Board bestows honors upon employee, teacher
LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Union High School District’s governing Board honored the District’s 2019 Classified Employee of the Year Lorena Durr, and 2019 Teacher of the Year Ruth Simonds with a reception and resolutions in their honor at Thursday night’s meeting.
Simonds teaches U.S. history at Quartz Hill High School; Durr works in the District office in the migrant education program.
Trustee Jill McGrady read the resolutions for Durr and Simonds.
“Whereas Lorena Durr is an exceptionally skillful and dedicated classified employee; and whereas Lorena Durr has the respect and admiration of staff, public, and co-workers; and whereas Lorena Durr possesses a superior ability to inspire love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities; Now, therefore, be it resolved, the Antelope Valley Union High School District endorses Lorena Durr as its 2019 Classified Employee of the Year,” McGrady read.
Simonds, McGrady read, will be remembered “as a skillful and dedicated teacher; and whereas Ruth Simonds has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and co-workers; and whereas
Ruth Simonds possesses a superior quality to inspire love of learning in students of all backgrounds abilities; Now therefore be it resolved, the Antelope Valley Union High School District endorses Ruth Simonds as its 2019 Teacher of the Year.”
Simonds thanked the District for honoring her.
“I have not had a chance to publicly thank the people who have helped me get to this place,” Simonds said. “This is a great honor and I am still so humbled to have received.”
She added she is a child of the District whose parents worked for the District. She and her brothers graduated from the District.
“This school district has always been a part of my life,” Simonds said.
Simonds added as a child, Quartz Hill High was her playground. She attended school events, and hung out on weekends when her father had a yearbook deadline. As a student, Simonds was involved in activities, including the Interschool Communication Council. As a senior, Simonds addressed the Board when the District had gone into debt and she faced the realization that her parents might not get paid.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Simonds said.
Simonds started teaching at Highland High School at age 23, right out of college. She transferred to Quartz Hill High 15 years ago.
“During my 45 years I have seen a lot in this Valley, and I can honestly say I have never witnessed anything like I have been witnessing with this school Board,” Simonds said. “People are upset and mad; I am hurt. This is my life, not just my job.”
Simonds added she is embarrassed for the District and what the Board has put them through.
“I urge the three of you to look inside yourselves; truly think about what you are doing and what you want to accomplish, and at what cost,” Simonds said.
Simonds urged the Board majority to open dialogues with leadership at the schools, and said she would be willing to meet with them to better understand their agenda.
Quartz Hill High School teacher Ruth Simonds (left) is the 2019 Antelope Valley Union High School District Teacher of the Year, and bilingual secretary Lorena Durr is 2019 Classified Employee of the Year.