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San Juan Unified names 2024 Classified Employees of the Year

San Juan Unified names 2024 Classified Employees of the Year

San Juan Unified is proud to acknowledge the incredible efforts of our classified employees who exceed expectations for the district and its schools. Our 2024 Classified Employees of the Year are inspiring examples, highlighting what sets San Juan Unified apart as a unique and impactful district.

This year’s recipients made significant contributions to the organization through their respective positions that have positively impacted how San Juan Unified serves our schools and families. Learn more about the three classified employees who share the honor of Classified Employee of the Year.

Ivy Akbari - Akbari is the principal’s secretary at Encina Preparatory High School and was described as someone with an “ability and willingness to always go above and beyond,” regularly taking on tasks that exceed the normal job duties of a secretary. 

In addition to creating a new college and career newsletter for students, Akbari is also known around campus as “the heart and soul of Encina,” constantly being the go-to person who regularly attends school and community events outside of the work day. 

“Even though she spends most of her time in the office, she seems to know almost every kid on campus! She has comforted them when they are having meltdowns, and celebrated them when they achieved their goal,” said her nominator. “The kiddos all love Miss Ivy!”

Lanesia Foster - Foster, an instructional assistant at Carriage Drive Elementary School, is one of the longest tenured staff at Carriage with 25 years of service under her belt. Her nominator described her as “an incredible educator” with a positive attitude and a willingness to lend out a listening ear to both stressed students and teachers. 

As an inclusion instructional assistant, Foster supports students with autism who are being integrated into general education classes. Her nominator also said that “every classroom teacher who has worked with Lanesia has been disappointed when Mrs. Foster had to leave her classroom at the end of the year, which is a testament to Lanesia’s amazing personality and dedication to her work.”

Jose Rios - Rios is the head custodian at Thomas Edison Language Institute who “makes it his mission to serve anyone that needs assistance.” He was nominated as Classified Employee of the Year by several different people, with a common theme in all nomination forms: an unwavering reliability and special ability to bond with students. 

“Jose Rios works non-stop for the district. If he is not working at Edison, he is moving around to other school sites to provide support,” said one his nominators. 

“Jose is not just a custodian, he is the life blood of Edison” said another nominator. “He makes coming to work a joy and he lets everyone know he is there for them.”