Employee Recognition 2023

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employee of the year ivan

Ivan Santiago De La Rosa

Digital Copy System Operator II | Publications

Ivan Santiago De La Rosa began his career with Riverside Unified School District in 2012. He served as a Bindery Worker I in the Publications Department and Nutrition Services Delivery Driver in the Nutrition Services Department. Today, Ivan is a Digital Copy System Operator II in the Publications Department. In his current role, he not only provides students with the means to bolster school spirit, but he also provides the school community with essential instructional supplies, such as lined paper for kindergarten classrooms, workbooks, journals, summer mailers, parent handbooks, State testing materials, progress reports and report cards. In speaking about Mr. Santiago De La Rosa, the following has been said by his supervisor:

“Ivan’s commitment to his occupation is evident in everything he processes. He is self-motivated and fearless when taking on new endeavors. There have been several last-minute print jobs over the years that required Ivan’s expertise, and he has always been willing to come back to work in the late evening and/or weekend in order to complete the jobs. He is not selfish with his time when performing his craft.”

employee of the year chuck

Charles “Chuck” Lusin III

Manager of Systems - Technology Services

Charles “Chuck” Lusin III joined the Riverside Unified School District (“RUSD”) team as a Programmer Analyst II in June 1990. Shortly after, he was promoted to Systems Analyst Project Lead and now serves as the Manager of Systems. In his current role, Chuck has the responsibility of managing the development and integration of computerized information systems solutions for RUSD. He also has the responsibility of overseeing all aspects of end user consulting, systems analysis, general systems design, and detail systems design. His expertise has resulted in his appointment to the Aeries Next Gen Advisory Committee which helps to design the new versions of the student information system, Aeries.

Outside of his work with RUSD, Chuck has promoted public bike awareness with Riverside Bike Club and donated food, clothes, and gifts to help children and adults living in orphanages and homeless shelters abroad.

employee of the year lisa

Lisa Twarog

Executive Assistant I

Lisa Twarog has been a member of the Riverside Unified School District (“RUSD”) team for nearly 6 years. Since August 2016, she has served as a School Office Assistant at Educational Options Center and Alcott Elementary School, and Administrative Secretary I for the Instructional Services Division.

Currently, Lisa is the Executive Assistant I in the Personnel Department, supporting classified employees. In this role, she happily performs a variety of tasks from participating in recruitment fairs, screening applications, sitting on interview panels, processing new hire paperwork, taking minutes during collective bargaining, and pleasantly answering questions for both internal and external stakeholders.

employee of the year katarina

Katarina Roy Schanz, Ed.D.

Director, Wellness & Engagement

Dr. Katarina Roy Schanz began her career as teacher (1991-1996) and outreach consultant (1996-1997) at Joan Macy School and for Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, respectively. In 1997, she came to Riverside Unified School District as a counselor at Sierra Middle School and served in that role for 7 years before serving in multiple administrator positions, such as as assistant principal in Rialto Unified School District (2004-2007) and assistant principal (2007-2009) and principal (2009-2015) in Jurupa Valley Unified School District. In 2015, Dr. Roy Schanz returned to RUSD as the Coordinator of Wellness and Engagement and is now the Director of Wellness & Engagement. In this role, she plans and coordinates related staff development, provides direct support to schools, and manages and participates in school-based programs and community partnerships focused on services to students seeking support or needing interventions for academics, behavior, social-emotional and attendance.

In addition to her professional work, Dr. Roy Schanz is passionate about community work, as evidenced by her involvement with Hope Collaborative, Child Abuse Prevention for Riverside County, Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health, Suicide Prevention Coalition for Riverside County, and Big Brothers BIg Sisters - Inland Empire.

employee of the year sarah

Sarah Roenicke

Riverside Virtual School - TK-8

Sarah Roenicke is an excellent educator who thrives in implementing innovation. Sarah is a school site leader who fully embraces the Riverside Virtual School’s mission to leverage technology to reimagine education, provide equity, and build meaningful and productive relationships. Sarah’s magnetic and optimistic personality is witnessed each day in her learning environment evidenced by a dynamic display of energy as she connects virtually with students in order to provide the highest level of education, support, and intervention. Sarah maximizes learning for all students by creating a positive environment designed to welcome and encourage student engagement in a most creative and enthusiastic style.

employee of the year andrea

Andrea Graydon

Frank Augustus Miller Middle School

Andrea Graydon serves her students and school community with an unswerving devotion, and dedication. She has a “student first” mentality and a willingness to collaborate with every department on campus, while passionately advocating for all students. As a content specialist for Math and Reading, Andrea coaches, inspires, and encourages students at all levels to ensure academic growth by implementing best teaching practices. Andrea recognizes that her best and most celebrated accomplishments are not awards or certificates but rather, when she witnesses her students overcome their learning challenges, and are now able to read for meaning unlocking an entire world of possibilities that were previously not available to them.

employee of the year kerri

Kerri Valenzuela

Arlington High School

Kerri Valenzuela has established and cemented for herself a phenomenal reputation as an educator who pours her energy and talents for the success of her students. Mrs. Valenzuela has the ability to effectively design and implement instructional programs aimed at engaging and supporting students in their quest to become college, career, and world ready. The equity work she leads makes it feasible for students to have an opportunity to be seen, heard, and thrive in spite of the challenges and obstacles that face our students on a daily basis. One of Kerri’s greatest talents and strengths is her ability to build strong relationships. She fully understands the profound impact that creating relationships with students has on their learning and well being.

employee of the year dawn

Dawn Brawley

Emerson Elementary School

Dawn Brawley began her professional journey with Riverside Unified School District in 2002 as a first, second, and third grade teacher at John F. Kennedy Elementary School. After spending nearly 14 years in the classroom and being named Site Teacher of the Year in 2009, Mrs. Brawley was tapped to become the Assistant Principal at Alcott Elementary School in 2016. There, she assisted in implementing school-wide Restorative Practices Building Circles as well as effective curriculum and instructional strategies. Her hard work earned her the recognition of Co-Administrator of the Year in 2019. Immediately following her tenure at Alcott, Mrs. Brawley was promoted to principal of Emerson Elementary School. At Emerson, Mrs. Brawley has made it her mission and objective to support best instructional practice and student learning, in a collaborative environment that fosters a welcoming and positive learning culture.The following has been said about Mrs. Brawley’s leadership at Emerson: “When one enters Emerson, it is apparent that intentional learning takes place in an environment where students are deeply cared for. Dawn expects a high level of performance from all those around her, and she lives up to the high expectation herself.”

employee of the year meaghan

Meaghan Smith

School Psychologist

Meaghan Smith began her career as a Behavior Specialist (2007-2010) and School Psychologist (2010-2015) in Jurupa Unified School District. In 2015, she was hired as a School Psychologist for Riverside Unified School District. In this role, she focuses on helping students thrive in all environments through efforts to support inclusion and through looking at the whole-child without regard to labels. The following has been said about Meaghan’s impact on student well-being on a high school campus: “Mrs. Smith believes in all students. Regardless of circumstance, Mrs. Smith is an advocate for students and devotes the time and energy to help students achieve their goals. Be it parents, guardians, faculty or staff, Meaghan works collaboratively with all stakeholders to best serve our students. She has the courage and conviction to engage in critical conversations, and possesses the interpersonal communication skills to effectively convey her message; regardless of the topic or audience.”

In addition to her work with RUSD, she serves as a board member of Albion Soccer Club, Riverside and is an advocate for March of Dimes Inland Empire Branch.

employee of the year diedre

Diedre Hanson

University Heights Middle School

Deidre Hanson has worked for Riverside Unified School District (“RUSD”) since 2017. Prior to her work as school counselor at University Heights Middle School, she was a substitute teacher, Prevention Specialist (Phoenix House), and Behavioral Therapist (Autism Spectrum Therapies). As a school counselor, Deidre works with staff, parents/guardians, and community partners to support students. One of the most impactful projects Deidre has spearheaded is the development of mentoring programs on University Heights Middle School’s (UHMS) campus. These groups serve over 100 students each year, pairing them with mentors and providing monthly lessons on topics such as self-esteem and self-worth, goal setting, drug and alcohol awareness, and other issues affecting teenagers.

In addition to her work as a school counselor, Deidre has coached youth volleyball, baseball, soccer and basketball (City of Riverside and UHMS); partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to support current and former UHMS students; and volunteered for Kits with Kindness to organize kits of hygiene products and food items for persons in need.

employee of the year