The everyday heroes who keep our schools running strong: Meet the 2019 Classified Employees of the Year

Posted: Friday, May 17th 2019

Classified employee of the year Tim Miller, far left, and runner up Patti Daniel, right, with students

From the time San Diego children board a school bus to the time they return home at the end of the day, every aspect of their learning experience is impacted by a classified school employee. Custodians, office clerks, landscapers, bus drivers, special education assistants, landscapers, cafeteria workers, police officers and more: these are the dedicated men and women who comprise the backbone of California’s second- largest school district, the behind-the-scenes champions who keep the city’s schools running.

Every year, San Diego Unified honors its classified employees during Classified School Employees Week, which is designated by the California Legislature each May. Next Tuesday, the district will recognize its 2019 Classified Employee of the Year, the Classified Employee of the Year Runner Up and more than 120 classified employees from individual schools and departments at the 2019 Classified Employee Celebration.

Classified school employees play crucial roles in education, making a difference in their community through their dedication in a wide variety of essential roles. This year’s honorees are no exception.

This Year’s winners are:

Tim Miller, Custodial Crew Leader, Jonas Salk Elementary


Tim Miller began working in SDUSD in 2009 as a phenomenal custodial substitute, while also serving as a stay at home dad. He was quickly hired to serve the Mira Mesa Community as a result of his tremendous work ethic.

Tim has diligently worked with the San Diego Unified team for 10 years and has been at Jonas Salk Elementary since its opening in 2015. A role model to his peers and the students he serves, Tim encourages those around him to always do their personal best, leave things better than they find them, and to bring joy into the lives of others. Tim goes above and beyond his custodial duties as he extends his warmth and knowledge to all members of our learning community.

Quotes submitted by Tim’s colleagues sum up his personable, hardworking nature.

“He really cares about all of us and he is always there to give a hand. Mr. Miller adds so much value to our school. He has been seen delivering home baked treats for the staff, writes uplifting notes, and has even purchased class pets so children that have never had a pet before will get the experience of having one. He is an exemplary employee and a wonderful role model for students and staff alike.”

“Tim always does extra things to support our school. He stays late to do an extra good job; for example, on his day off he showed up at school to secure our umbrellas during the stormy weather. Tim goes above and beyond for the ENTIRE school community. He does it from the heart and finds joy in giving to others. Lucky us!”

“Tim looks out for all teachers at our school. He is always willing to go above and beyond to help out. He leaves goodies and cheerful notes as he's cleaning our rooms for us in the morning. He adds seemingly simple touches to our school and bathrooms. He even lights up our room for our birthdays.”

Patricia Daniel, Special Education Assistant, Ericson Elementary

Patti Daniel began her career with San Diego Unified in 1995, working as a Guidance/Attendance Assistant at her children's school, Hickman Elementary. She was an active member of the Hickman community, serving on the PTA and leading as President of The Friends of Hickman foundation.

In 2005, Patti transferred to Wangenheim Middle School, where she joined the Special

Education Team as a Special Education Assistant. Not only did she support students in the classroom, she joined the supervision team as well. A familiar face in the Wangenheim community, Patti could be found every morning and afternoon supervising and greeting students at the school gate, as well as doing lunch supervision and after school tutoring. After hours, she would volunteer to chaperone school dances and help out at science nights.

In October 2017, Patti joined the staff of Ericson Elementary as a Special Education Assistant and Bus Monitor. In this time at Ericson, Patti has supported many students, working to build relationships that foster trust in all students.

“She has displayed an unwavering dedication for her students in the care she provides,” a colleague wrote in a recommendation letter. “Ericson teachers constantly praise Patti for her ability to support students in their classroom. Patti has a very strong work ethic and is passionate about her work. She takes the time to get to know each of her students, helping them to see the potential in themselves. It is the little things, when added together that make Patti an absolute gift to Ericson. She shines in all that she does and remains humble and kind.”

Tim, Patricia, and over 120 of their San Diego will be recognized with special recognitions at next week’s event. In addition to the ceremony, a wellness themed reception will begin at 4 p.m. Students from San Diego Unified's award-winning culinary arts programs at Mira Mesa and San Diego high schools will be prepping and serving gourmet appetizers and desserts. The drum line from Lincoln High School will provide music and entertainment during the reception, with additional performances from Mission Bay High School students and the Fat Shirley Band.

WHEN: May 21, 2019
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wellness Hour Reception
5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Classified Employees of the Year Celebration

WHERE: Lincoln High School, 4777 Imperial Ave, San Diego, CA 92113


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