Following are the Human Services Employees of the Month. Click the link to see all the fascinating recipients.
Deyanira Hernandez has been selected as the Transitional Assistance Department’s (TAD) Human Services Employee of the Month. Her contribution as an Office Assistant III (OAIII) goes above and beyond expectation. Deyanira continuously does an excellent job in making sure her duties are met on a daily basis. Some of her duties as an OAIII include managing the building and taking quick action when any concerns arise. She is also responsible for keeping constant communication with the Lead Security Guard in regards to the security team. Deyanira demonstrates excellent customer service to both external and internal customers by displaying professionalism at all times.
In recent months, Deyanira was asked to step into the role of in-charge Secretary for our Deputy Director. She took this opportunity with no hesitation and is doing an excellent job. She not only continues to do her duties as an OAIII, but now is also assisting with secretarial duties.
Deyanira has stated that her biggest accomplishment is raising her three daughters and is very proud of them. She is a military mom as her eldest daughter is currently serving in the US Navy. She enjoys spending time with her daughters by going out to dinner, Disneyland or the beach.
Deyanira prides herself in making sure the job is done to the best of her abilities; she truly cares about her job and those around her. She is readily available to staff and is always willing to assist when needed. Deyanira truly represents what customer service is every day that she is here.
In the face of significant adversity and challenges, Sharri Carroll remains positive and encouraging to others. Her ability to take on challenges with a solutions-oriented approach, teaches everyone around her how to view challenges as learning opportunities for growth. Her leadership is echoed by many staff at the sites she manages and is highly regarded within Preschool Services Department (PSD) management despite being one of the newest Program Managers. Sharrie inspires others by modeling excellence, thoughtfulness, and a great work ethic.
Sharri began her career in the Head Start program as a Teacher in 1994, prior to Preschool Services being established as a San Bernardino County department in 1999. Her heart has always been with the children as evidenced by a note from a child in one of her classes earlier in her career which stated “I love her for loving me.” Sharri was promoted to Site Supervisor in 2006 and excelled in her leadership capacity. Sharri was promoted to PSD Program Manager in January of 2017.
Sharri loves spending time with her family and enjoys Bon Jovi concerts.
Laurie Avila has been employed with the County for over 17 years. She started her career with the County as a Fiscal Clerk in Human Services Personnel in 2001. In 2002, she transferred to the Department of Behavioral Health. There she worked for three years in the Financial Interviewers Office, Payroll and Business Office before promoting to the HS Information, Technology & Support Division (ITSD) in 2005 as a Fiscal Specialist. At ITSD she handles solicitations and procurement for all IT-related hardware, software and maintenance.
Throughout her many years at ITSD, Laurie continues to provide excellent customer service to both internal staff as well as to other Human Services Departments. She constantly emphasizes meeting the necessary time lines with her assignments; which include meeting ongoing or special procurement needs and any billing and annual maintenance agreement deadlines. Laurie consistently demonstrates pro-activeness that goes beyond her regular duties, always checking and following up on tasks even when she is no longer scheduled to work. Her ability to initiate and complete work tasks without supervision has made Laurie an invaluable asset to the Division.
Laurie also serves as a back-up to the Director’s secretary and any clerical and IT Technical Assistants supporting the Division, as well as acting as the Department’s Wellness Advocate.
Laurie is married with five children; a 22 year-old son and four daughters ages 19, 17, 10 and six. She is currently enrolled in International School of Ministry (ISOM) Bible College. She is pursuing her Associate of Arts (AA) degree and is scheduled to graduate in October of this year.
Misty Solvang began her County career in 2001 as an Employment Services Specialist and promoted to a Veterans Service Representative Trainee for Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2003. Since then, Misty has worked her way up through the ranks to her current position of Supervising Veterans Service Officer, in charge of the San Bernardino, Redlands, Yucca Valley and 29 Palms offices.
Misty has played a vital role in training the department’s new Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) hired as a result of a staffing increase. Working with the four new VSOs daily, in just a few short months they were ready for their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs accreditation examination, and all VSOs passed with flying colors. More recently, Misty took the lead on the San Bernardino office move from its long-time location on Fifth Street to the new offices on Hospitality Lane. All aspects of the move and coordination of movers and vendors was handled seamlessly with as little disruption of customer services as possible. Once moved, Misty worked diligently with County departments and outside vendors to meet the specific needs of the San Bernardino office employees and got the “dust settled” in no time. During the entire process, Misty was cheerful and positive, handling her extra responsibilities with a can-do attitude and infectious enthusiasm.
When she’s not helping clients and mentoring her employees, Misty loves spending time with her family and spoiling her grandkids. She also enjoys the outdoors and keeps fit and healthy playing competitive Pickleball with her husband.
Misty is a vital member of the County VA team and plays an important role in the department’s success. Veterans Affairs congratulates Misty Solvang on being named the HS Employee of the Month!
Brenda Perez has been an employee of the County since 1998, and a Payroll Specialist for Human Services (HS) since 2003. Brenda consistently delivers excellent customer service to the approximately 450 HS employees that she is assigned to. Her responsibilities include meeting department new hires on an individual basis, auditing eTime, as well as processing all paperwork related to an employee and their position with Human Services. Additionally, she has been an integral part of the quarterly mass hires for the Transitional Assistance Department (TAD), and most recently, the two-day, one-stop speed hire events put on by Children and Family Services.
Brenda is professional, efficient and compassionate when dealing with payroll issues and pays attention to details. She is always a champion for the employee, going above and beyond to make sure that HS employees get paid correctly and on time. Brenda is often called upon to assist with the training of new Payroll Specialists and her knowledge of payroll is an asset to the division.
Nadia Fuentes began her career with Children and Family Services (CFS) in 2009 as a Social Services Practitioner (SSP). She has served in a Carrier, Intake, and a Mentor capacity. As a supervising SSP she supervised a field unit and has been a training supervisor since 2015. Nadia has been instrumental in advocating for the needs of newly hired staff, and in the development of a new training structure that provides more comprehensive mentoring and support for new hires.
Since the implementation of the Workforce Training and Development Team (WTDT) in June, 2018, Nadia is responsible for supervising 30 trainees and two mentors. She has developed an excellent working relationship with the regions her team supports. Further, she is WTDT’s liaison with partners at the Performance, Education & Resource Centers and Child Welfare Development Services; providing excellent teaming and customer service. In 2018, she was honored by Tribal Star for her partnership and support of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) trainings for new hires. Nadia participates in the CFS Fatherhood Initiative and serves at the yearly Fatherhood Breakfast. Nadia is a lifelong learner who enjoys sharing new concepts with her trainees and colleagues.
Nadia is a mother, and a grandmother, which further drives her commitment to ensuring staff embrace the CFS mission of safety, permanency, and well-being for all children. Her passion for this work is evident in the way she consistently strives to provide a supportive learning environment for new staff, and ongoing support for existing staff. Nadia is truly an asset to her team, CFS, and the families we serve.
Jennifer Pennell began her career with the Department of Public Health in 1998 as a Health Education Specialist I and soon promoted to Health Education Specialist II for the Animal Care & Control Program where she served for eight years. She has a tremendous love for animals and is one of the original co-founders of the Animals aRe First Fund (ARFF), the non-profit organization established to support the county’s animal shelters. In 2007, she promoted to a Medical Emergency Planning Specialist in the Preparedness and Response Program where she advocated for disaster planning.
Jennifer promoted to Public Health Program Coordinator in 2014, and did an exceptional job leading the department in its pursuit of national accreditation. Through Jennifer’s leadership, thousands of hours were spent organizing, reviewing and editing documents. She ensured that each of the 12 accreditation domain teams had everything that they needed to stay on track and complete their documentation. She is highly organized, always prepared and remained professional and patient throughout the accreditation journey. She provided status updates at management meetings and always found ways to incorporate an interactive activity to reinforce her messages and instructions. She and her team also developed a marketing campaign with Ace the Accreditation Dog, scavenger hunts and other creative methods of making accreditation fun and keeping our momentum going.
Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband, being an enthusiastic baseball mom for her son, and caring for her two cats, “Ginger” and “Lovey,” and “Goldie” her new Golden Retriever puppy.
Allison Hixon has been serving the residents of San Bernardino County since 2013. She is currently a Supervising Social Services Practitioner in the High Desert Region and provides leadership to staff for two programs: In Home Supportive Services and Adult Protective Services, which serve one of the most vulnerable populations in the county. Ms. Hixon began her career with San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) as an Intern before becoming a Social Services Practitioner. Throughout her time with the County, she has continually demonstrated her desire to serve the community while effectively leading staff to work collaboratively in achieving the County’s goals.
Allison has eagerly accepted challenging assignments and significant projects while demonstrating a keen understanding of their importance and impact to the community she serves. She recently assumed a critical role with the Home Safe initiative where she utilized her strong connections to the community and other County departments to collaborate on this new project. Her knowledge of local resources and her ability to cultivate solid relationships with stakeholders has been vital in helping to expand much needed services, particularly in the remote regions of the county.
Allison’s dedication to her community and to her staff is also evident in her commitment to do whatever it takes to help her clients and her team. In one particular example, she responded late in the evening with staff to a remote region of the county where several clients were in the process of being evicted from their domicile. Allison and her team worked quickly with community agencies and other County departments to ensure each client received temporary shelter so they had a place to sleep that evening. She and her staff continued to provide follow-up visits to each client to ensure they received stable housing and ongoing supportive services.
Allison’s effective leadership, her ability to develop strong relationships and her willingness to do whatever it takes is indicative of her commitment to the county and its residents. She is highly respected and is a valuable member of DAAS and to the High Desert Region Supervisory team. She is well deserving of this recognition as she is an exemplary employee.