Leslie Cervantes Moran and Eddie Ruelas were named EPISD’s 2016 Educational Support Personnel of the Year on Thursday at the annual ESP luncheon at the Wyndham Hotel.
Moran and Ruelas were among the nine finalists and more than 100 hourly personnel honored by the Board of Trustees and Superintendent Juan Cabrera. The finalists were selected through a blind judging process and were later interviewed to determine the two winners.
Moran, a Language Proficiency Assessment Committee clerk at Newman Elementary, has been with EPISD for three years.
“Her dedication to our campus and district is unsurpassed and should not go unrecognized. She is a champion for our students and staff,” said Newman Elementary School Principal Pauletta Howard.
Moran said being named one of the two winners on Thursday surprised her.
“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I’m thankful for being recognized. It’s such an honor to work for EPISD.”
The other ESP winner, Ruelas, is a truant officer with the Student Retention and Truancy Prevention Department and has been with EPISD for 30 years.
“Mr. Ruelas treats parents, the community, students and co-workers as if they are the most important person in the world,” said Mark Mendoza, director of Student Retention and Truancy Prevention. “He is the epitome of customer service and carries himself in an extremely dignified but caring manner. He is the embodiment of ‘I Am EPISD’ because he truly is EPISD.”
Ruelas, who had been honored as a finalist 14 years ago, also was “humbled to be considered with the other candidates.”
“We all have an important task to do,” Ruelas said. “The support staff are the backbone of the entire district. These people do an important job on a daily basis. We provide individual services and together with the entire district, we are able to provide the quality education that our students deserve.”
Superintendent Juan Cabrera said it is important to honor Moran, Ruelas and the other hourly employees for the work they do in educating the children of EPISD.
“They play an integral part in our education process,” he said. “Many time, the first person our kids see in the morning and the last one they see on they way home is an hourly employee. Their contributions are not just important … they’re critical.”
The other seven finalists are:
• Maggie Caballero, an accounting clerk in the Maintenance Department, who has been with EPISD for 13 years.
• Abel Carreon, an electrical foreman in the Maintenance Department, who has been with EPISD 12 years.
• Ellen Courtney, a clerk in Food and Nutritional Services, who has served EPISD for nine years.
• Emily Marie Morales, an instructional paraprofessional at Dowell Elementary, who has been with EPISD five years.
• Bertha Angel, a custodian at Henderson Middle School, has been with EPISD for 13 years.
• Juan Duarte, an assistant head custodian at Logan Elementary, has been with EPISD for 19 years.
• Isaac Muro, the Campus Patrol for the About Face Program at LaFarelle Alternative Middle School, has been with EPISD for one year.
• Auden Valenzuela, the cafeteria manager for Hornedo Middle School, has been an employee of the El Paso Independent School District for 17 years.
All finalists received a check for $200. Ruelas and Moran received an additional $250 for being selected winners.