“Celebrating the role of non-certificated individuals in school success reinforces everything we do in education,” said Superintendent Dr. Doug Kimberly, “the Citizen Awards Program reflects the high value we place on partnerships and community involvement.”
LEUSD’s 2017 Citizen Awards honorees in four categories include:
Elementary Student: Aimee Hanlyn, Grade 4—this William Collier Elementary School student is a shining model of compassion, according to her fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Jessie Rubner. For Aimee, seeing a peer struggle with a challenging disability, and preventing anyone in class from feeling unaccepted, is her calling to model patience, friendship, and welcoming others in a kind-hearted way.
Secondary Student: Matthew Welton, Ortega High School, Grade 11—in the space of six months high school counselor Victor Bond and others observed the remarkable transformation of an angry new foster student towards self-improvement, personal achievement, and community service, the result of new found acceptance and self-actualization during his time at Ortega HS. Though Matthew recently left the district and attends school in another city, Matthew exemplifies the Ortega High School motto, “our past does not dictate our future.”
Parent Volunteer: Warren Hill, Elsinore Middle School. Described as a servant leader by school administrators, Mr. Hill has volunteered with Elsinore Middle School for more than six years. He helped start the school’s “WatchDogs” team, a group of fathers dedicated to voluntary school service and positive role modeling for students. Though his grandchildren no longer attend EMS, Mr. Hill shows up dutifully rain or shine, cleaning up the quad area after student lunch, listening to students and showing he cares about their interests and school challenges. Mr. Hill has established an excellent rapport with counselors, teachers, and school staff, often spontaneously treating staff to pizza, a big hit in the faculty break room.
Community Partner (a tie vote resulted in two honorees):
- Theresa Blackard, Positive Solutions—completing school and graduating is the claim of any successful student; turning it around for failing students is the mark of a successful support program. Theresa Blackard, founder of Positive Solutions, is credited with measurably increasing LEUSD’s graduation rate by connecting with hundreds of at-risk students, providing tools for their academic and life success.
- Dr. Jerry Saks—an octogenarian and retired pediatrician, Dr. Saks has dedicated his life to the well-being of children. Dr. Saks voluntarily serves the SNAP/SET 4 School Program for LEUSD and other school districts. Dr. Saks’ role on each Child Study Team is unmatched in providing expertise from the perspective of Pediatric Medicine. He interprets medical reports and calls physicians to help parents and school staff clarify children's diagnoses. He is driven by the belief that supporting parents and their children is integral to happy, healthy families.
These honorees will be presented with the Citizen Award as part of LEUSD’s Appreciation Reception honoring teachers of the year, employees of the year, and district retirees, on May 9, 2017 at Pins ‘n Pockets, in Lake Elsinore.
The Citizen Awards Program is also aligned with parent involvement and community engagement state priority areas that support student college and career readiness.