Board be­stows hon­ors upon em­ployee, teacher

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page - By JULIE DRAKE Val­ley Press Staff Writer

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.

JULIE DRAKE/Val­ley Press

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.

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