2012 Classified Employees of the Year

Brenda Bailey-Burks Video
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Classified Employee of the Year 2012

Brenda Bailey-Burks

Brenda Bailey-Burks
Special Education Technician

Serra High School

Compassionate. Dedicated. Positive. Leader. Above and beyond. Professional. A rock. Each is a term used by colleagues, administrators, parents and students to describe Brenda Bailey-Burks, the 2012 Classified Employee of the Year. Bailey-Burks is not only the embodiment of an outstanding employee, but an amazing individual.

Bailey-Burks has worked in the district as a Special Education technician since 2005, first at DePortola Middle School, now at Serra High School. In this role, Burks provides assistance to medically fragile students in the Moderate/Severe Specialized Academic Instruction classroom, and also provides specialized care to one individual student. In addition to caring for the students, she assists with overall logistics, lesson planning, creating and implementing goals, and has even served at times as interim teacher.

"Brenda has been a necessary and crucial component to the Moderate/Severe SAI classroom," said colleague Angela Martin. "The classroom would not run as smoothly without her."

Inside the classroom, students and colleagues alike look to Bailey-Burk's for her leadership and positive attitude. She keeps administrators on task and updated on classroom activities, while organizing events for her students, such as Special Olympics and Prom. Education Specialist Andrew Vo is convinced it was Bailey-Burk's leadership that helped keep the classroom together when they recently experienced a revolving door of teachers.

Bailey-Burk's commitment to her students and their families reaches far beyond the classroom. She provides weekend respite care for the students she cares for, and attends family celebrations and visits students who are hospitalized. She brings students to weekend school events, always making sure her Integrated Life Skills students are part of Serra High School. She also works closely with the Circle of Friends club at Serra High, a club whose main goal is to promote friendship and inclusion through understanding differences.

"Bailey-Burks is in every sense of the word, a member of her student's families," said Serra Vice Principal Julie Nydham. "Her caring and commitment to special needs students and their families is without parallel in my 12 years as an administrator."

San Diego Unified congratulates Brenda Bailey-Burks on her selection as 2012 Classified Employee of the Year.

Runners Up
Margaret Lathan

Margaret Lathan is an Administrative Aide for the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Department. She has been a district employee since 2001. She provides support to the 46 teachers and teaching artists in the department, oversees purchases for million dollar grants, and communicates with district and outside entities to improve efficiencies in VAPA. She is a dedicated and creative problem solver.

"She is a consummate professional who is reliable, efficient, effective, diligent, and thoughtful. She sets a high bar for expectations and behavior in the office. Outside of work she is equally committed. She has been a champion for the Race for the Cure and participates annually in events to find cures for cancer." -- Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, Director, Visual and Performing Arts Department

Bounhong Khommarath

Bounhong Khommarath is a Community Assistant II for the Parent Outreach and Engagement Department. He has been a district employee since 1996. He is instrumental in engaging Burmese, Karen, Pacific Islander, Somali, and Southeast Asian families. He coordinates workshops for these families to assist them in being involved with their child's education. He volunteers his time in the evenings and weekends, assisting parents and other community leaders in coordinating community events to enhance the educational and social service needs of the children and their families.

"Mr. Khommarath is an excellent employee who embraces the differing customs and traditions of the different refugee communities he works with. He works endlessly with the families he supports and approaches his work with enthusiasm and commitment." -- Bea Fernandez, Program Manager, Parent Outreach and Engagement Department