Recognizing Wiseburn’s Employees of the 2021-22 Year

Each year, Wiseburn recognizes the efforts of a classified and a certificated staff member through our annual employee of the year awards.

Announced during our staff back to school event, these awards are dedicated to staff members each year who play an integral role in teaching and learning at our school sites, and provide a value add to whatever role or department for which they work.

This year, Wiseburn USD requested submissions from staff members to recommend their colleagues. Submitters were asked to detail why they picked their chosen nominee.

For classified employee of the year, nominees were considered in the context of work performance, school community involvement, and leadership and commitment.

For certificated employee of the year, nominees were considered based on how the nominee demonstrates a commitment to excellence, dedication to all students, leadership to colleagues, and participation as a member of the school team.

Certificated Employee of the Year: Lauren Shakstad

Lauren Shakstad, our Physical Education teacher, received multiple nominations — a true testament to her impact on our school sites.

She attended local schools, went to the University of California, Los Angeles, for undergraduate work, and then attended the University of Arizona for a Masters Degree in Public Health. Shortly after, Lauren received a teaching credential from California State University at Humboldt.

She excelled in sports, playing and ultimately coaching soccer, and is an avid runner. Lauren has held a CrossFit certification and has welcomed staff to a CrossFit and exercise program on Fridays. She has also spent time volunteering for a Diabetes Camp in the San Bernadino Mountains that offers recreational, social, and educational opportunities for adolescents and families living with Type 1 diabetes. Lauren has also served as a health services manager for the Pediatric Therapy Network, a Health Educator at Children’s Hospital, Orange County, and as a P.E. Aide in Santa Monica USD.

About five years ago, Lauren was hired as a P.E. Teacher at Dana Middle School, before bringing her energy and enthusiasm to develop and implement the Elementary P.E. Program.

Here are just a few of the comments submitted about Lauren by her nominators:

“Lauren goes above and beyond to bring fitness to the district in a fun, creative and innovative way. She has taken the role of supporting district and school events, in addition to her PE class time.”

“Lauren has taken the Wiseburn P.E. Program to a whole new level. I have never seen students so excited about attending P.E. and wanting to challenge themselves athletically.”

“Lauren has over a thousand students and continues to believe in every student that they can reach their full potential. She knows students’ names, she communicates with teachers, and she cares about the interests and experiences of all her students.”

“Lauren helps run the ‘Run Club’ at Dana Middle School in addition to ‘Dolphin Fit’ for staff. During distance learning, Lauren did not simply find an online curriculum or settle. Instead, she created hundreds of self-made videos that were differentiated for various grade levels, engaging for all, and motivating for Wiseburn families. In addition, she offered live workout times for classes to attend on Zoom.”

“Lauren is a fabulous educator. I am always learning something new from her as a colleague, and am inspired by her creativity, positive energy, and passion for health!”

Wiseburn USD is thrilled to recognize Lauren as our 2021-22 Certificated Employee of the Year — congratulations Lauren!

Classified Employee of the Year: Elementary Health Clerks – Jennifer Murphy, Chiyo Miyahara, and Sarah Moulton

This year’s classified employee of the year is a trio — all three elementary school health clerks.

Jennifer Murphy started with Wiseburn just before the pandemic in 2019 as health clerk at Cabrillo Elementary School. Surely, she never anticipated the rollercoaster the next few years would bring and the impact it would have on the day-to-day work. When asked to provide some words to describe her, her colleagues described Jennifer as kind, dedicated, hard working, and diligent. They said she greets all with a smile, has a positive outlook, and really looks after all students.

Sarah Moulton, 138th Street School health clerk, started with the district in 2017 as a health clerk at Cabrillo and spent a couple years as the Secretary at Dana Middle School. She has continuously been involved in PTA and finds many ways to volunteer her time to the District in support of her two sons who attend our schools. Sarah also dedicates her time outside of the schools by supporting Wiseburn Little League as a current board member. She has been described as:
Meticulous with her work, having a tremendously positive rapport with parents and staff, thoughtful, prepared, engaged, and a wonderful person to be around.

Chiyo Miyahara, Anza Elementary School health clerk, is a long-term employee who started with the District in 1978 as a substitute instructional aide before becoming a library clerk in 1984. Just a couple years later, in 1986, Chiyo became a health clerk and would support the District in many ways, including as a substitute general clerk and Summer School clerk. She takes great pride in the fact that her children and grandchildren have gone through Wiseburn Schools. Chiyo has been described as someone who: Takes pride in her work, has good common sense and good judgment, has an excellent rapport with staff and students, is generous with her time, shows great sensitivity for others and shows warmth, dedication and compassion.

The nominators of the elementary school health clerks had many kind words to share:

“Knowing that they were in the office helped me feel safer as a staffer and a parent. They care so deeply about the community and are always available to console, cheer up, and come to the rescue of any member who is hurting or unwell. During these times, especially, they deserve special recognition!”

“Our health clerks have really taken the lead on fielding questions about a pandemic we're all still trying to wrap our heads around. Everyone looks to them for answers, help, and comfort. Through all the ups and downs of the pandemic, they are kind, calm, collected, and so capable. We are lucky to have them!”

The District is honored to present our three elementary school health clerks with the 2021-22 Classified Employee of the Year award. Congratulations, Jennifer, Sarah, and Chiyo!