Star Award 2009-2010

Recognize those who help local students reach for the stars!  

The Star Award recognizes classified employees who... go above and beyond in fulfilling their positions, makes a positive difference, and provides truly outstanding support.

2009-2010 Star Award Recipients

Fellows and Star awards

Photo left to right: Bert Alcarez-Ochoa, Nestor Valdivia, Patty Cardoza, Shauna Gilberti, Abbie Stewart, Reina Markheim, Dana Hurt, Debbi Spohr

Patty Cardoza, Truckee High School Computer Aide
Patty Cardoza is described as consistently going above and beyond in her job - and she always does so with a smile!  A co-worker shared that she would enter student’s records one by one into the computer four times a year as class schedules changed.  When asked if there was a better way to make the updates, Ms. Cardoza solved the problem by writing a computer program from scratch.

She is an integral part of her school site, helping students and faculty succeed technologically. In addition to overseeing the computer lab, she maintains over 200 networked computers, including 3 servers, the school-wide voice-over IP phone system and numerous software programs which keep the campus running. It was even pointed out that with her help, not one hour was billed to tech support as she was able to install, support and maintain all of the systems on her own.  She is described not as a computer aide, but a computer STAR.

Nestor Valdivia, Alder Creek Middle School Head Custodian
It is very apparent when Nestor Valdivia is at work.  One person wrote that he cares for the school buildings and grounds as he would care for his own home.  Additionally, a co-worker stated that she has “never experienced such dedication in any other custodian in all her years of teaching.”  He takes great pride in his work.

Mr. Valdivia volunteers his time and expertise on a school landscaping project. He even keeps an extra eye on the vegetation during the summer months while the rest of the staff is away. 

One teacher said, “He provides an ever-present sense of calmness at the school site when unexpected issues arise. He is dedicated to completing his job with integrity on a daily basis.”

Sue Salas, Special Education District Administrator
Sue Salas has been a part of the school district for over 20 years.  A co-worker wrote, “One definition of a star is a person who is preeminent in a particular field. And this describes Sue!”  She is said to be the glue or backbone that holds her department together. 

Ms. Salas is the quintessential multi-tasker. She is constantly greeting visitors, communicating with over 40 personnel in her department, collaborating with other departments, assisting parents and students, translating, and even offering to baby-sit.  Her co-workers hope she never retires – even saying that they can’t envision life in the department without her!

However, Ms. Salas is probably best know for her Friday morning coffee club. She allows students in her office for the first half-hour of the day to visit and have a morning treat. Students work really hard all week just so that they can attend!

Humberto Alcarez-Ochoa, North Tahoe High School Custodian and Boys Soccer Coach
In addition to keeping his school site immaculate, Humberto Alcarez-Ochoa is a great role model and he has been especially significant in the lives of the Latino students.  He has helped numerous students graduate - students that otherwise might have dropped out early.  He teaches discipline and hard work, while offering leadership, support and guidance.  A student wrote, “He is a mentor…he is very important in my life because he holds me accountable for studying and training and supports me along the way.  He makes sure that I am always getting good grades and being a good student so I can play sports…he fills a void in our lives…we appreciate everything he does for our school and community…we would be lost without him.”

A co-worker echoed this sentiment by writing, “He has extremely high expectations for these boys in soccer, in academics and their behavior. Because of his constant care and mentoring the boys respect him, and they work hard in school so they can play soccer…many students are not only passing, but excelling in classes.”