For the month of October the Lucerne Valley Unified School District recognized two employees at Thursday’s monthly meeting. Lucerne Valley Middle High School counselor Kevin Vidana-Barda was recognized as the certificated employee, a versatile staff member Marshanna Moreno, currently a Lucerne Valley Elementary instructional aide, is the classified employee recognized. But LVMHS team member Adriana Barajas-Espinoza, who was unavailable to receive her award last month, was on hand to receive her September Employee of the Month Award with the other two.
District Superintendent Peter Livingston introduced each recipient at the October 13th meeting.
Mr. Barda, whose nomination letter was written by LVMHS Principal Kelly Boeing, is starting his second full year with this organization and in that time has solidified himself as an asset to students, parents, athletes, and staff, Mr. Livingston said.
“He has started a class this year called Senior Seminar. Cognizant of the time he needs with seniors; FAFSA applications, VVC Applications, GradChecks, Senior Activities, he slated himself to teach two periods per day so that no instruction time would be lost in order for him to pull kids out, instead he would push himself in as a required senior elective. This class has already begun a unit on career exploration, had guest speakers from different career paths like Navy, Marines, and UTI (Universal Technical Institute) They have had their Senior Sunrise Breakfast and are planning their Senior Sunset, helping to cement himself in the memories that our seniors will surely treasure in the future, despite his constant presence;).”
Moreover, Mr. Livingston said quoting Mrs. Boeing, “Kevin has developed strong, positive relationships with our students, helping students of all ages navigate a range of challenges and experiences, helping them up when they fall, helping them laugh when they need the reminder, and being the constant cheerleader for all. It truly takes strong interpersonal skills to succeed in guidance counseling and Kevin’s interpersonal skills are at the foundation of everything he does.
“Kevin and the CTE Team in conjunction with VVC and FFA have brought an opportunity to our students through College and Careers Access Pathways (CCAP). This is a class where students earn college credits for taking a college class on our campus. Helping to propel LVMHS students into the competitive future.”
Mr. Barda also supports athletics as the Assistant Athletic Director. (“Fine Print- Guaranteed to work at least 2-3 days a week after 5pm, Guaranteed to be yelled at/schooled/kindly directed towards an area where there is a lack of sunshine by a parent, referee, any stakeholder of the other team, Lucerne Valley Unexpected Wind Gusts, and spectators that are pretty certain that our road course is encroaching on property boundaries and booby trapped for good measure. And let us not forget those post-event late parent pick-ups that make you strongly consider calling the kid an Uber, then curse the lack of Ubers available, which no doubt have led Kevin to many a business plan, because that is who Kevin is.”)
“He never lets the hamster off the wheel to catch his breath. His mind is always in overdrive, so focused on, ‘Ok, but how do we solve this?’ That he never really gets upset or stuck on, ‘Well, this is an unfair cluster.’”
This year Kevin and the athletic admin department have added a JV football team, and two middle school FULL volleyball teams, officially commandeering the other 2-3 days a week to be here after school, after 5pm. (“And in all of these endeavors he still manages to race-ish/crash his dirt bike, professionally, run — for fun, might I add — in shorts of a questionable length — honestly, the only thing longer that his shorts is his hair — remodel his home, inspiring his girl on the drums, telling stories that seem wildly off-topic at first and then make you pause and think, “Dang, Mr. Barda just went all epic fortune cookie.” ←-direct student statement.”)
“Kevin has unknowingly, through example, inspired many to loosen the tie, not be too serious too often, and to laugh with more frequency and ferocity. He has offered yet another filter to see the world, taught a different disposition and approach to facing adversity, and given our students more options to grow in a way that suits them best. I can honestly say, Lucerne Valley Middle High School would not be the same without him.”
Also recognized at the meeting was Marshanna Moreno. Marshanna began her career at Lucerne Valley Elementary as a Food Service Worker transitioning to a Campus aide and then to an Instructional Aide working primarily with our TK through Third, Multi-Grade class, Mr. Livingston said quoting Principal Joanna Mora. “Mrs. Moreno has a heart for our students, and it shows in her attentiveness towards them. She guides the students in her care towards academic and social growth by being loving, yet firm – setting boundaries with positive encouragement.
“Marshanna always puts our students’ needs first. If we are shorthanded, or she knows one of the multi-grade teachers can't be present first thing in the morning, she will come in early to ensure our students have someone they know greeting them and keeping them on track to have a good day. Mrs. Moreno also makes sure she understands the medical and academic requirements of our multi-grade students. If she doesn’t understand completely, she does the research to ensure she will be able to fully accommodate our students’ needs.
“Marshanna also goes out of her way to ensure that our students also have materials, clothing or shoes. There have been many times that a student has needed materials, and they just “magically” show up. That is Marshanna’s heart in action!
“We are grateful for Marshanna’s care and commitment to our students. She goes above and beyond to ensure our students have the academic, social-emotional, as well as material resources available to them to be successful each day. It is with great pleasure that we recognize the hard work, selflessness, and commitment to students that Marshanna Moreno embodies!”
Lastly, Adriana Barajas-Espinoza, who was originally scheduled to receive her award last month, was recognized as Classified Employee of the Month for September.
The following was written by Principal Boeing, who nominated her:
“At the middle high school we had the opportunity to showcase a classified employee of the month. Our selection, was bittersweet, but well deserve. Bittersweet because she was Stockholm Syndromed away to the district’s Student Educational Service department (located at LVES). Ok, maybe it was her choice, but I have questions.
“All joking aside, Adriana is such an asset and she brings with her efficiency, optimism, and forward thinking and planning to every role that she has had with us. Adriana Barajas started in the cafeteria and then stepped into the role of an instructional aide. It is while she was in this position that really jump started her passion for helping students. “From the very beginning, Adriana has embodied our belief that students are a name and not just a number. Each day she jumps right in to support our students from academic content to social/emotional needs and everything in between. Adriana has built relationships with our students and become an integral part of their lives. The SAI department at LVMHS had a massive hole when Adriana moved to the Media Center, ” said Jessica Haecker, Lead SAI teacher.
“Prior to the opening in the Media Center, she took initiative, and got herself trained on the check-in and out system, while subbing, in order to help in a more efficient manner. She helped check books in and out for our summer dates, she reached out to publishers to make connections and reorder what we were low in, she does the leg work to reach out to the publishers to verify who has the lowest price, she requested to sit down with administration in order to create a schedule of department textbook adoption, she had samples of curriculum brought in so that teachers had options when it was time to look at curriculum. She anticipated our needs before they were needs, she offered solutions before the problem had time to fully develop. She has decorated for holidays, participated in spirit days, offered a shoulder to cry on to students and staff alike. She offered a place for students to feel welcome. She stepped in where she was needed, oftentimes without even being asked. She would translate for our Spanish speaking parents and our documents too. Always volunteering to do more, even driving for middle school sports. And that is seriously an endeavor! Even after she started her position at SES, she stayed for half days with us to get us through Williams. Her work a reflection of her, she felt she couldn’t leave her position until she saw us through.”
Mr. Livingston, who echoed Mrs. Boeing’s sentiment concluded, “Adriana Barajas is the type of person that is truly all in. She works so hard for the kids and I have every belief that she will continue to be an exemplary member of every team she joins. Adriana, you are incredible and we wish you all the best on your new adventure.”
EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH: From left, Peter Livingston (Superintendent), Tom Courtney (School Board Member), Jessica Risler (Board President), Chelsea LaGrange (Vice-President), Adriana Barajas, Marshanna Moreno, Kevin Barda, Jason Hansen and Jim Harvey (Board Members). Photo by Douglas Beaton