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Area school employees to be honored
Sports Med pic
Pitman High athletic trainer Markus Turner is one of six local school staff members being honored in the Employees Making a Difference program (Journal file photo). - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

A number of area school employees from multiple school districts will be honored today as part of the 16th annual Employees Making a Difference program. The program is a collaboration between the Stanislaus County Office of Education and the Association of California School Administrators Region VII with the purpose of honoring outstanding classified, non-supervisory education employees in the county.

This year, 29 school employees were given the honors, with six being from schools within the Turlock Journal coverage area. They will be celebrated at an award ceremony at 4 p.m. today at the Martin Petersen Event Center in Modesto.

Within the Turlock Unified School District, those being honored are Lesli Hodge (administrative secretary, Turlock Junior High), Markus Turner (athletic trainer, Pitman High) and Martha Romo (TUSD Special Education Office). Meanwhile, Sandy Williamson (librarian, Chatom Elementary) of Chatom Unified School District in Turlock will also be honored.

In neighboring Denair and the Denair Unified School District, Elvia Brizuela (bilingual secretary, Denair Middle and District Office) has been selected for honors. Last but not least, over at the Hughson Unified School District, Hughson Elementary bus driver John Lundell will be a recipient for the county-wide honor.

And the awards and recognitions won’t stop there.

Of the 29 total honorees, seven will be selected to represent Stanislaus County in the California Department of Education’s statewide recognition Employees Making a Difference program. The names of the seven individuals will be announced at today’s event. Additionally, the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County will present the Jane Johnston Civility Award to one of the 29 nominees who best exemplifies the principles of civility. The award is named in honor of former SCOE Assistant Superintendent Jane Johnston, who helped launch the county-wide Choose Civility Initiative in 2010 and passed away unexpectedly in April 2012.

More information on the Employees Making a Difference program in Stanislaus County, head to