With thanks: May dedicated to appreciating many working in schools at Nevada Joint Union High School District | TheUnion.com

With thanks: May dedicated to appreciating many working in schools at Nevada Joint Union High School District

Underpaid. Overworked. Underappreciated.

These words are frequently associated with people educating our children, and others working for educational institutions.

The month of May, however, is a bit different.

May 5 set off California teacher appreciation week, and classified employee appreciation week will begin May 19.

Possibly for these reasons, Wednesday, the superintendent of Nevada Joint Union High School District passed a resolution appreciating classified employees at the Nevada County Board of Education meeting. Superintendent Brett McFadden hoped to give attention to those who help keep schools running, often without recognition.

“Classified employees are the employees that provide school districts with their heartbeat and backbone,” he said in an email to The Union. “We can’t educate kids without them.”

McFadden said the tasks of classified employees are numerous.

“They provide operational support, budget and (administration) work, para-education, special education services, intervention services, transportation (services), et (cetera),” he said.

Overseer of the maintenance, grounds and custodial workings at Silver Springs High School, Chuck Patterson, said he enjoys his work.

“My job is great because it’s very diverse,” he said.“It’s never the same on any given day.”

Patterson has been working with the school for five years. He said the infrastructure provides interesting puzzles to solve, as it was constructed in 1939.

“My challenge is trying to keep an 80-year-old building together,” he said through laughs.

Mostly, Patterson said he feels appreciated in his work, and adequately supported by his colleagues. In fact, the classified employee enjoys his job so much, he encouraged young people to apply to similar work.

“You can’t find a pension like this anyplace else,” he said.

Heather Quiggle, the secretary to Silver Springs’ principal, agreed that the work itself is gratifying.

“I love working with the kids,” she said, of her work helping them with their logistical, emotional and social needs. Quiggle enjoys watching students evolve and graduate after frequently difficult years growing up.

“We become more of their family (in school) than their family sometimes,” she said.

Classified employees, like everyone else in the school, she said, are of equal value. Without faculty, administrators and other staff members, there would no way to holistically support students.

“We work as a team, there’s no one person more important than another.”

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

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