“Children must be taught to think, not what to think.”Margaret Mead

San Luis Obispo County celebrates the success and demonstrates appreciation for many talented educational employees throughout May. Our California’s Day of the Teacher arose from legislation co-sponsored by the CTA and the Association of Mexican American Educators in 1982. Since then, every year in May, we honor instructional excellence in our schools, community colleges, and universities. National Teacher Day is Tuesday, May 7. In 1986, California Senate Bill 1552 (Campbell) established the third week of May as Classified School Employee Week in order to recognize the vital contributions of classified employees. The California Department of Education encourages an annual recognition of school administrators on May 1 to celebrate those serving in leadership positions within our schools.


This year, the Educational Employees Credit Union has joined forces with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education and is hosting a series of thank-you activities throughout the county to recognize employees serving education. Thank-You activities include tickets to Libretto in Paso Robles, San Luis Blues Baseball, OperaSLO’s Beauty and the Beast, and the Great American Melodrama in Oceano. With all the challenges our educational organizations face, opportunity and promise still abound in our local schools. Celebrations such as these serve as brief moments to acknowledge how valuable our employees are and how they impact generations of students.

Almost all of us have experienced the transformative power of effective school employees first-hand. Over my forty years serving in the field, I have encountered many exceptional teaching and non-teaching school employees. These support staff members and educators are passionate about their service and demonstrate genuine care for the students in charge. Dedicated professionals inspire us to explore ideas, think deeply, accept the challenge, and embrace rigor. Hollywood films portray some of our colleagues, such as Anne Sullivan, Jaime Escalante, and Erin Gruwell, on a grand scale of the big screen. However, thousands of our support staff and faculty are truly unsung heroes who faithfully serve daily. I encourage everyone reading this article to take time and thank those who serve the students enrolled in our schools throughout San Luis Obispo County. 

Our democracy needs and demands informed citizens. Consequently, our nation’s founders strongly supported the creation of schools serving the public.

Thomas Jefferson said:

“Above all things, I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense, we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.”

It is critically important not only for children but also for our country. Education enables its citizens to develop their full potential, which allows our democracy to flourish. It is about helping individuals learn, grow, and create a prosperous society.

Public service can bring about extraordinary transformation in our society. Public servants are role models; their actions convey more than words, and our students learn from those in the educational community. Everyone who works in our schools can positively contribute to the lives of our students, especially in their formative years. Today’s teachers, custodians, bus drivers, clerks, administrators, assistants, and all other educational employees hold immense potential to bring about positive change in our society by demonstrating a duty of care. Join me in celebrating these outstanding individuals who embody the essential elements of educational excellence. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools.


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