June 01, 2007
Food Service supervisor Jay Holthe and school secretary Joanne Barham both accepted the Classified Employee of the Year Award at the annual employee barbecue, where hundreds of colleagues cheered the unprecedented tie.
Holthe works at Emerson Parkside Academy.
"I’m deeply honored," Holthe said upon accepting the honor. "I work at a wonderful place. I love Emerson. I’ve learned a lot from Nutrition Services. We really work hard to take care of the children and feed them."
Barham works at Bixby Elementary School.
"I’m just speechless," Barham told her colleagues. "I love the school. I love Long Beach Unified, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. And I love the children."
Holthe’s principal, Mark Andreatta, commended the café supervisor for helping to create a warm and comfortable environment in the Emerson cafeteria, where flowers adorn the tables, a woodland mural covers the walls, and students listen to music during meals.
"A kindergartner told his parents, ‘They don’t have a cafeteria at the school. They have a restaurant for kids!’" Andreatta wrote in the nomination form. Holthe earned praise for communicating regularly with the school counselor when students show changes in behavior or eating habits, so that the counselor can address any problems. She donates money for activities designed to promote healthy eating, and she works with certificated staff to analyze data and continually improve the school.
Many of Barham’s colleagues wrote of the long hours she works.
"She never says no. She has a huge heart and truly lives to see the kids happy," wrote teacher Susan Scott. Fellow teacher Jane Compton wrote, "She sets the tone for our school – cheerful and welcoming."
The two winners were among 64 employees, including 10 finalists, competing. The eight other finalists announced at the barbecue were: Millikan grounds supervisor Gilbert Breitzman; Cleveland instructional aide for deaf and hard of hearing students Carey Flake; Poly instructional aide-special Karen Gross; Cubberley plant supervisor Samuel Hill; Hamilton instructional aide-special Michael Jones, Jr.; LBSA campus security officer Fred Nathan; Wilson instructional aide-special Antoinette (Toni) Rouch; and McKinley instructional assistant-computer resources Thanh Van.