EMCSD Names their Classified Employee of the Year
Over the last 16 years of her professional career in the El Monte City School District (EMCSD), Maria Galindo’s reputation as a caring and dedicated employee is understood the moment you enter her cafeteria at Shirpser School. When asked to describe her work ethic, the answers vary depending on who provides the insight. Her colleagues know her as the “Silent Professional”, someone each of them trusts to execute the valuable work of a school nutrition employee. Students refer to her as “Mami Galindo”, spanish for “Mommy Galindo” because of the warm and caring persona she carries with her each day.
Ms. Galindo first came to EMCSD as a parent, when her son started at Potrero School in 2001. She consistently volunteered at events, eventually applying and landing a Nutrition Substitute job in 2007. If Maria Galindo was subbing for your cafeteria , principals, staff, and students knew it would operate as normal. She quickly became the most requested sub at Nutrition Services because of her detailed work ethic and was promoted to Lead Sub in 2009. When asked about her ability to move up so quickly, she said it was about consistency. “My job was to do the work as if the original staff member was still there,” explained Ms. Galindo. “Every school has a different system and routine, and if we want the day to be smooth, the routine needs to stay the same.”
Praise follows Ms. Galindo everywhere you look. “I started in this district about two years ago, and I immediately admired Maria. She embodies the El Monte City School District spirit through her work, compassion, integrity, and generosity. She exemplifies the importance of feeding our students and the fact that our roles go so much deeper than the bare minimum,” said Karla Torres, Nutrition Services Operations Coordinator.
Maria’s impact at Shirpser is also shown in the data. EMCSD launched a districtwide breakfast program eight years ago to provide students with daily free, nutritious breakfast. 88% of Shirpser’s students eat breakfast every morning, that is the highest participation rate for breakfast across the entire district. The number is even higher for Shirpser’s lunch program; it boasts 90% student participation. Her impact goes beyond her school, especially during intersession periods like Winter and Spring Break where Ms. Galindo is always the first to volunteer to provide meals to students. When asked why, her answer is simple, “Los niños” (the kids).
If you ask Shirpser students about Ms. Galindo, their opinions are always shared with a smile. “I’ve known Mami Galindo for a long time. I was so proud to see her win the district Employee of the Year that I started crying,” explained 6th grade student Jacquelin. “She absolutely deserves this because she cares so much about us. Every student knows they can go to her and I’ve never seen her deny anyone anything when it comes to food. It’s hard to explain, there’s a vibe about her that makes us feel safe.”
Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia is excited to have Ms. Galindo represent EMCSD at county and state employee of the year awards. “Maria’s passion is expressed daily, students are literally feeding off of it. The way she runs her cafeteria, welcoming everyone and anyone like it’s her own home, is really heartwarming and proves how important meal services are to students. That is why she is El Monte City School District’s 2022-2023 Classified Employee of the Year, and why we believe she deserves to be recognized at the county and state level.”
Los Angeles County Office of Education is currently reviewing all district Classified Employees of the Year and hopes to announce their representatives for the state by early May.