Gilroy honors school staff for ‘invaluable’ service

Four Gilroy Unified School District employees were named award recipients in the 2019 Employee Recognition Program.

The four, one from each of the district’s employee bargaining units, were recognized by Superintendent Deborah Flores and trustees at the March 21 Board of Education meeting.

The honorees are Stuart Hults, Vania Alvarez, Connie Mendoza and Patricia Pelino.

Hults, a mechanic for the district’s transportation department, was nominated by supervisor Trish Tice and colleagues Cory Samuelson and Fabiola Mateos Rivera for 31 years of service and “his visible support for school bus drivers and the students of Gilroy Unified School District,” according to staff.

Alvarez, a Special Education paraeducator at Ascension Solorsano Middle School, was nominated by colleague Jenna Gutierrez “because she is the epitome of someone who gives herself to others and because she goes above and beyond to help foresee the needs of the students and staff.”

Mendoza, a dual immersion third-grade teacher at Rod Kelley Elementary School, was nominated by fellow teacher Jennifer Roderick “for her patience and sense of humor that helps her team get through the tough days, as well as her willingness to listen to new ideas and ability to share great ideas.”

Pelino, the principal of Eliot Elementary School, was nominated by colleague Reilly McBride “for her drive to find ways to improve as a leader or improve her school site. She is always striving for success and high achievement for all and models that attitude when speaking with colleagues and students alike.”

The Gilroy school district’s program allows any staff member, regardless of position and bargaining unit, to nominate another staff person for their contributions and hard work.

“This program was established in 2017 and is a wonderful way for our staff and leadership, as well as the community to recognize the individual who make our district such a great place to work,” said board president James Pace. “We are proud of our employees every day and we are excited to celebrate them on March 21.”

The selection committee, comprised of representatives from each of the units, reviewed 45 nominations and presented four finalists to the district’s seven-member cabinet, which approved the recommendations made by the committee.

“As always with these types of programs, it was a difficult decision because so many of our staff make incredible contributions in their own individual way on a daily basis benefiting our students, staff and community,” Flores said. “I am thrilled with the four individuals who we are recognizing, and am proud of their contributions to the district.”