic, upbeat and optimistic. She is passionate about her job and is truly a team player.”
The AVID Site Team, led by teacher Naomi Oyadomari, gave an in-depth presentation on Lucerne Valley’s AVID program. “Ms. O” was joined by teacher Mrs. Cindy Lazenby. Most importantly, they said, the local program recently passed a milestone when it was officially certified by AVID trainer Kelli Hogan-Flowers.
The two AVID instructors also lauded the program’s tutors and introduced college tutor Annabelle Fox, who is paid, and her sister, Abigail Fox, a volunteer peer tutor for the local AVID program.
Ms. O thanked the school district for investing in the program’s four college tutors. “They are well trained,” she added.
“We’re so excited to move forward,” she said.
Ms. O also talked about the the Middle School’s participation with the Lincoln Oratory Online Program Presentation. The program, which is sponsored by Ford’s Theatre, featured a number of schools reciting Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address. Lucerne Valley Middle School was the only West Coast school to participate in this event, which was open to all middle schools throughout the U.S. To view the video produced by Hugo Pallete click here
Following student and school presentations by LVES student representative Zoey Davis, LVMS representative Nathan Bhojwani, LVHS representative Jesus Arreola, and FFA representative Katelyn Miller, the district presented Zoey, Nathan and Katelyn with awards for their dedication.
During the FFA report, Katelyn Miller was joined by FFA officer Matthew Redding. The two discussed a busy season for the chapter, which will hold its annual banquet on the night of Monday, May 13.
Longtime school board member Tom Courtney, who presided over the May 9 meeting, introduced two public hearings regarding the Sunshine Negotiation Proposal from the California School Employees Association and its Lucerne Valley Chapter #743 to the Lucerne Valley Unified School District and a bargaining proposal from the school district to the local CSEA for the next school year.
During the Information/Discussion portion of the meeting, Mr. Livingston said Lucerne Valley’s enrollment upward trend continues. The Local Control and Accountability Plan surveys and meetings were discussed, and representatives from Sky Mountain and Inspire/Granite Mountain charter schools gave status reports.
The superintendent gave a very upbeat report that served as the “State of the District” for the LVUSD. (A separate article provides more information about the presentation).
Highlights of the Discussion/Action items included the following:

• The board approved an annual stipend of $5,000 and title change for Principal Nate Lambdin to Assistant Superintendent/Middle High School Principal due to increased duties to support the district with oversight of charter schools. The change, and added stipend, will go into effect on July 1.

• The school board accepted the CSEA chapter’s proposal for negotiations and adopted the district’s initial proposal.

• The school board approved an internship program memorandum of understanding between the district and the University of Redlands.
The school board went into closed session for a conference with the labor negotiator for the Lucerne Valley Teachers’ Association. Superintendent Livingston serves as negotiator for the school district.