Two More Educators of the Year Surprised by Riverside County Superintendent of Schools

PERRIS AND MORENO VALLEY – Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White, surprised two more Riverside County school employees of the year in the Perris Union High and Val Verde Unified School Districts on Thursday, March 1, 2018.

Dian Martin holding certificate and flowers

Dian Martin, Director of Learning Support Services at Perris Union HSD, was surprised with the announcement from Dr. Judy D. White that she is the 2018 Riverside County Certificated Administrator of the Year.

Dr. White greeted Dian Martin, Director of Learning Support Services for Perris Union High School District, during a staff meeting that was purportedly about career technical education.

Dr. White noted that Martin was coordinating five federally funded programs at the same time, and was praised by colleagues for her knowledge, strong values, commitment and helping others succeed. She is Riverside County’s 2018 Certificated Administrator of the Year.

“What I appreciate, is that you’re a people builder,” Dr. White said. “That is why you are so successful.”

Perris Union Superintendent Grant Bennett said Martin was an “unsung hero” who was good at getting funding for much-needed district programs.

“When we need money, Dian finds it somehow,” Bennett said. “We are so proud of her, and what she has done for our district.”

Martin said it was a team effort. “I can’t do my job without you,” she told colleagues. “What I do is a reflection on all of you. We have had tough times, but we have come through as a team.”

As the Director of Learning Support Services, Martin is focused on leading a variety of programs and initiatives that build capacity and foster a health and safe learning environment while developing professional learning communities. The Temecula resident has served in her current position for four years, and in various education roles for 26 years. She was given the nickname of “Robo-Mom” for her instrumental work in developing the robotics program that has grown to include 14 teams that compete on weekends.

Dr. White and Lindsay Brancato stand in front of cheering crowd of students

Dr. White surprised Lindsay Brancato, Attendance Technician at Vista Verde Middle School, with the news that she is the Riverside County Classified Employee of the Year.

Later in the morning, Dr. White was at Vista Verde Middle School where the multi-purpose room was filled with eighth-graders. White called out Attendance Technician Lindsay Brancato, who is the 2018 Riverside County Classified Employee of the Year.

Dr. White told cheering students that there are 15,000 classified employees in Riverside County schools and Brancato is “the No. 1 classified employee of 2018.” White said Brancato is a leader “who never gives up.”

Brancato said she has enjoyed the chance to set up a special technology program for students.

“Every day I come to work at Vista Verde Middle School, I appreciate I am coming to a place where I can expand my horizons and continue to learn,” she said. “I am honored to be in this position today because I have had so many people who supported me along the way.”

Lindsay Brancato has invested 16 of her 20 years in education to the students, staff, and community at Vista Verde Middle School. In her current role as an Attendance Technician, the Perris resident has co-directed and implemented a tardy prevention program, established an attendance recovery program (Saturday STEAM), and trained multiple schools on independent study programs. The district-wide Saturday STEAM Program helped the district recover more than $5 million in attendance funds during the 2016-2017 school year.

“Students, parents, and families have expressed the difference I made in their lives. I build these relationships, not because it is my job, but because I wholeheartedly desire to impact students in middle school and beyond,” Brancato shared in her application. “I can cry just thinking about the amount of students that have returned, years later, to assure me that I impacted their lives.”

Dr. White has conducted six, out of a total of seven surprise visits during late February and early March to honor the top educators who serve 430,000 students in the county. The full list of categories and honorees for the 2018 Riverside County Educators of the Year is as follows:

  • School Counselor – Jodi Spoon-Sadlon, Elementary School Counselor, Murrieta Valley Unified School District (named on February 21, 2018)
  • Site Support Employee – Susan Hall, Teacher on Special Assignment, Murrieta Valley Unified School District (named on February 21, 2018)
  • Confidential Employee – Cheryl Anderson, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, Riverside Unified School District (named on February 26, 2018)
  • Principal TBD
  • Certificated Administrator – Dian Martin, Director of Learning Support Services, Perris Union High School District (named on March 1, 2018)
  • Classified Employee – Lindsay Brancato, Attendance Technician, Val Verde Unified School District (named on March 1, 2018)
  • Classified Administrator of the Year – Karl Melzer, Instructional Publication Center Manager, Hemet USD (named on February 15, 2018)

The Riverside County Educators of the Year are selected from the more than 36,000 educational employees in the county. The rigorous application process starts with nominations by teachers, classified employees, and school district administrators throughout the county. Applications are then submitted to the Riverside County Office of Education, where an outside selection committee selects the honorees before the county superintendent announces the honorees.

Along with the 2018 Riverside County Teachers of the Year, the Educators of the Year will be honored at the Riverside County Celebrating Educators Luncheon at the Riverside Convention Center on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

Clarification: The 2018 Teachers of the Year were named in mid-2017 to align with the 2018 California State Teacher of the Year competition. The 2019 Riverside County Teachers of the Year will be announced in May/June of 2018.