SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A school bus driver trainer was one of six classified school employees who were recognized recently by the California Department of Education for their contributions to the state’s public school students.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson honored the 2016 Classified School Employees of the Year at a luncheon in Sacramento on May 16.

"Our schools would cease to function without the classified employees who keep them clean and safe, who make sure our students get to school and receive the proper nutrition once they are there, and who contribute to an overall positive school culture and caring environment," Torlakson said in a press release. "Our 2016 Classified School Employees of the Year represent the very best of the best."

The annual program recognizes classified school employees from six categories: child nutrition; maintenance, operations, and facilities; office and technical support; para-educator and instructional assistance; support services and security; and transportation. This year's recipients were chosen out of 107 nominees.

In the transportation category, this year’s honoree was Kari Anderson, driver trainer for Oakdale Joint Unified School District. She has served in her position for 26 years.

Here is an excerpt from the nomination for Anderson:

“Ms. Anderson goes above and beyond what is expected to make sure all school bus trips and daily routes run smoothly. ... Perhaps her most important quality is her love of children, which is her constant motivation to do a great job, keep students safe, happy, and learning. She raised her children in Oakdale and has been vested in the school system, both personally and professionally, for a very long time. She enjoys telling students that she knows their grandparents or that their mothers and fathers used to ride her bus to school.”

For more about Anderson, see this Modesto Bee profile.

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