Nutrition manager named classified employee of the year

Donna Juchtzer, nutrition manager at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, has been named Douglas County School District's classified employee of the year.

Juchtzer was chosen from among the nominees during a ceremony at Minden Park on Thursday.

"Donna is a team player extraordinaire," said Denise Higgins, nutrition services supervisor. "She has inspired the staff in the kitchen at Pau-Wa-Lu to do more than what is expected of them each and every day."

Juchtzer has been with the Douglas County School District in the nutrition program for 21 years. She started as a cashier in 1988 at Scarselli Elementary, was promoted to an assistant cook in 1993 at Pau-Wa-Lu, when it first opened, then was promoted to manager in 2005.

"Exceptional customer service is Donna's first and foremost focus," said Higgins. "Everything that is done or decided revolves around the thought: 'Is this good for the students, staff, nutrition program?' The outcome of this focus is demonstrated by the percentage of the students who eat the lunches that Donna and the staff prepare " nearly 56 percent of the students at Pau-Wa-Lu are purchasing a lunch, which is very difficult to accomplish."

Higgins said Juchtzer also gives special attention to student volunteers in the kitchen.

"Donna holds a training session each year for students volunteering to work prior to school starting, so they, too, are comfortable, knowledgeable and know that they are wanted, needed and indeed special to us," Higgins said. "At the end of each year, she gives a special thank you of a special decorated cake and coupons for a smoothie to all of the student volunteer workers to let them know how much all are appreciated. Kindness, helpfulness and service are primary components of each day in the kitchen at Pau-Wa-Lu."

Although overwhelmed by the honor, Juchtzer said she's only one part of an amazing team.

"It takes a whole staff to make it happen, not just me," she said. "It's a great crew."

Norma Mallett, human resources administrator for classified employees, said judging this year's nominees was difficult.

"It's truly been my pleasure and honor to work with people so dedicated to the students of our schools," she said.

The other classified nominees were Jason Berry, custodian, Scarselli Elementary; Gary Crocker, head custodian, Jacks Valley Elementary; Debbie Hergenrader, playground aide, Meneley Elementary; Teri Hyman, head secretary, Carson Valley Middle School; Rosella Jordan, head secretary, Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School; Annette Kangas, attendance secretary, Douglas High School; Charles Lang, HVAC technician, buildings and grounds department; Ramiro Oropeza, custodian, Whittell High School; Mary Jo Palmer, bus driver, student transportation; Kristin Philbin, school computer technician, Gardnerville Elementary; Teresa Tompkins, special education aide, Minden Elementary; Barbara Truman, head secretary, Zephyr Cove Elementary; Caralee White, teacher assistant, special services department; and Sue Williamson, playground aide, Pinon Hills Elementary.


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