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School Board: Robert MacDonald, Amanda Nichols and Sarah Courtney Given Awards

Automotive repair teacher Robert MacDonald and food services team member Amanda Nichols were named Employees of the Month, and volunteer Sarah Courtney was cited for her special contributions to the district during Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s Board of Trustees.
A standing-room-only crowd was in attendance at the meeting that featured superlatives for the trio by Superintendent Peter Livingston and others. Mr. Livingston presented the awards.
Robert MacDonald, the December Certificated Employee of the Month, recently transitioned from a long-term career in the automotive repair industry in order to pursue a deep-rooted passion for teaching and helping young people prepare for potential careers as automotive technicians, service advisors or managers, or other related jobs in the automotive industry, the superintendent said.
“Mr. MacDonald has quickly transformed the LVHS automotive program into an actual hands-on working service center,” Superintendent Livingston said, quoting Mr. MacDonald’s supervisor who made the nomination. “Under Mr. MacDonald s leadership and guidance, students are now working collaboratively in a team environment with a specific task to manage the day-to-day operations of an automotive service repair facility. In fact, Mr. MacDonald’s classes have been taking on the awesome responsibility of repairing a few district vehicles.”
His students are focused on mastering Vehicle Maintenance & Service, and are learning the technical and academic skills needed to attain high-skilled, high-demand careers in automotive service. “In addition to technical training and career foundations, Mr. MacDonald’s courses also offer a wide range of additional educational benefits, including critical thinking development, technical literacy, public speaking skills, leadership development, and planning/organization skills.”
Mr. MacDonald has partnered with several area businesses and is very community-oriented. 
The Classified Employee of the Month, Amanda Nichols continues to exceed my expectations on a daily basis. She has continued to lead the elementary school staff during these very difficult times.
“Amanda stepped up and has shown that she has the potential to be an amazing leader in the Food Service Department. She has taken on many new responsibilities and has excelled in all aspects. Amanda continues to be very thoughtful and compassionate. This has helped her create and maintain many meaningful relationships with past and present students. Amanda now has the confidence to make decisions on her own. I am so proud to be on this team with her. All staff and students love her and know they can depend on her. I looking forward to being a part of her continued growth in our school district.”
Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin also spoke of her willingness to volunteer as a coach of the Middle School volleyball team, which is one of the most dynamic athletic programs in the district. A number of the volleyball players, which includes 6th-graders from the Elementary School, were on hand for the award presentation.
Sarah Courtney was given the Volunteer Appreciation Award. She is the Lucerne Valley Elementary Booster Club president and works extremely hard to support the students in Lucerne Valley. Ms. Courtney has done many fundraisers and actives for the school site. Her end-of-the-year carnival and fall festival are always a huge hit for students and their families. Just this year, the booster club raised $8,000 for this year’s fall festival (new record).
Mr. Lambdin noted that earlier in the day, Ms. Courtney was volunteering in the baseball snack bar during the first Middle School home game of the season.
Sarah also involves herself with the MS/HS sports program with coaching. Recently, she assisted the girls volleyball team and helped improve the skills of the players. The team looks to be competitive in the years to come. “We appreciate Sarah’s enthusiasm and love her commitment.”
From left to right, Superintendent Peter Livingston, board member Tom Courtney, Amanda Nichols, board vice-president Chelsea LaGrange, Sarah Courtney, Robert MacDonald, board president Jessica Risler, board clerk Jason Hansen and board member Jim Harvey. Photo by Doug Beaton