NEWMAN - A long-time staff member has been honored by the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District as its nominee to the countywide “Employees Making a Difference” initiative.
Jill Reeves, who has been an employee of the district for 32 years, including the past 25 as a library/media clerk, is this year’s local honoree.
The program recognizes classified school employees from throughout Stanislaus County for their contributions and dedication....and for “making a difference” in the lives of their students and fellow staff members.
Reeves became involved in local schools as a parent volunteer and was eventually hired as an instructional aide at Von Renner.
She became a library clerk a few years later and, after briefly splitting time between Von Renner and Hunt Elementary in 2003 Reeves shifted fully to the newly-opened Hunt campus.
Her responsibilities and involvement, however, have ranged well beyond the duties surrounding the library.
Reeves was assigned to oversee Hunt’s computer lab when it opened in 2005, and did so for many years. With every student now assigned a device the computer lab has gone by the wayside and her duties changed accordingly. Now, Reeves said, she is responsible for the distribution and maintenance of the Chromebooks assigned to the Hunt students as well as overseeing the library.
Her responsibilities have temporarily changed somewhat through the pandemic and school closures, but her contributions to Hunt have continued.
Reeves said she looks forward to the return of students and to resuming more normal library operations.
Despite the prevalence of technology, she reflected, students still enjoy the feel of a book in their hands and look forward to the weekly library visit (more frequently if they have completed their selected book).
Students sometimes come in at recess to help in the library, Reeves said, and they look forward to the campus book fairs.
One benefit of her position, she explained, is that she works with every student on campus rather than a single class or group.
Hunt is small enough that she knows each of the students by name.
“I see them all every week (in normal times),” she shared.
Ryan Smith, the district’s director of human resources, wrote in nominating Reeves that she makes a point of greeting students in front of the school as they arrive....not because she was directed to, but because she wants the youngsters to feel welcome.
With fist bumps, high-fives and even hugs, he wrote, “Mrs. Reeves knew every student’s name and would speak with them about things that only someone with a genuine connection could do.”
That dedication extends to her support of fellow staff members, Smith wrote.
He described Reeves as “someone who selflessly gives to others, seeking no recognition or praise.”
Her contributions go well beyond the Hunt campus.
In her letter of recommendation, Hunt Principal Donna Williams said Reeves has assisted in a number of community service endeavors as well.
Reeves is also involved in the productions of the district’s Musical Theatre Department, which are directed by her son, Orestimba teacher Hardy Reeves, and has served as president of the local California School Employee Association chapter.
“I spread myself around where I am needed,” she acknowledged.
After more than three decades with the district, she is now working with a second generation of students.
“Parents who I had in school are introducing their children to me now,” Reeves noted.
Through the years, she said, being around children has been the greatest reward of the job.
While she takes pride in her work, Reeves shared, “to me this isn’t just a job. I enjoy working with all the staff members and I love the kids, or I wouldn’t be here. They are all little persons with their own personality.”