First 2020 Riverside County Educator of the Year Named in Surprise Visit to San Jacinto USD

Erika Ruiz and Dr. Judy White stand in front of Congratulations sign

Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Judy D. White congratulates North Mountain Middle School Campus Security/Athletic Director Erika Ruiz for being named the 2020 Riverside County Classified Employee of the Year.

SAN JACINTO– An empty classroom filled with balloons, cake, punch, well-wishing colleagues, and Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White, awaited the arrival of one very surprised security guard at North Mountain Middle School this morning in San Jacinto Unified School District.

Erika Ruiz, a Campus Security/Athletic Director at North Mountain Middle School in San Jacinto Unified School District, stepped into the classroom and learned that she had been named as the 2020 Riverside County Classified Employee of the Year.

The surprise visit was the first of seven surprise announcements set to take place at the work locations of the 2020 Riverside County Educators of the Year.

“You are changing the lives of students by teaching and modeling values and beliefs,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White.

Ruiz has served as far more than a security presence and athletics director on the North Mountain Middle School campus for the last five years. Her leadership role on campus includes serving as a co-advisor of a girl’s empowerment group, serving as a lead counselor in the Club Live afterschool program, and mentoring students through strong relationships across the campus. Ms. Ruiz’s colleagues describe her as “a selfless individual that always extends unconditional love toward others.”

I am so grateful for this moment. I always say it takes a village to become what I became, and I didn’t do it by myself,” Ruiz said. “I come to school with a purpose every day. I believe in every single one of our students.”

The full list of categories and honorees for the 2020 Riverside County Educators of the Year is as follows:

Riverside County Classified Employee of the Year

Erika Ruiz
Campus Security/Athletic Director
North Mountain Middle School
San Jacinto Unified School District

Riverside County School Counselor of the YearTBD week of February 17

Riverside County Site Support Employee of the YearTBD week of February 17

Riverside County Confidential Employee of the YearTBD week of February 17

Riverside County Classified Administrator of the YearTBD week of February 17

Riverside County Certificated Administrator of the YearTBD week of February 24

Riverside County Principal of the YearTBD week of February 24

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 2020 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 5, 2020.

Clarification: The 2020 Teachers of the Year were named in mid-2019 to align with the 2020 California State Teacher of the Year competition. The 2021 Riverside County Teachers of the Year will be announced in May/June of 2020.