Elementary school teacher Carissa Brander and district Information Technology staff Jason Hart and Jacob Rodriguez were named Employees of the Month at the September 10th meeting of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s board of trustees. The three were selected for going beyond the call of duty to help students, parents and teachers connect online.
Carissa Brander, who was named the Certificated Employee of the Month, was nominated by Lucerne Valley Elementary School Principal Ricky Anderson. Superintendent Peter Livingston presented the award to Ms. Brander while her father, financial advisor Martin Brander, looked on.
“With the recent call for educators to incorporate in-person and virtual instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have to rely on one another to collaborate and help one another to provide the best quality instruction. One of the elementary school teachers, Carissa Brander, has taken a huge role in assisting and supporting others at the site,” Mr. Anderson said.
“Carissa has provided fantastic hands-on professional development on Google Classroom for the primary grades. This action was not an easy task because some teachers had never used this platform before. Her colleagues walked away from the sessions with less apprehension toward technology and wanted more tips to incorporate in their classrooms.”
Mr. Anderson added that Ms. Brander has also stepped up for her grade level as the grade level lead by collaborating with her team and bringing their input to the school’s leadership discussions.
“She is a fine educator, and her classroom is a pleasant smelling, clean, safe environment for kids to learn.”
Ms. Brander is a product of LVUSD (attending K-12) and prides herself on being a role model to the school’s student body, according to Mr. Anderson. “She shows them that they, too, can be anything they want to be and the importance of giving back to one’s community.”
Classified Employees Jason Hart and Jacob Rodriguez
Mr. Livingston presented the Classified Employees of the Month Award to IT Department staff members Jason Hart and Jacob Rodriguez.
“It is an extreme pleasure to recognize the members of our IT Department who have worked tirelessly to ensure that our staff, students, and stakeholders are connected and ready for Distance Learning,” Mr. Livingston said. “Jason Hart and Jacob Rodriguez always put forth the maximum effort in any endeavor. This is a strength that has allowed the IT Department at LVUSD to excel.”
Ever since schools were closed this past spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two ready to help out in any way possible.
“Our IT Department was absolutely outstanding,” Mr. Livingston said.
Among their duties was ensuring Chromebooks were ready for each student, and they researched and identified T-Mobile as the vendor who could quickly provide 300 Hotspots to school families. They also helped parents and teachers with any and all technology-related questions.
“Jason and Jacob exemplify what teamwork is all about. Their diligence and hard work is done in such a way that it does not appear to be a grind or even work. The dynamic duo has carried on under some tough circumstances. Jason and Jacob have the ability to work effectively with everyone and are always willing to strive to achieve common goals.”
PHOTO: Elementary school teacher Carissa Brander and district Information Technology staff Jason Hart and Jacob Rodriguez were named Employees of the Month at the September 10th meeting of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s board of trustees. From left, Supt. Peter Livingston, School Board President Tom Courtney, Clerk Chelsea LaGrange, Employee of the Month Jacob Rodriguez and Jason Hart, School Board Vice-President Jessica Risler, Employee of the Month Carissa Brander and School Board Member Jim Harvey. Photo by Douglas Beaton