The school district presented three Employee of the Month Awards during the recent monthly meeting. From left, Superintendent Peter Livingston, Jessica Risler (board president), Marina Savchenko (Employee of the Month) Tom Courtney (board member), Michael Haecker (Certified Employee of the Month), Chelsea LaGrange (board vice-president), Samantha Kerestessy (Classified Employee of the Month), Jason Hansen (board clerk, and Jim Harvey (board member). Photo by Doug Beaton
LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. — CTE teacher Michael Haecker, custodian Samantha Kerestessy and Executive Assistant Marina Savchenko were named Employees of the Month during the December 15th meeting of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s Board of Trustees.
The awards were presented by Superintendent Peter Livingston, and the school board and supporters congratulated the two.
Mr. Haecker joined the Lucerne Valley Middle High School team this year as the school’s new Graphic Arts and Product Engineering & Design teacher after nearly 20 years in the industry.
“Mr. Haecker has proven to be a natural in the classroom,” Mr. Livingston said. “His CTE students are quick to say that Mr. Haecker is their favorite teacher because he has a great understanding of where students are coming from and what they need to reinforce their learning. Students also report that Mr. Haecker’s classroom activities are of high interest and tie-in to the major points of the units being taught.”
Moreover, he is flexible, cooperative, and shows a willingness to share ideas while bringing out the best in other people. Mr. Haecker and his Product Engineering class recently designed in 3D CAD software a Prize Wheel for the Fall Festival. Additionally, his Digital Arts classes designed and created tumblers for the WASC visiting committee. Currently his classes are creating Christmas ornaments for the entire LVMHS staff.
Samantha Kerestessy (Classified)
A custodian for four years at Lucerne Valley Elementary, Sam is truly one of the hardest working persons on the entire LVES campus and is constantly on the go, Mr. Livingston said, sharing from her nominator’s recommendation letter.
“Sam continually strives to ensure that our staff and students come in each day to a clean and safe campus. The elementary campus is full of daily ‘surprises’ and Sam rolls with the punches bouncing from one surprise to the next, all the while completing her daily tasks without cutting corners. She also takes on additional hours to complete tasks for other custodians when we are short-handed. She is always willing to step up and help anyone who needs assistance on our campus and or any of the other facilities in our district.
“Samantha is a conscientious employee and her work ethic is highly regarded by our staff and students. Her attention to detail is incredible. We are often amazed at how she can be in so many places at one time. It is highly likely that she dreams about the phrase, ‘Sam, you copy?’ as it is the most common question over the radio each day. The administrative team relies heavily on Samantha’s input and ability to identify safety issues which she either reports or fixes on her own and her input and opinions are highly valued at LVES.”
‘Surprise’ Employee of the Month, Marina Savchenko
Along with the Certificated and Classified Employees of the Month, the school district also presented a “surprise” Employee of the Month Award. That recognition was for Marina Savchenko, the Superintendent’s Executive Assistant.
“We decided we wanted to recognize and acknowledge an employee that is essential to our organization,” Mr. Livingston said. “Marina started with us in the 2021-22 school year. This employee has jumped right in from day one doing whatever is asked and serving the Superintendent and the school board as well as our public. Her customer service and willingness to help others is evident in her daily practice. She has helped across all departments at the district level and is very knowledgeable and resourceful.”