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Welcome Back Breakfast Sets Positive Tone for 2021-22 School Year

Updated August 10, 2021
After missing last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lucerne Valley Unified School District staff gathered Wednesday morning for tasty breakfast burritos, staff awards, and words of encouragement at the annual Welcome Back Breakfast this year held in the Lucerne Valley Middle High School quad.
Standing in front of a colorful sign that read, “Kindness,” Superintendent Peter Livingston started the event with a moment of silence in honor of the three Lucerne Valley girls killed and one seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident on June 5th.
Mr. Livingston, who is in his sixth-year as superintendent, encouraged teachers to help students to set goals, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. “Having goals without a plan is just a dream.”
Mr. Livingston credited the year-round employees, especially the maintenance and IT staffs, for working hard to get ready for the new school year. Over the summer, eight new portable buildings were put in place including a new office for the transportation department, and numerous cosmetic improvements at both campuses.
He applauded the district’s teachers who have stepped forward to make a true difference in students’ lives, especially since the pandemic closed schools in mid-March of 2020. While many school districts have difficulty during teacher contraction negotiations, Lucerne Valley’s have gone smoothly and quickly.
“You don’t see this in any other district,” Mr. Livingston said. “We don’t settle for employees. There’s a reason you’re here. We hire the best of the best.”
The superintendent is especially proud of the elementary school, which opened for hybrid in-school and computer-based learning last Aug. 20th, and never closed. “We all had the same goal in mind — teaching our kids.”
“Good programs and good organizations are made up of great people,” said Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin, who also serves as co-principal of LVMHS with Kelly Boeing, He also encouraged staff members to “Be positive. It’s a mindset.”
Mr. Lambdin said Principal Ricky Anderson and the entire LVES have done a “beyond amazing job.” Mr. Livingston also commended Mr. Anderson for leading the elementary school through the COVID year in his first year as a principal. Mr. Anderson responded, “Having a pandemic, it wasn’t in the handbook.”
During his presentation, Mr. Anderson commended his staff for going beyond the call of duty for the children. “It’s amazing the rock stars we have.”
Since the pandemic start in spring of 2020, the LVUSD has had an enrollment growth of 7%, with much of the growth at the elementary school.
“We had huge growth,” Mr. Anderson said. “We had to hire a lot more people.” Regarding any uncertainty that lays ahead, he added, “Under Peter’s leadership we’re going to be just fine.”
Also speaking at the breakfast was Food Services Director Cindy Lattin-Oliveira. Mr. Livingston said that the food services staff met a unique challenge: Three days after schools were closed last March, food was provided daily to the youth of Lucerne Valley.
Transportation Director Kimberly Snow also acknowledged her staff.
“Kudos to our bus drivers,” Mr. Livingston said. “They’re the first to see the kids in the morning and last to see them after school.”
Certificates were given to employees who have served for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years, and all new employees over the last two years were introduced.
The following employees were slated to be recognized for years of year at the 2020 breakfast event. However, the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
5 years or more: Dawn Kinz, Adriana Barajas-Espinoza and Destany Cagle 

10 years or more: Beth Heck, Jessica Haecker and Liuchoy Hirschhorn  
20 years or more: Michelle Shadwick, Joanne McGinnis and Frances Muller 

25 years or more: Leigh Hannon
40 years or more: Dolores Barela
The following were recognized for their years of service as of 2021:
5 years or more: Douglas Beaton, Kimra Pedersen and Stacia Hartwell

10 years or more: Mark Nustad, Leah Paddack, Mark Hart and Michelle Lane

15 years or more: Vici Miller, Cynthia McDonough and Marina Chicca-Wilding

20 years or more: Karol Thompson, Mary Eller and Linda Schlenz
25 years or more: Kenneth Calder, John Cosato, John Wortham  and Eleanor Boone-Clements

Also in attendance were school board president Tom Courtney, who led the Pledge of Allegiance, vice-president Jessica Risler and board clerk Chelsea LaGrange.
Earlier, in an email to staff, Mr. Livingston said, “Every stakeholder did whatever it took last year to bring our students back to school and be a model for the state in how to do that safely. We will need to continue to adapt to what our students need, continue to reengage them, and give them the tools they need for success. I am confident we can do that together as we have done previously which has made us a ‘Small School Districts’ Association District of Excellence.’”
TOP: Superintendent Peter Livingston addresses staff at Welcome Back Breakfast earlier this week.
BOTTOM: Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin acknowledges employees during the breakfast, which featured breakfast burritos prepared by the district’s Food Services staff.