May 30, 2008
Poly High School office supervisor Phoebe McBennett accepted the Classified Employee of the Year Award recently at the annual employee barbecue, where loyal fans of the secretary cheered at the surprise announcement.
McBennett was one of 45 employees, including five finalists, vying for this year’s award.
“I’d like to thank the support staff and everyone at Poly,” McBennett said after the announcement. “They’re the best support staff. None of us does our work alone. It takes all of us working together. I’m happy to work in this school district. I think it’s the best district. I’d also like to thank our principal, Shawn Ashley, because I know he had a lot to do with this.”
Several Poly teachers and administrators nominated McBennett for the award. She has served as the school’s secretary at Poly – one of California’s largest high schools – for more than 13 years.
“Phoebe is an invaluable asset to Poly,” wrote English teacher Jeanne Vitale in nominating McBennett. “She makes everyone’s job easier because of her competence, her kindness, and her knowledge of the school and the district.”
Poly principal Shawn Ashley also nominated McBennett.
“Phoebe is far more than an accomplished, competent and efficient school secretary,” Ashley wrote. “She sets the tone by which families identify their child’s school, and eases the stress of staff and students by extending a caring ear followed by a helping hand. She models for the entire school how colleagues, parents and students are to be treated.”
The four other finalists announced at the Classified Employee Barbecue were Monroe K-8 School office supervisor Laura Martinez, Millikan High School campus security officer Beatriz Nieves, Lowell Bayside Academy office supervisor Betty Wohlgezogen, and Elementary Office executive secretary Joann Kageno.
Nominees for the award are those who support the LBUSD’s educational mission by contributing significantly to the classroom support and/or the business (non-school) operations of the district. They also demonstrate a commitment to being a team player and a positive role model for others, and they strive for excellence in personal performance.
McBennett also will be recognized at the June 3 Board of Education meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. in the Community Room of the Administration Building.