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Home / News / Education / Riverside County names 2 more Educators of the Year

Riverside County names 2 more Educators of the Year

by Staff
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Two more Riverside County school employees have received Educator of the Year honors, the Office of Education announced. 

On Tuesday in a meeting room at the Hemet Unified School District’s main office, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Edwin Gomez, school district officials and HUSD Director of Facilities Services Michael Sattley’s wife surprised him during what he thought was going to be a routine cabinet meeting. 

“Little did he know, they were about to announce that he had been named 2024 Riverside County Classified Administrator of the Year,” Office of Education spokesman Craig Petinak wrote in a statement. 

“Michael’s dedication to improving schools at HUSD reflects a profound commitment to creating an optimal learning environment for all students,” Gomez said in a statement. “He actively involves students, staff, and community members, in the improvement process fostering a sense of ownership and pride in school facilities.”

Immediately following the surprise announcement, Sattley remarked, “I can’t do what I do without the support of an amazing team. The support here and the amazing support I have at home allow me to do this important work.”

Sattley’s focus as the director of facilities services at HUSD has been on transforming and upgrading facilities at older schools to align more equitably with newer campuses, according to the Office of Education.

“Sattley believes that students who are comfortable at school can be inspired to learn, collaborate, participate, share, grow, develop their talents, and expand into their fullest potential,” Petinak wrote. 

Sattley oversees a variety of modernization projects throughout the school district.

On those campus visits during which he interacts with members of the school community, Sattley “seeks to help students and staff experience construction projects as more than a noisy inconvenience, but, instead, as real-world STEM examples and a beacon of hope,” according to Petinak. 

Colleagues describe him as “true educator” with a versatile vision for developing educational facilities “from farms to water distribution simulations, theater modernization, medical clinics, automotive shops, makerspaces, and a cutting-edge welding facility.”

Michelle Forcina displays her classified employee of the year certificate. | Photo courtesy of the Riverside County Office of Education

Classified Employee of the Year

On Feb. 9, “the atmosphere in the Canyon Springs High School multi-purpose room was buzzing with nervous excitement,” Petinak wrote in a statement. “The pep band and the cheerleaders were warming up while family, friends, and colleagues, gathered in anticipation. When Michelle Forcina walked in, the whole room erupted in congratulatory applause as the beloved school secretary was surprised to learn that she was being named the 2024 Riverside County Classified Employee of the Year.”

Gomez commented after his surprise visit, “She draws inspiration from her mentors who have guided her journey across her career, and Michelle aspires to pass on her knowledge and wisdom to her colleagues, fostering an environment where everyone can reach their fullest potential.

“Michelle’s dedication to building connections with students, even outside the classroom, demonstrates her commitment to their well-being and academic success,” Gomez said in a statement. 

“What a huge surprise, and I am so honored and so happy to be a part of Moreno Valley Unified School District,” Forcina said in a statement. “I love all of you, my students out there, and the staff that is so supportive. I’m so grateful for all of you, and I am looking forward to many more years with all of you.”  

County school officials credit Forcina with doing “a little bit of everything” in her role as an on-campus classified employee at Canyon Springs High School. 

“Her career at Moreno Valley Unified School District is a testament to how strong performance can lead to opportunities for advancement,” Petinak wrote. 

Forcina began her career on campus as a substitute employee in the attendance office, then she was hired as the school’s receptionist, followed by a move into a clerk position and finally becoming a secretary supporting the principal and the busy day-to-day activities in the school’s main office. 

“From registration and recognition events, to coordinating meetings and payroll, Michelle Forcina exudes a calm, safe, and relaxing presence so that students, parents, substitutes, and employees, can all feel accepted and reach their fullest potential,” Petinak wrote. “She connects with students and opens her office as a place of acceptance, relaxation, and safety where they can connect with a familiar face.”

Her colleagues describe her as a “reflective listener who extends herself to others and who hears all, but judges none.”

Earlier this month Gabriella S. Zlaket from Arlington High School in the Riverside Unified School District was named school counselor of the year.

Four additional surprise visits were planned throughout February. All Educators of the Year will be recognized at the 2024 Celebrating Educators Luncheon scheduled for May 7 at the Riverside Convention Center.

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