Clovis Unified educators soak up the spotlight at The Crystals

From top left: Debby Bagdasarian, Frances Bishop, Ray A. Blanco, Chris Blaufuss, Kristy Brinkley, Thomas Brocklebank, Patti Carpenter, Laura Collins, Tiffany Cooper, Larry Crayne, Cindy Dailey, Denise DenHartog, Ray Espinoza, Stephanie Frazier, Kendia Herrington, Jeff Hodges, Andrea “DeeDee” Jett, Karen L. Johnson, Donna Kawana, Judy Kobayashi, Laurette Lee, Sharon Magill, Denise Sandifer, Monica Schneider, Toni Shelby, Janis Tatum and Kent Younglund were the recipients of this year’s Crystal Awards. (Ron Webb/Clovis Unified School District)

A distinguished group of 27 employees were awarded with Clovis Unified School District’s highest honor before hundreds of friends, family and colleagues during the Crystal Awards ceremony held Feb. 28 at Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall.

Known as Clovis Unified’s version of the Oscars, The Crystals honor educators within the district who have gone above and beyond in meeting one of the district’s three aims of maximizing achievement for students; increasing efficiency and effectiveness; and hiring, training and maintaining a high quality, diverse workforce.

“This is one of my favorite nights and I am so proud of everyone we are here to recognize,” said CUSD Superintendent Dr. Eimear O’Farrell during her speech. “You are an amazing group of people. Let’s think about this for a moment: education is a profession that draws people with big hearts who want to make a positive difference for young people. That’s what educators do, isn’t it? From that field of special people, we in Clovis Unified strive to attract and even hire incredible individuals. If you wear an employee badge that says ‘Clovis Unified,’ we believe you have committed yourself to achieving at a higher standard, caring more deeply and working much harder than anyone in public education today.”

Nominated and selected by their peers as Crystal Award recipients, the following 27 individuals exemplify the “best of the best” of more than 6,000 Clovis Unified employees:

-Debby Bagdasarian, Office Supervisor, Fancher Creek Elementary School
-Frances Bishop, Fifth/Sixth Grade Teacher, Dry Creek Elementary School
-Ray A. Blanco, Plant Supervisor I, Boris Elementary School
-Chris Blaufuss, Third Grade Teacher, Cedarwood Elementary School
-Kristy Brinkley, Nurse, Nursing Services, Garfield and Century Elementary Schools
-Thomas Brocklebank, Learning Director, Clovis West High School
-Patti Carpenter, Activities Secretary, Clovis High School
-Laura Collins, Teacher Librarian, Clovis North Educational Center
-Tiffany Cooper, Office Supervisor, Cedarwood Elementary School
-Larry Crayne, Bus Driver, Transportation Department
-Cindy Dailey, Sixth Grade Teacher, Century Elementary School
-Denise DenHartog, Math Teacher, Clovis West High School
-Ray Espinoza, Instructional Assistant II, Mountain View Elementary School
-Stephanie Frazier, Guidance and Learning Specialist, Clovis High School
-Kendia Herrington, CTE Chemistry Teacher, Buchanan High School
-Jeff Hodges, Guidance Learning Director, Buchanan High School
-Andrea “DeeDee” Jett, Third Grade Teacher, Tarpey Elementary School
-Karen L. Johnson, Guidance Learning Specialist, Clovis North Educational Center
-Donna Kawana, Health Services Assistant I, Nursing Services, Fort Washington Elementary School
-Judy Kobayashi, Third Grade Teacher, Cedarwood Elementary School
-Laurette Lee, Student Activities Specialist I, Riverview Elementary School
-Sharon Magill, Speech-Language Specialist, Valley Oak Elementary School
-Denise Sandifer, Guidance Learning Specialist, Gateway High School, Clovis Community Day School
-Monica Schneider, Campus Club Program Supervisor, Child Development
-Toni Shelby, Teacher, Clovis Online School
-Janis Tatum, School Secretary II, Clovis North Educational Center
-Kent Younglund, Sixth Grade Teacher, Fugman Elementary School

“The 27 Crystal Award winners take all of Clovis Unified’s amazing qualities and expand them to new heights,” O’Farrell added. “You [the recipients] stand out in a crowd of standouts, you have demonstrated care for our kids in extraordinary ways and you have been instrumental in allowing our kids to soar academically, emotionally and physically.”

Before they took the stage, each honoree was individually introduced with a narrated slideshow highlighting their work in their school and community.

In addition to the Crystal Award, honorees received a $500 grant to use at their school site as well as their name permanently engraved on the “Walk of Fame” located outside Clovis Unified’s Professional Development Building.