Saugus board honors school teachers, district staff during board meeting

During Tuesday night's SUSD board meeting, Michelle Hill, president of the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 112, recognized Tony DiTomasso, a district grounds supervisor for the last 40 years, March 6, 2019. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal.
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In spite of the rainy weather, dozens of family members and colleagues came out to support those who were being honored by the Saugus Union School District governing board during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

Among those recognized was Tony DiTomasso, grounds supervisor for the entire Saugus District, who plans to retire in June after 40-years of employment within the district.

“It was awesome to see all these people standing up and cheering for me,” said DiTomasso. “I started in this district just as summer help when I was 19 years old.”

Kim Baljet, a 5th/6th Grade teacher at Bridgeport Elementary was recognized by the California Association of the Gifted for Distinguished Service due to her work as her school’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program coordinator. Photo courtesy of SUSD.

DiTomasso has seen thousands of students and hundreds of colleagues come and go through the years, and on Tuesday, they celebrated him and his family, according to officials.

“My mom has been through it all with him,” said Tony’s daughter Natasha, as her mother wiped tears away while her husband received his award. “He’s definitely put in a lot of hard work …, and it’s amazing to see everyone be proud of him”

A number of teachers and instructors from the district schools were recognized during the board meeting.

Both Mary Gilbert, Emblem Academy’s site supervisor and Sandra Culini-Reza, a teacher Emblem Academy, were recognized for their work within the classroom during Tuesday night’s board meeting, March 5, 2019.

Kim Baljet, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Bridgeport Elementary School was honored for her work in building upon her school’s Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE) and having been recognized with a Distinguished Service Award by the California Association for the Gifted.

The statewide designation was given due to her work in “supporting teachers with their GATE students, designing curriculum and providing after-school enrichment for the GATE population,” the CAG website reads.

The board also recognized teachers and faculty of Emblem Academy for becoming a mentor training site for College of the Canyons students.

After the meeting, Emblem Academy site coordinator Mary Gilbert said an important reason the school was recognized was due to the work of her teachers.

“The teachers just strive for excellence and just go about getting whatever they need for the children, for the program and for the parents,” Gilbert said.

“You and your colleagues are the heart of this district, and what you do every day is so essential, and it’s always a pleasure to see you recognized for that work,” said Julie Olsen, addressing all those recognized throughout the night.

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