KCSOS employees making a difference

Every year, KCSOS solicits nominations for its annual You Make a Difference Awards, which recognize employees in three categories — Outstanding Service to Education, Innovation in Education and Distinguished Service. Final selections are made by a committee consisting of office employees who judge nominees on their “dedication and contributions to the success of the overall mission of the organization.”

The 2018 awards were recently announced. The Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education Award recipients were Araceli Rivera, Janette Lathon, and Pete Cook, while Julio LeBron was honored with the Distinguished Service Award. There were no recipients of the Innovation in Education category this year.

Araceli Rivera
Teacher – Alternative Education
Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education Award

Araceli Rivera is a long-standing and well-respected fixture in KCSOS’s Alternative Education Division. She’s always had the innate ability to make strong connections with students and advocates to meet their unique needs.

In recent years, she has fostered an exceptional Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) system at Blanton Academy. Her efforts have made a direct and positive impact on student success. Mrs. Rivera leads her site team as the facilitator, lead teacher and is a vital member of the division’s Continuous Improvement team, in addition to her duties as a classroom teacher.

Janette Lathon
Teacher – Special Education
Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education Award

Janette Lathon is a model special education teacher. She is always there to help – whether it’s a student or a fellow teacher who is in need of extra support – because she is truly passionate about seeing all students succeed.

Many of Janette’s students have great behavioral needs; so great they are oftentimes unable to attend school outings. Through hard work and determination, Ms. Lathon never lets these concerns get in the way of exposing her students to experiences they have never had before. She has opened up a completely new world for so many of her students by provided support strategies that allow her students to feel safe and enjoy new activities outside of their normal environments. With these strategies, the parents of these students are now able to take their children out in the community as well.

Pete Cook
Contact Review Analyst — SISC I
Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education Award

One of SISC’s biggest cost containment measures is its in-house bill review program. Pete Cook, who retired in late 2018, was responsible, among other things, for overseeing the entire bill payment process for SISC I. During the last three fiscal years, 92,267 bills were reviewed, totaling $74,721,452. Through Pete’s use of SISC’s bill review software and this expert knowledge of the California State Fee Schedule, SISC I was able to reduce charges to $25,142,000, a reduction of $49,579,452, or 65.66%. If you project this over Pete’s time with SISC, it is apparent just how much he has helped save member districts.

Pete was a longtime member of the SOSCA Board. His dedication to the Classified employees within our office is to be commended. Service on the Board is voluntary, and often takes a great deal of personal time and effort, and yet Pete has remained a passionate advocate during his career.


Julio LeBron
Mechanic II
Distinguished Service Award

 Julio LeBron demonstrated absolute devotion and dedication to the maintenance and repair of KCSOS’s transportation fleet for an unbelievable 38 years. He retired in late 2018. Julio started in 1980 as a mechanics helper, assisting fellow technicians in the maintenance of our then small fleet. He was promoted through the ranks as he showcased his talents in preventive maintenance and a keen eye for safety awareness.

Julio has shown compassion and leadership in this tenure, having single-handedly trained many of the division’s upcoming technicians and setting the standard and tradition for ensuring the quality and safety of any and all vehicles in KCSOS’s growing fleet.















Et Cetera


Congratulations to all of the honorable mentions for the 2018 You Make A Difference Awards:



Distinguished Service Award – 

Kendall Heisey (Teacher – Special Education)

Misty Morey (Automotive Parts Technician)

Scott Fieber (Manager, Emergency Preparedness & Utility Conservation)

Aldhei McMahon (Program Facilitator II)

Garrett Garcia (User Support Technician)

Henry Barker (Network Engineer)

Melissa Sanchez (Dispatcher)

Robert Martinez (Custodian II)


Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education Award – 

Andrea Watson (School District Facility Specialist)

Cherrie Elliott (Instructional Aide – Special Education)

Esther Ozeta (Secretary II – School Community Partnership)

Heather Ludington (Teacher – Special Education)

Paul Grafton (Lead Naturalist – KEEP)

Tamra Ohs (Transportation Aide)

Tony Cervantes (Warehouse/Delivery Worker)