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TOP HONORS: Mission Crest Elementary School teacher Dana Alcala, center, gets emotional as she walks to receive her the 'Elementary Teacher of the Year Award' for the Hesperia Unified School District during a ceremony at Sultana High School on Thursday.

School district honors employees of the year

Staff Writer

Hesperia Unified School District celebrated their employees of the year Thursday night at Sultana High School with all the bells and whistles — and even tambourines.

“Yes, there were tambourines!” said Elementary Teacher of the Year recipient Dana Alcala. “It was great to see all the schools getting together, representing themselves, and getting in the school spirit. It was very well done and very exciting.”

Although many awards were given out, only Alcala representing the elementary schools and one high school teacher — Jason Kleber from Oak Hills High School — took home the coveted silver apples for Teacher of the Year. Alcala teaches second grade at Mission Crest Elementary and Kleber teaches video/journalism.

“This is one of the more fun things that we do,” said Chris Bentley, HUSD school board president. “It’s fun and enjoyable to see the different groups represented — that’s the beauty of this kind of thing.”

Two employees from each school — one classified and one certified — and many support staff took home awards, and both Bentley and Alcala agreed that the energy in the room was inspiring to witness. Bentley said many of the teachers and staff came from their sites to honor each other and then return to work for back-to-school night.

“It was amazing to witness how dedicated these employees are to our district,” Bentley said.

A total of 23 school sites were represented along with a wide range of employees from various factions, including union representatives and those that work in special programs.

Alcala, who has been with the district for a little over five years, said she was shocked when she found out she won but credits her win to her husband and the children she teaches.

“It’s only because I love them so much,” Alcala said. “I am still very excited about coming to work every day. I would do it for free.”

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