2017 Members of the Year

Honorees exemplify dedication to students, devotion to CSEA

Each year, CSEA honors members who provide exemplary service to California students and dedication to the ideals and goals of our union with the Members of the Year award. The five honorees selected as 2017 Members of the Year provide excellent service at their jobs, forge real connections with students, and show they care through their actions. These individuals understand their role in education and in our union. They know that going that extra mile will help students succeed, and that classified employees make a difference. Their supervisors and coworkers recognize their diligence and dedication, and CSEA congratulates them for this distinct honor.

Lisa Montelli

Lisa Montelli

Media Specialist
Saint Helena Chapter 287

Lisa knows the names of all her students and tries to make a personal connection with each one. She always put their needs first. She will advocate for students that need help and offer to be part of the solution. She holds students accountable for their actions in a loving way. Thus, the students love her and look up to her.

She serves as chapter treasurer, Fellowship Committee representative for collaboration with the district, and Budget Committee. More importantly, from the moment you meet Lisa, you will notice her smile and warm demeanor. She is the brightest light in any room she occupies and her desire to provide a wonderful day for each person she meets in apparent to all. She is quite simply “the heart and soul” of her school.

Kim Richins

Kim Richins

Simi Valley Chapter 310

Kim loves the students unconditionally and is an advocate for them as far as their safety and well-being is concerned. Her conviction to stand up for the rights of the student population has never wavered. During her work day, she is the most positive part of the classroom environment. She is most known for her gentle nature and positive outlook.

She can diffuse difficult situations and keep things positive. Kim is always a team player. She also works tirelessly to help maintain a commitment of high standards of performance for herself and for those with whom she works. She has a knack for seeing issues from different perspectives, always keeping in mind the professional contract obligations, behavior, attention to job description and task, and most importantly, what is best for the students involved.

Sue Studer

Sue Studer

Account Tech
Lucia Mar Chapter 275

Sue’s creativity and spunk are two key things she contributes to any group. Her positive attitude while assisting all walks of district staff daily truly helps all do their jobs better, which in turn produces positive results for the students.

In her position as Chapter Treasurer, Sue works with the human resources department to ensure that all classified members are given the proper paperwork to become members. She even took it upon herself to conduct a monthly member orientation where she made herself available to help new hires get their CSEA paperwork completed. She sends out the monthly newsletter.

She is cheerful, full of humor and very knowledgeable, making her the one that staff call first with questions.

Maria Tapia

Maria Tapia

Ocean View Chapter 599

Maria is a librarian with the school district. She was also a campus supervisor who took on supervising the district’s lunch detention program. She handled students with a calm, yet firm manner. She loves to take on new tasks with great ease.

She is respected by all staff. She has been assigned to coordinate the Accelerated Reading program at the high school, with students clamoring to get into the library. With her dedication and her skillful handling of every task, she has made the library the most lovable place on campus. Students and staff alike spend so much of their time in the library because they feel at home and know the importance of reading, as emphasized by Maria.

As the chapter president said, “there are so many words to describe Maria, but the one thing that really defines her is the phrase “Everyone loves Maria!”

Ron Walker

Ron Walker

Orland Chapter 456

Ron is a bus driver, custodian and gardener! The job of a bus driver is not easy. It takes a very special person to be able to care for all the students and still drive safely. Ron does it with ease. He knows all the kids on the bus by name and says good morning to each one of them. He supports and cares for all.

For many years, he worked as a night custodian. He patiently waited until he could have a site of his own. He takes every job and does it with pride. It is not just cleaning the bathrooms and getting them done. His attitude has always been, is this clean enough for the kids? While vacuuming in a classroom, if Ron comes across a desk that is wobbly, he takes the time to fix it right then.

Ron is very professional and holds himself to high standards. He is always doing for others before thinking of himself. He is a person you can always count on to be there for you.

Awards News

2017 Life Membership and Honor Roll

Conference Delegates posthumously bestowed Life Membership to former Association Secretary and Area C Director Donna D’Arcy. Four CSEA retirees were also added to CSEA's Honor Roll: Roxie Allen, Jeanne Foster, Arlina Montez and Rowena Smith.

2017 Activist of the Year

Peggy Wray, of Lakeside Chapter 240, was named the 2017 Richard C. Bartlett Activist of the Year.

2017 Humanitarian of the Year

Delia Alvarado from Retiree Council 5008 was named the 2017 William P. Schwartz Humanitarian of the Year.

CSEA member wins RISE Award

Paul Rasso, an office equipment technician for Colton schools and member of Colton Chapter 244, was honored in Washington D.C. as one of the 2017 Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award winners.

2017 Members of the Year

CSEA congratulates its 2017 Members of the Year: Lisa Montelli, Kim Richins, Sue Studer, Maria Tapia and Ron Walker.

2017 Classified School Employees of the Year

Six outstanding classified employees were honored by the California Department of Education for their dedication to our public school students. Five of the employees are CSEA members.

2017 Communication Awards

A total of 117 entries were received from 33 chapters and one retiree council. The CSEA Communications Committee commends all who entered the competition.