Middle High School teacher/coach Brandon Barkley and Elementary School custodian Samantha Kerestessy were named the school district’s Employees of the Month during last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the LVUSD’s Board of Trustees.
Mr. Barkley, who was selected as the Certificated Employee of the Month, received his award from Superintendent Peter Livingston, who shared comments from Mr. Barkley’s supervisors.
“Mr. Barkley is a natural in the classroom. He is highly successful in engaging students in problem solving, critical thinking, and other activities that make the subject matter meaningful. His ability to make learning interesting, fun, and applicable to students everyday lives is commendable. Mr. Barkley is truly an excellent teacher who is very inspiring to his students.
“Not all students like math, but outstanding math teachers like Mr. Barkley have the power to change that. Mr. Barkley possesses the characteristics to help students who have traditionally struggled with the subject matter begin to build confidence in their skills. For students who are usually bored with numbers, Mr. Barkley breathes new life into the subject. He effectively transforms his class into a place where students want to be. Mr. Barkley encourages students to figure out where they went wrong and to keep working at the problem until they get the correct answer, providing support and guidance where needed.
“Students learn in different ways, and Mr. Barkley truly understands that. He keeps up with the best practices in math and regularly incorporates them into his instruction to help all of his students learn. Mr. Barkley also understands there may be multiple ways to solve problems and uses those alternate strategies to help struggling students grasp difficult concepts. His lesson plans engage students and help them feel confident in their mathematical abilities.
“As any experienced teacher knows, teaching focuses less on the content being taught than the students being taught. Mr. Barkley truly cares about his students. He recognizes when a student is having a bad day or needs some encouragement and addresses the problem to help the student refocus on the material. While he holds students to high expectations, Mr. Barkley recognizes that occasionally life gets in the way of homework and that studying sometimes take a back seat to family obligations. Therefore, he offers students second chances when warranted and takes time out of his own schedule to help students catch up or learn the material.
“Mr. Barkley also serves as the co-Athletic Director of both the high school and middle school. He is the head boy’s and girls basketball coach. He is an active member of the stipend committee, Leadership Team, and is one of the Principal's Designees.”
Samantha Kerestessy — Classified Employee of the Month
With a group of co-workers in attendance, Samantha Kerestessy, the Classified Employee of the Month, also received her award from Mr. Livingston.
“Sam serves as our site custodian and takes on many roles at the school,” Mr. Livingston said in sharing her supervisor’s comments. “She is an extremely hard worker and is always willing to lend a helping hand to everyone. Throughout the day, you may see her moving furniture, putting up tables, vacuuming and mopping floors, putting out playground equipment, emptying trash cans, or other activities with a positive attitude and works at doing the best job possible. She has done an excellent job at training our cafeteria aides and keeping the elementary facilities looking great! We are incredibly proud of the work she has done at the elementary site and her passion for serving the students of Lucerne Valley.”
Following the presentation, the award recipients had their photo taken with the school board members.
From left to right, Superintendent Peter Livingston, school board president Tom Courtney, board member Jason Hansen, Brandon Barkley, Samantha Kerestessy, board vice-president Jessica Risler, board secretary Chelsea LaGrange and board member Jim Harvey. Photo by Douglas Beaton