Congratulations to our Classified/Educational Support Employees of the Year!

We are excited to announce our Classified/Educational Support Employees of the Year. They are Karen Steinmetz as our Paraprofessional of the Year; April Bunce as our Secretary of the Year; Robby Thompson as our Head Custodian of the Year; Jan Cardon as our Lunch Manager of the Year; and Debbie Cooper as our Bus Driver of the Year. Congratulations to all of these exceptional employees! We appreciate their enthusiasm and diligence toward serving our students, teachers, and schools.

 

Karen Steinmetz

 

Paraprofessional of the Year: Karen Steinmetz (South Cache Middle School)

After searching for a “mom job” that would work with her kids' schedules, Karen Steinmetz found a career in working as a paraprofessional. Now, long after her kids have graduated and moved on, she is still working in a job she has come to treasure. “I just love the people here and love the kids,” Steinmetz commented. “I love helping the students and assisting the teachers who are always just so thankful and great to me.”

 

Steinmetz has worked as a paraprofessional in the district for 15 years. She worked at Willow Valley Middle School before it was replaced by Wellsville Elementary and is currently at South Cache Middle School. The most rewarding part of the job for her is watching the students blossom in school. “Working with kids and watching them learn and grow is rewarding,” Steinmetz explained. “I like them to feel like they have a safe and happy place to come to. What’s most rewarding to me is to have them be happy.”

 

South Cache Principal Randy Bennion said he received a flurry of comments from faculty and staff after the announcement that Karen is the district’s Paraprofessional of the Year. One of them read, “Karen is absolutely the best, and our Special Ed team couldn’t do it without her!” Another colleague described her as “positive with the students and teachers, and so good at making sure needs are met.”



April Bunce

 

Secretary of the Year: April Bunce (Canyon Elementary)

April Bunce’s desk in Canyon Elementary’s front office is a hub of students, parents, staff, energy, information, and positivity. And, she would likely add, “caffeine!” After spending a few moments talking with her and observing just a handful of her responsibilities and roles, it’s easy to see why she is considered an invaluable part of the school–she runs the show, and she does it well. 

 

Bunce has worked at Canyon Elementary for 14 years. She started out as an office aide/lunch secretary but, after six years, moved into the main office secretary position. “It’s been a wild ride,” she confided, laughing. “But, I’ve loved it.” She credits the incredible team of teachers and staff at Canyon with making her job enjoyable, even during changes and challenging times. That, and the funny things that students say each day. “It’s what makes the job worth it,” she said. “There’s never a dull moment.”

 

One of April’s colleagues described her remarkable ability to juggle the “thousands of demands and requests that she gets every day, with a smile, and with very little recognition or even appreciation.” Another colleague stated,  “She makes our school look good because everyone who comes into the school gets to interact with her, and she always has a smile on her face and a can-do attitude!” 



Robby Thompson

 

Head Custodian of the Year: Robby Thompson (Mountainside Elementary)

When presenting Robby Thompson with the district’s Head Custodian of the Year award, Mountainside Elementary Principal Cam Amott described him as “the kind of custodian and person that every principal and student hopes to have in their building.” He went on to describe a snowy school day when Thompson hurried to clean up after lunch and shovel the sidewalks so he could head out and clear the snow off all of the teacher’s cars. “And that’s just the way Robby is,” Amott said, “he serves with love and with passion.”

 

In addition to looking for ways to serve the school’s staff and students, Thompson also likes to have fun and make others laugh. He described playing pranks on his co-workers as one of his favorite parts of the job, second only to interacting with students. “I really enjoy scaring teachers and playing jokes to just lighten the mood,” he explained, laughing.

 

Thompson appreciates the beauty of the area where Mountainside Elementary is located since he grew up on a dairy farm in Clarkston. Farm life taught him to value hard work, a trait that has served him well during his 20 years as a custodian for the school district. He helped to open Canyon Elementary for three years and then worked for a time at Park Elementary before heading to Mountainside.



Debbie Cooper

 

Bus Driver of the Year: Debbie Cooper

Debbie Cooper has been a bus driver for Cache County School District for 34 years. She’s driven routes on both the north and south ends of Cache Valley. She has been doing it long enough that she’s now driving the children of children she drove earlier in her career. This longevity has allowed her to establish meaningful connections with the children and families on her bus route.

 

Cooper’s rural route in Cornish provides her with a unique experience while driving the bus. “I’m either on a cow trail or a highway,” she explained, “So, I have a lot of speed, and then I have roads that don’t get plowed. I don’t have any city blocks.” CCSD Transportation Administrator, Wayne Reese, acknowledges and appreciates Cooper’s emphasis on safety and her ability to adeptly respond to any situation that comes her way. “Debbie handles it because she cares about her kids,” Reese explained.

 

According to Cooper, the extensive training and guidance that she and other district bus drivers receive makes all the difference. “Because we have the support we have, it makes our job easier,” she said. 



Jan Cardon

 

Lunch Manager of the Year: Jan Cardon (River Heights Elementary)

Jan Cardon is a ray of sunshine. You can’t help but feel her warmth when you enter the cafeteria at River Heights Elementary. And, after 30 years at the school, she has her job down to a science. “Jan has served over one million meals to students!” exclaimed Child Nutrition Supervisor Susan Wallentine as she presented Cardon with the award for CCSD Lunch Manager of the Year. “As you know, these kids come in, and they see the cooks’ smiles, and then they smile from ear to ear.” Wallentine continued, “This is an award that Jan really does deserve!”

 

“Jan truly is one of the most positive, happy people you could ever meet in your life, and we know the impact that [positivity] has on the cafeteria every day,” agreed River Heights Principal Stacie Williamson. “She carries the weather in the cafeteria, and she has wonderful, positive weather going on in there!”

 

Cardon, who started out as a cook for four years before moving into her current position as lunch manager, is retiring this year after her wonderful contribution to the school district. She shared that her favorite thing about her job is the students and her co-workers. “I just love how genuine and personable everyone is,” she said. “I love the feeling in the school!”