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MUSD board honors trio as top educators
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Editor’s note: The first of a two-part story on Manteca Unified School District’s Classified Employees and Educators of the Year.

They’re the best in their respective fields.
And last week, the Manteca Unified Board of Education honored the Classified Employees and Educators of the Year at the district’s annual celebration – recognizing certificated employees at every grade level and support staff that go above and beyond to improve the educational experience for all students at their respective sites.
As a counselor at Manteca Day School, D’drea Black received the honor in the support staff educator category for consistently excelling at connecting with students and leaving a lasting impact on the students that she works with.
“Mrs. Black is the backbone that keeps the school running and our students on track. She is an advocate for students who might not otherwise have or believe in their voice,” Manteca Day School Principal Jillian Friend wrote. “She provides students the opportunity to build confidence when their home circumstances really wouldn’t warrant that.
“To say Mrs. Black is an important part of the Manteca Day School community doesn’t do her justice.”
At Sierra High School, Marlene Martin was honored as the district’s top secondary educator for her work to keep students involved in the learning experience and for her hard work at honing her craft to allow her to reach as many students as possible.
“Marlene Martin has an integral presence on the Sierra High campus,” Sierra High School Vice Principal Anne Marie Shaw wrote. “She is a focused and energetic instructor in the English department and works tirelessly to meet the varying needs of her students, while keeping them engaged as active participants in their own learning.”
At the Great Valley Annex in Weston Ranch, Javier Dominguez-Olea was tapped as the district’s top educator for seventh and eighth grade for the current school year for his devotion to his students and to the community in which he serves – turning students onto science and serving as a positive role model in the process.
“Mr. Dominguez-Olea is an exceptional teacher. He is passionate about science and doing what is best for kids,” wrote Great Valley Annex Principal Lisa Goodwin. “We feel very fortunate to have Mr. Dominguez on our staff. He is caring and compassionate to our students and goes above and beyond to make Great Valley a great place to be for our community.”
The district’s awards, which are given out every spring, encapsulate the best of the district which serves more than 24,000 students in Manteca, Lathrop, French Camp and Weston Ranch. Certain certificated personnel and classified employees, like Martin, who were honored at the event will be forwarded on to the San Joaquin County Office of Education for consideration for the honors of San Joaquin County’s Employee and Teacher of the Year, which will be named later.