When Sierra High School’s band director Richard Hammarstrom, Jr. accepted his plaque as Manteca Unified’s 2013-2014 Outstanding Secondary Educator, he shared the recognition with one very important person in his life.
“Babe, this is mostly for you because you talked me out of resigning” seven years ago, was Hammarstrom’s brief and heartfelt comment addressed to his wife Eileen after receiving the award at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting.
Hammarstrom was one of five who were recognized as 2013-2014 Certificated Educators of the Year.
The other Educators of the Year award recipients and their categories were:
• Jennifer Smudrick, a teacher at George McParland Annex, as Outstanding Primary Educator;
• Sheryl Peters, a teacher at Brock Elliott School, as Outstanding Junior High School Educator;
• Caroline Mulry of Read 180 at Lathrop Elementary School, as Outstanding Support Service Educator; and,
• Melissa Manalastas of Brock Elliott School, as Outstanding Intermediate Educator.
Each of the awardees received their plaques with their school principals proudly standing next to them. In the audience were family members, some of their students and their families who attended the award ceremony to show their support and admiration. Several of Smudrick’s young students, who delivered an emotion-charged thank-you speech after she received her award, joined her at the podium during the ceremony.
Recognized also that evening were the five Classified Employees of the Year in Manteca Unified for the school year 2013-2014.
Recognized as San Joaquin County School Classified Employee of the Year during the same award presentation were:
• Ronnie LeMay, Maintenance, operations, and facilities category. He is head custodian II at Mossdale School in Lathrop.
• Marge Williams, para-educator and instructional assistance category, paraprofessional II at Neil Hafley School.
• Stella Oliver, office and technical category, office manager at Sierra High School.
• Eunice Steve, child nutrition category, main kitchen operator at George McParland School.