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Cabrillo Instructional Aide is Employee of Year

Martha Jenkins

Martha Jenkins, an instructional aide-special at Cabrillo High School, has earned the Classified Employee of the Year Award from the Long Beach Unified School District. The award was announced during a recent celebration in honor of classified employees at the Teacher Resource Center.

“The award is not why you do the job, but I think it’s great,” Jenkins said after being presented with a plaque while colleagues cheered. “People do need to be recognized so that other people can see that what we’re doing is beneficial to the children,” she said. 

Jenkins began working for LBUSD in 2012 as a second career after 34 years as a paralegal with the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Several colleagues nominated her for the award.

“Ms. Jenkins has always been attentive to our students and staff,” stated one colleague who nominated her. “She works in the Special Day Program, supporting our teachers and working with students in small groups and individually.”

Jenkins also tends to a campus garden that is enjoyed by many.

“Cabrillo would not have a garden without Ms. Jenkins,” a colleague wrote. “She has worked tirelessly on our garden to make it beautiful and safe for all to enjoy. She spends a great amount of her own money and usually does not request for reimbursement even when asked to do so. She has introduced different types of plants, herbs, flowers and vegetables, in addition to leading short lessons with our students. For example, some of our students have never seen or smelled certain herbs like Thai basil, lemongrass or mint leaves. Ms. Jenkins challenged them to use their senses of smell, touch and sight when exploring these plants, and they would walk away feeling amazed. Each month she sets up a celebration theme for the garden. For example, Ms. Jenkins decorated signs and iconic items to celebrate Black History Month and Autism Awareness Month.”

“I have had the pleasure of hearing some comments about Ms. Jenkins from students and staff, as they have described her as a kind, wonderful, helpful, patient and smart person,” a colleague further stated. “I would describe Ms. Jenkins as an amazing and thoughtful individual. She has a contagious smile as you just can’t help but to smile back at her. That smile can brighten anyone’s day, especially for those who need it the most.”

More than 30 nominations for the award were narrowed down to five finalists, including Jenkins. 

The four other finalists were Meleselisa Brown, human resources technician at Nutrition Services; Kimberlie Frederick, instructional aide - special at Madison; Kehaulani Fujikami, business development and marketing specialist at Equity, Engagement and Partnerships; and Yadira Tellez, recreation aide at Stevenson.

  • 2023
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