Education

YUSD honors Staff of the Year

Yosemite Unified School District recently named its Staff of the Year for 2017. From left are Stephanie Samuels, Administrator of the Year, Karen Fruth, Teacher of the Year, and Lawnna Porter, Employee of the Year.
Yosemite Unified School District recently named its Staff of the Year for 2017. From left are Stephanie Samuels, Administrator of the Year, Karen Fruth, Teacher of the Year, and Lawnna Porter, Employee of the Year. Sierra Star

Lawnna Porter, Karen Fruth, and Stephanie Samuels were recently honored as employee, teacher, and administrator of the year for Yosemite Unified School District.

At an April 3 board meeting, all three first-time winners were presented plaques to award their service to the district.

Fruth, who teaches special education from kindergarten to fifth grade at Coarsegold and Rivergold elementary schools, said she was humbled by the honor, and that teaching was about building relationships.

“Each relationship over the years has added to who I am as a teacher,” said Fruth, who first taught in 1986. “I am truly honored to work with so many people I respect.”

For Porter, who has worked with the district’s Alternative Education program for 17 years, the award was the highest compliment she could ever receive, she said.

“The best part of my job is in June when I get to watch students walk across the stage and receive their diploma, knowing it hasn’t always been an easy ride for them,” Porter said. “But they’ve worked hard to cross the finish line. I can honestly say there has never been a day in 17 years that I wasn’t excited to be a part of this great team.”

Samuels, a guidance counselor who joined YUSD in 1999, said she truly appreciated the recognition.

“Although I love my job and do not expect accolades, I do appreciate the district’s recognition,” Samuels said. “I work with some fantastic people, so to be acknowledged by them is appreciated.”

Fruth and Porter will move on to the county’s Excellence in Education awards, where a panel of community representatives will interview Staff of the Year selections from each school district, then select a top winner from each category. An award ceremony will be held Oct. 12 at the Madera County Office of Education.

Samuels chose not to file an application to compete for the county award.

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