After serving for more than 20 years as the de facto face and voice of Lompoc Unified School District, Patricia “Patty” Lopez was recently honored for her efforts by the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
Lopez, who primarily works as LUSD’s switchboard operator, was named a county office and technical classified employee of the year, LUSD announced Monday. Lopez earned the award, according to the district, thanks to her ability to quickly identify what a parent, job applicant, or business partner needs and to direct them to where they need to go.
With her years of dedication, she can often solve most problems in the lobby without any further assistance, LUSD reported.
“While at first blush this may seem like a simple position, when you see Patty in action you realize the dedication, positivity, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence required,” said Bree Valla, assistant superintendent of human resources for LUSD.
LUSD administrators also commended Lopez for her ability to stay calm, polite and positive, regardless of the demeanor of the person with whom she is interacting.
“When people first arrive to Lompoc Unified they are greeted by Patty Lopez, either face-to-face or over the phone,” said Superintendent Trevor McDonald. “Patty is always positive, up-beat and handles whatever comes her way with a ‘can-do’ attitude.”
As a county award recipient, Lopez now will be under consideration for the state's Classified Employee of the Year Award.
Public schools in Santa Barbara County are slated to remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 academic year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.
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