GGUSD Cook Selected as Orange County Classified Employee of the Year

Photo of Connie Flores, Classified Employee of the Year

Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) employee Connie Flores, who has served as a cook/baker for the Food Services Department for 23 years, was named an Orange County Finalist for the Orange County Department of Education’s 2024 Classified Employee of the Year program. During a surprise celebration last week, Superintendent Gabriela Mafi congratulated Flores on the recognition and thanked her for her for using her exceptional cooking skills to serve GGUSD students. Flores is one of only 9 classified employees from across the county to receive this prestigious recognition.

Flores prepares over 1,000 meals each day at Garden Grove High School and serves as catering chef making all of the meals for the Apple Cart Café at the district office. Connie is known for her positive can-do attitude, excellent customer service skills, and her flavorful meals. Connie beams with delight when teaching staff and student workers the ins and outs of a kitchen and is regularly visited by former student workers who come to thank her for making a difference in their lives.

“For more than two decades, Connie has created new meals that are loved by our students, and she has developed a strong supportive and unified work force in her kitchen,” said Agnes Lally, Director of Food Services. “Those who have trained under her remember her fondly for her kindness and patience. During the pandemic, she was pivotal in keeping morale high and worked tirelessly to ensure families had access to healthy and delicious meals.”

Orange County Department of Education will honor its nine honorees during Classified School Employees Weeks beginning May 20.  The nine county finalists are also eligible for the California Department of Education Classified Employee of the Year program as well as the new U.S. Department of Education Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) program.

Each year, GGUSD submits nominees for the OCDE Classified Employee of the Year program.  GGUSD’s 2024 nominees include:

  • Clerical and Administrative Services: Nancy Duncan, School Secretary at Pacifica High School
  • Custodial and Maintenance Services: Eberardo Cruz, Lead Custodian at Bolsa Grande High School
  • Health and Student Services: Linda Mendez, Spanish Translator/Interpreter
  • Paraprofessional: Cynthia Sandstrom, Paraeducator
  • Security Services; Asusena Rodriguez, Student Supervision Assistant at Violette Elementary School
  • Skilled Trades: Jaime Bahena, Painter in Maintenance Operations and Transportation
  • Technical Services: Jonathan Peterson, Network Analyst in Information Services
  • Transportation Services: Madeline Henriquez, School Bus Driver

“Our district has the absolute best classified employees who play an important role in the seamless operation of our schools and whose skills greatly contribute to the success of our district,” said Board of Education President Teri Rocco. “We are grateful for our classified workforce and for all they do each day to support our students.”