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Atwater teacher, maintenance leader named top educational employees

Annie Delgado
Annie Delgado Merced County Office of Education

Annie Delgado, a Buhach Colony High School government teacher in Atwater, and Steve Ballard, a maintenance supervisor in the Business Services Department at the Merced County Office of Education, have been named the top employees in the annual Excellence in Education awards program.

Delgado topped eight other contenders for the teacher award, and Ballard was named tops over five other contenders for classified or non-teaching support employees.

Ballard and Delgado received their awards Tuesday night at the ninth annual Excellence in Education awards ceremony at the Merced Theatre.

Delgado teaches government, economics, women’s studies and AVID college preparation courses at Buhach Colony. She also leads and coordinates a mentor program to bridge the gap between high school and college life.

An adjunct professor at Brandman University in Modesto, Delgado oversees a UC-approved women’s studies course she developed for the Merced Union High School District.

Delgado, in her 14th year of teaching, will move on to the state teacher awards program.

“I can’t believe it,” Delgado said. “It’s representative of my students and how they push me to be a better educator.”

Ballard has worked for MCOE for more than 20 years. He supervises maintenance staff and their many projects. “I enjoy working with our team because we have a great group of guys that work in maintenance,” Ballard said.

Though he manages time sheets and tracks maintenance projects, Ballard can do construction, electrical, plumbing and a variety of other work.

“One of my favorite parts of the job is remodeling some of the older facilities and seeing that they have new life,” Ballard said. “I show up, I do my job and I give 100 percent. That’s the way I raised.”

Contenders for the top teacher award included Rachel Trumm with the Atwater Elementary School District, Joanna Conrado with the Ballico-Cressey School District, Omar Sahagun of the Delhi Unified School District, Gail Tallman of the Gustine Unified School District, Ila Nelson of the Los Banos Unified School District, Jennifer Freitas of the Merced City School District, Crystal Sousa of the county schools office and Robin Scott Jones of the Weaver Union School District.

Others in the running for School Employee of the Year were Alfred Q. Perez of the Atwater Elementary School District, Diana King of the Delhi Unified School District, Maria E. Gomez of the Gustine Unified School District, Susie Sagouspe of the Los Banos Unified School District and Brenda Terry of the Merced Union High School District.

Honorees and their guests enjoyed video vignettes produced by Merced Educational Television in the historic downtown Merced theater along with a dessert reception immediately after the ceremony. The event was hosted by MCOE and the Educational Employees Credit Union.

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