In an emotional presentation Thursday, Jennifer Hallman accepted congratulations from Dr. Robert Graeff, superintendent of the Ramona Unified School District.
“Jennifer has been announced as the 2010 Classified School Employee of the Year,” and is in the running for the countywide title.
According to Director of Pupil Services—and Hallman’s supervisor—Eileen Highley, “Jennifer is extremely dedicated to her job, acting as effective liaison between the parents, staff at the various school sites and peers at the district office.”
Hallman is known for a positive attitude and “incredible empathy” by many co-workers.
She began with the district 16 years ago as a receptionist. With many “sideways” moves through different departments, Hallman settled into the Pupil Services department nine years ago.
“It is such a blessing to work so close to home,” said Hallman. “It really is an easy job. The people make it easy. It is such a rewarding place to work.”
Hallman may claim the job to be easy, but it is a gift to be able to do the kind of work she does, said Graeff. “It is her patient and caring attitude that makes parents feel they are being heard,” not an easy task when covering the multiple schools, people, personnel and varied personalities throughout the daily routine.
Hallman’s parents grew up in Ramona, and so did she. She graduated from Ramona High School and watched her five children do the same.
“I love this town,” said Hallman. “It is growing, but I can still go to the store for a couple of things and not get home for hours because I see people I know and we just get to talking. I love it.”
It is this connection to the community and ability to strike up a conversation that has enabled Hallman to truly make a difference for the district, according to co-worker Laura Vigneau.
“The thing about Jennifer is that she makes everybody feel important,” said Vigneau.
“Everyone deserves this,” Hallman said of her award. “I am in shock. Everyone does the same thing I do.”
Hallman’s mischievous side follows as she turns to Graeff and said, “Oh, does this mean I get a day off?”
Everyone in the room laughs as Hallman’s eyes fill with tears. “Thank you. Thank you so much. Wow. I can’t believe it.”