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Congratulations, DMUSD Employees of the Month, January 2019!


Del Mar Union School District

Employees of the Month

January 2019

Photos of January 2019 DMUSD Employees of the Month

Ashley Falls – Erin Lee, Third Grade Teacher
Ashley Falls is thrilled to recognize Erin Lee as our Employee of the Month! Erin is an exceptional educator who is skilled in her craft but is always looking to continue to grow.  She loves to learn, and her students know this about her as well! The culture in Erin’s classroom supports all students to learn in a personalized way where they feel valued and supported for who they are as people. She helps them build upon their strengths and students make wonderful academic and social growth in her classroom.  Ms. Lee always puts her best effort into her classroom, her students, her colleagues, and her families. She approaches every day, every challenge, and every opportunity with a positive attitude. Ms. Lee’s classroom is filled with joy and laughter and is a wonderful place to learn every day.  We are so lucky to have Ms. Lee on our team at Ashley Falls!

Carmel Del Mar – Crystal Ellena, Fourth/Fifth Grade Combo Class Teacher
It is with pleasure we recognize Crystal Ellena as Carmel Del Mar’s Employee of the Month! Mrs. Ellena is the remarkably dedicated educator guiding our 4/5 combo at CDM.  Mrs. Ellena not only commits herself to her students, but she also connects with and guides all CDM students through her work with Student Council. Her smile, humor and collaborative spirit cause students and staff alike, to confidently engage in and embrace challenging new learning.  Her knowledge and unwavering devotion make Mrs. Ellena a valuable asset to her team and our CDM community as a whole.

We feel so fortunate to spend our days working alongside and learning from Crystal, and we feel lucky to be able to honor her in this small way for the great work she does!

Del Mar Heights – Ian Phillip, STEAM+ Physical Education Teacher
Del Mar Dolphins are pleased to announce our PE Teacher, Ian Phillips as our January Employee of the month! Ian has been a steadfast and dependable part of our staff for many years and plays a huge role in the daily activities that occur here on campus. He regularly goes above and beyond in all that he does to enrich, educate and strengthen all our students in every grade level. He not only serves as our daily PE teacher but, he regularly engages kids in extra-curricular activities that he coordinates such as “Iron Dolphins Running Club” and extra duties and activities around school. He constantly strives to get kids excited to participate in working together and teaching kids the value of good sportsmanship. He is well respected by all his co-workers and is an invaluable staff member here at the Heights. Congratulations Ian!

Del Mar Hills – Jodi Neilson, STEAM+ Music Teacher
Congratulations Jodi Neilson – she is Del Mar Hills Academy’s January Employee of the Month!  Jodi, who has been a Music Specialist for many years in DMUSD, returned to our campus this year and we couldn’t be more grateful to her for bringing a vibrant music program back to Del Mar Hills Academy!

Jodi is a music specialist who enjoys the time she spends with students engaging them in song and movement.  When you walk into her classroom, it is overtly clear that Jodi loves what she does, and her passion for teaching spills over to every student she works with.  She maintains an extraordinary level of excitement and energy, which seamlessly flows into her program of music instruction.  Our students truly become musicians under her guidance.  Jodi has been an extraordinary addition to the STEAM+ program; she has brought a positive attitude and can-do spirit that was just what we needed in a music program at Del Mar Hills Academy.  We are extremely thankful to Jodi for supporting our students in building their appreciation for the art of music. 

Ocean Air – Kate Daniel, Sixth Grade Teacher
Ocean Air is excited to recognize Mrs. Kate Daniel as our Certificated Employee of the Month. Kate is a creative, compassionate, and caring educator.  She focuses on designing a challenging and engaging classroom environment that allows all of her students to thrive.  Kate has an insatiable thirst for new knowledge and loves exploring new and exciting teaching strategies with her colleagues.  She is an integral part of the 6th grade team and is well respected by her coworkers.  We are fortunate to have her caring for and guiding our students.  Congratulations Kate!

Sage Canyon – Karyn Conner, Third Grade Teacher
Sage Canyon’s January employee of the month is Karyn Conner.  Karyn exemplifies what it means to be a life-long learner.  She continually strives to grow as a professional and further develop the craft of teaching. Her curious, inquisitive nature sets the tone for students to ask questions and be curious too!  Karyn’s passion for mathematics is evident.  This year, she created a math book club with her teammates.  She always makes herself available to answer questions, look at student work, or offer guidance to others when asked.  Not only does she support teachers at Sage Canyon with CGI, but she works with teachers throughout our district to ensure our students receive the best instruction.  The Sage Canyon community is grateful for her!

Sycamore Ridge – Jenna Solares, Speech Language Pathologist
Jenna Solares is an amazing speech pathologist and works very hard to support her students and all staff. She has been a driving force in planning/executing the ability awareness week for all students to gain further awareness and empathy. She conducts thorough assessments and develops thoughtful interventions for students. Jenna goes above and beyond to ensure success for her students in and outside the classroom. We are extremely lucky to have Jenna as part of the Sycamore Ridge Staff! Congratulations Jenna!

Torrey Hills – Scott Wilken, Fifth Grade Teacher
Congratulations to Scott Wilken, our January Torrey Hills Employee of the month.  Mr. Wilken has been a valued member of the Torrey Hills staff.  This year, he moved on to our 5th grade team from 4th grade.  He has been enthusiastic and dedicated to collaborating with his new team and engaging his 5th graders with their grade level content.  Mr. Wilken provides timely student feedback and is responsive to individual student needs.  During math instruction, he encourages student thinking and learning through problem solving and classroom discussions.  We are proud to have Mr. Wilken at Torrey Hills!

Early Childhood Education – Haley Harrington, Preschool Special Day Class Teacher
Haley Harrington is being recognized as the Special Education Preschool Employee of the Month based on her dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to students and their families. Haley has collaborated with our SELPA team to develop and implement an exceptional program using technology to facilitate communication from students with expressive language challenges. She has volunteered to share her expertise by mentoring others and conducting District level trainings. Haley is dependable, hard-working and collaborative and is devoted to providing an excellent preschool experience for our students.

District Office – Kevin Lesko, Business Services & Purchasing Supervisor
Congratulations to Kevin Lesko, the District Office Employee of the Month!  As the Business Services and Purchasing Supervisor, Kevin collaborates with departments and school sites negotiating contracts, evaluating bids and requests for proposals, and is constantly looking for ways to save the district money while maintaining quality products and services.  Most recently, Kevin had a key role in working with the Facilities Department to issue and evaluate request for qualifications for Architects and Construction Managers.  Kevin is customer service oriented and a valuable resource to our district.  Congratulations Kevin!