LVUSD Staff Gathers for Annual Breakfast

Nate Lambdin
Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin addresses the LVUSD staff.
Lucerne Valley Unified School District staff members came together for the annual Welcome Back Breakfast on Wednesday, August 2nd. Due to the increase in staff size, the event was held in the spacious Sgt. Brian L. Walker Gymnasium.
In fact, since Peter Livingston came aboard as superintendent eight years ago in July of 2016 the enrollment has increased by more than 55% from around 700 students to 1,100 today. Teacher and other staff have been added as needed, he said.
“We had our first breakfast in Goulding Hall, but now we’re too big,” Mr. Livingston said.
The superintendent welcomed the school board: President Jessica Risler, Vice-President Chelsea LaGrange, Jim Harvey and 29-year board member Tom Courtney, who led the attendees in the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Board clerk Jason Hansen was unable to attend.
Peter Livingston
Staff has increased in the last seven years, which prompted the district to hold its annual Welcome Back Breakfast in the district's largest facility, the Sgt. Brian Walker Memorial Gymnasium at the Middle High School, Superintendent Peter Livingston said.
Mr. Livingston thanked year-round staff members who worked hard to get the campuses ready for the upcoming school year. The dedicated Maintenance & Operations team along with contractors to make improvements and additions. Wood chips in the Lucerne Valley Elementary play areas are being removed and replaced with Pro Tect Turf for playgrounds. There now is a large field with the turf in the 4th through 6th grade area. 
Each department head introduced the new staff members. The following are the certificated staff members who were introduced at the Welcome Back Breakfast:
Michelle McKinney (started Dec 2022)
Alejandra Cortes-Candelas
Karen Hassan
Sheri Immel
Christen Latour
Heather Morales
Jacob Rodriguez- STEM Lab Teacher
Brittany Tatro
Jason Story (Started Jan 2023)
Jessica Haecker- AAIIAC (former Teacher on Special Assignment, promoted to Assistant Administrator of Instructional Improvement and  Academic Coaching for the 23/24 school year)
Eric Arthurton (started Sept 2022)
Jessica Alley
Mary Vasquez
Jacob Capps
Abigail Jimenez Ochoa
Jacob Klinger
Ashley Lear
Cynthia Parker
Connor Wiedeman
Olga Fisher- Asst. Superintendent of Business
Tiffany Ayers-Cope- District Nurse
Also, Transportation Department head Kimberly Snow introduced new team member Carrie Deason, and Food Services head Cindy Lattin Oliveira introduced Mimi Godden and Christy Rees, who returns from last year.
Peter Livingston raffle
Staff members won raffle prizes at the Welcome Back Breakfast.
When Mr. Livingston came to the district there were only 350 students at the elementary school. The staff asked if they could have a pizza party when they hit the 400 mark. Several pizza parties later and the elementary school has an enrollment of around 620. 
“Each one of you is a difference maker,” said Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin. “No matter what role you have, you make an impact.”
Mr. Lambdin introduced Jessica Haecker, who recently was named the new Assistant Administrator of Instructional Improvement and Academic Coaching (AAIIAC) at the Middle High School. “She cares immensely for the kids in the district.”
Mr. Story also greeted the staff and said his first six months on the job have been inspiring. “I’m in awe,” he said.
Employees with specific years of service were also awarded at the event. (Story to come.)
Kevin Smilen
Kevin Smilen, the general sales manager at Victorville Motors, talked about the "It's A Gas To Go To Class" program that rewards lucky students with outstanding attendance to win a car.
Kevin Smilen, the general sales manager at Victorville Motors, spoke about the 10th annual “It’s A Gas To Go To Class” event that rewards high school students who maintain a good attendance. (This year the contest is open to students who have no more than three days absent.) Two cars will be won by the contestants, A Dodge Hornet and a Ram 1500 pickup truck. The event will be held April 20, 2024. He also announced the return of Pathways to Success, which will take place on February 22, 2024.
This year’s breakfast featured breakfast burritos, fruit and more by Café 247. Staff members received new polo shirts and received the inspirational book, “Coffee Bean,” which teaches readers “how to transform their environment, overcome challenges, and create positive change.”
“This is going to be a great year. I’m excited,” said Mr. Livingston. “Ready or not the kids are coming Monday (August 7th).”