2015 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 2015 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.

Lee Anne Gaxiola

Lee Anne Gaxiola
Office Coordinator
Gilroy Chapter 69

After several years as an elementary school head secretary, Lee Anne has served as the office coordinator at Gilroy High School for more than six years. Lauded for her incredible work ethic and commitment to her job, Lee Anne is known for being very intuitive, often anticipating and responding to staff needs before they become issues.

Lee Anne is always there for students when they need, and often provides a sympathetic ear and shoulder to cry on. She also is a driving force in creating unity in the workplace, organizing meals with clerical staff to build camaraderie and improve morale.

In her first term as chapter president (2013), Lee Anne motivated her chapter to join the South Bay Labor Council and increased the number of scholarships awarded by her chapter to local high school students. Most recently, she was instrumental in her chapter’s successful effort to elect three pro-labor school board members—one of which was virtually unknown and defeated a longtime incumbent.

Lauro Jimenez

Lauro Jimenez
College of the Desert Chapter 407

Lauro has a reputation for being very knowledgeable and possessing a keen attention to detail in overseeing specialized and complex data that needs to be sent to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. Called a model classified employee, Lauro’s supervisors and co-workers rely greatly on his expertise. And when co-workers call his help desk, Lauro assists them with patience and respect.

Lauro is a mentor to student trustees and provides guidance to them in their roles and responsibilities to students. One student trustee said she is able to be a better trustee for her fellow students under Lauro’s tutelage. She said Lauro has inspired her to be an effective representative for their interests.

As chapter president since 2012, Lauro has worked long hours on his own time to help his members. Well-versed in budgets and dissecting complex information, Lauro is also more than acquainted with labor laws and quick to help a classified employee in need.

Debbi Partridge

Debbi Partridge
Multimedia Technician
Yosemite Community College District Chapter 420

Each day, Debbi arrives at Modesto Junior College before most students and faculty are even awake to ensure that computers, projectors and other devices in nearly 200 classrooms are ready for use when classes begin. Debbi is known by the instructors she supports as being someone that can solve any problem that arises, which is one of the reasons she can’t walk across campus without being stopped by co-workers that need help!

Debbi recognizes that what she does directly supports student success. Her commitment to doing whatever she can to aid or enhance student learning is a testament to her work ethic. To accomplish this, Debbi keeps current with the cutting-edge of instructional technology to ensure that instructors and students have access to the best tools available.

Currently the chapter secretary, Debbi has also held numerous other positions including filling in for vacancies when necessary. She approaches her CSEA work the same as with her job—with an attitude of humility and service. When asked why she puts in so many hours to help her fellow members, her response is “I’m just doing what needs to be done.”

Paul Rasso

Paul Rasso
Office Machine Technician
Colton Chapter 244

For more than 18 years, Paul has been providing excellent service to the staff and students at Colton Unified. Paul is responsible for maintain the district copiers, delivering parts and assisting their pupil personnel services department. He’s known for going the extra mile to help others.

Paul has given much of his time and financial resources to support district families who have fallen on hard times. He’s also spearheaded efforts to raise funds for a skateboard park for at-risk teens. Most recently, Paul has been working with foster children in the schools to help give them the tools they need to succeed.

Currently chapter past president and Area F representative on the state Legislative Committee, Paul has held just about every office possible in his chapter. Paul never thinks twice about helping a member in need and always looks out for the best interests of his fellow members and CSEA as a whole. He is known as a leader, mentor, role model and friend through the chapter and district.

Margaret Warder

Margaret Warder
Intervention Paraeducator
Laguna Beach Chapter 131

Margaret has been helping struggling students for more than 10 years, providing much-needed support to help them learn reading skills, math and other subjects. Helping students in the classroom is only part of her contributions though—she also ensures students get to school safely every day as a crossing guard and is involved in the district’s GATE program and Red Ribbon Week.

Margaret is always first in line to teach after-school classes and work with students to plan activities and events. This year, Margaret was instrumental in coordinating the No One Eats Alone program, which aims to end social isolation in schools.

As chapter president for the past six years, Margaret is always looking for proactive solutions to problems. She represents her members on a variety of district committees, and not only attends but participates in school board members to ensure her members are represented, their positions heard and valued, and present new ideas to help the district better serve the students of Laguna Beach.