Merced County educators honored at ‘Excellence in Education’ program
Fourteen educators in Merced County were honored Wednesday during the Merced County Office of Education’s annual Excellence in Education program, with three of them earning top educator awards.
The top educators were:
- Top teacher: Janis Edwards, teacher-librarian at Livingston High
- Top school employee: Jennifer Rivera, teacher at Elmer Wood Elementary
- Top administrator: Rosa Barragan, program manager for MCOE Early Education Department
Edwards, an educator for 20 years who has been in her current role for the last six, expanded Livingston High’s library media center with a maker lab, with tools that aren’t normally accessible to students, according to a MCOE news release.
Rivera, a first-year third grade teacher, was a community outreach coordinator for Elmer Wood Elementary when she was nominated, according to MCOE.
She was nominated for inspiring school spirit and pride, including organizing giving graduating sixth grade students “a big send-off” as teachers and other students cheered them on.
Barragan has worked for the MCOE for 13 years, according to the office. Among the programs she oversees include the child care subsidy program, the IMPACT program that helps child care providers improve access to education and the Parent Leadership Training Institute.
Other honorees on Wednesday included:
- Heather Arnold, fourth grade teacher at Elmer Wood Elementary
- Rochelle Cotta, reading intervention teacher at Gustine Middle School
- Sonia Falaschi, agriculture teacher at Los Banos High
- Carolyn Rodriguez, career and technical education medical pathways instructor at Delhi Medical Academy of Science
- Leticia Villa, fourth grade teacher at Pioneer Elementary
- Suzanne Greenwood, instructional aide at El Capitan Elementary
- Lisa Chavez Miske, library clerk and instructional aide at Romero Elementary
- Tina Marie Sanchez, administrative assistant at Creekside Junior High
- Maribell Perez-Aguilar, administrative secretary for MCOE GROW program
- Daron Gregston, groundskeeper at Golden Valley High
- Jennifer L. Euker, associate principal for guidance and counseling at Golden Valley High
“This is a moment to say thank you to our educators,” said Steve Tietjen, Merced County superintendent of schools.
Members and supporters of several school districts in Merced County gathered Wednesday at the Merced Theatre to honor the employees.
Introductions were given by Tietjen and Elizabeth J. Dooley, President-CEO of Educational Employees Credit Union, which sponsored the program.
Casey Steed of Radio Merced, a longtime Merced resident, was the master of ceremonies for the program and announced each honoree and award winner.
Videos of the employees were shown depicting them at work. Special videos of Edwards, Rivera and Barragan were played when they were announced to the stage.
The three top educators were humbled by the recognition.
“I think it just motivates us to keep making a difference in the lives of our students,” Rivera said. “That our efforts are being thought of and being seen as something positive in the community, just wants us to do more and achieve more for our students.”
Rivera and Edwards will move on to apply at the state awards program, according to MCOE.
“These professionals have an impact on our future,” said Los Banos Unified School District Superintendent Mark Marshall, who attended the program. “This is very important for us to remember. The Merced County Educator of the Year Celebration is a great way to take a moment to say thank you to some of our everyday heroes.”