Kernville Union School District awards teacher and classified employees

Photos and story by Catherine Stachowiak

Kernville Union School District warded its Teacher of the Year and Classified Employees of the Year awards, Tuesday May 14, at Kernville Elementary School during the monthly district board meeting.

 “This is the fun time of year where we get to recognize achievements, accomplishments and dedication by our staff,” said Superintendent of the district Dr. Steve Martinez.

The 2023-2024 Teacher of the Year award went to teacher Jen Fankhauser.  

Martinez said she’s a teacher who deeply cares about her students. “She understands the need to reach her student’s hearts before she can reach their minds,” he said.

Fankhauser completed her eighth year teaching for Kernville Union School District and has taught grade 3 and grade 8. Martinez said the teacher also approaches teaching from a student centered perspective.

Joe Graham 2023-2024 has won Classified Employee of the Year for his position with the district as Custodian-Bus Driver.  Graham worked with the district for years in different capacities and currently drives students with special needs, ensuring students get on and off the bus safely and is an excellent driver making sure his bus runs well and is clean.  He is calm leader to the MOT team, and is a fast responder with cleanups and communication.  He is a loyal staff member.  He has positive relationships with the school and students and their families. “Joe does his job well and has been consistent since he started,” said Martinez.

Robin McCullagh 2023-2024 Classified Employee of the Year Attendance Clerk.   McCullagh is willing to assist other departments as she works in her own position as an Attendance Clerk. She is cheerful, friendly dedicated, resilient and compassionate as she works with students and their families. “She’s an example of how others can learn positive work habits.”  Martinez said she helps students improve in their attendance.

Michael Porter 2023-2024 Classified Employee of the Year WMS Special Education Paraprofessional.  Porter goes above and beyond to show support for students on and off campus, He always remains calm and respectful and teaches students coping techniques.  He has shown an amazing support to other staff as well Martinez said.

Teri Ritchison  2023-2024 Classified Employee of the Year Data Manager Technician. Martinez said Ritchison cares about the students, the staff, and the community. She goes above and beyond training and helping other staff members whom she also treats with kindness and makes everyone feel welcome at Wallace Campus.  

Kernville Union School District Teacher of the Year Jen Fankhauser
Kernville Union School District Classified Employee of the Year Custodian Bus Driver Joe Graham
Superintendent Steve Martinez and Classified Employee of the Year Attendance Clerk Robin McCullagh
Classified Employee of the Year Michael Porter WMS Special Education Paraprofessional
Classified Employee of the Year Teri Ritchison Data Manager Technician