Everyday Heroes


CSEA’s annual conference is a way to celebrate all its “Everyday Heroes” and the wide range of essential work they do each day, including: security, food services, office and technical, school maintenance and operations, transportation, academic assistance and paraeducator services, library and media assistance. Classified employees are the “backbone” of school districts, helping them function properly by working behind the scenes.

Tuesday, we had a chance to honor those employees who have gone above and beyond in service to their staff, families and, above all else, students. These Members of the Year each have inspiring stories to share: from rising above in the face of adversity, to advocating for employees legislatively, and empowering the union, to name a few.

This year’s honorees are:

We asked some of them what their favorite thing is to do at conference.

“One of my favorite things about conference is getting to see all of our members in action.”

Debbie Narvaes

“My favorite thing at conference is the networking.”

Ruben Santos

“I just love everything about it.”

Tina Switzer

Second day devoted to resolutions and retirement security

In addition to honoring the 2019 Members of the Year, delegates took action on resolutions and received an update on their retirement security.

Members put democracy into action

Delegates were busy throughout the day putting democracy into action as they debated and voted on several resolutions. Usually written and submitted by local CSEA chapters well in advance of conference, each resolution proposes some kind of change to CSEA's policies or constitution and bylaws. Some resolutions propose that CSEA sponsor legislation that will improve conditions for CSEA members and California's public schools. (Final action on this year's resolutions will be posted on Friday.)

CalPERS report and upcoming election

Former Association President and longtime CalPERS Board member Rob Feckner provided delegates with a detailed report on their pension system. He also offered a strong endorsement of CalPERS President Henry Jones, who CSEA supports for re-election to the CalPERS Board.

“It is paramount to re-elect CSEA’s endorsed candidate to the CalPERS Board,” Feckner said. “We simply cannot afford to lose this election. Henry Jones is CSEA’s endorsed candidate and he not only deserves your support, but frankly, he has earned your support and your vote!”

Ballots for the CalPERS election will be mailed on Aug. 30. Since Jones is the Retiree Representative, only retirees can vote in this election.

Feckner shared good news about the pension system, including the $904 million CalPERS buydown, which will ultimately free up funds for local school budgets. He also assured members that their pensions are secure.

“First of all, your pension benefits are safe,” Feckner said in his report. “Currently, we have about $360 billion in assets, and as of fiscal year 2017/18, our funded status was about 72 percent. That’s up from 64 percent two years ago. What that means is that we have roughly 72 percent of what we need to pay all the benefits we owe now and into the future, if all 1.9 million CalPERS members retired tomorrow!”

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