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Newport-Mesa Recognizes Classified School Employees of the Year
Posted 1/24/23

Patricia Van Sickler and Marco ChirinosNewport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) congratulates the 2023 Classified School Employees of the Year, Marco Chirinos, the head custodian for Davis Magnet School, and Patricia Van Sickler, health assistant for Rea Elementary School. Through this award program, NMUSD recognizes employees who go above and beyond the expectations of their job duties to provide exemplary service to students, staff and the community. 

“Though their jobs are very different, Marco and Pat exemplify our district’s commitment to whole-child support. We are fortunate to have them on our campuses,” said Superintendent Dr. Wesley Smith. “Congratulations, and thank you for your dedicated commitment to our Newport-Mesa community,” he said. 

Marco Chirinos

Though Marco Chirinos has only served as head custodian for Davis Magnet School for three years, his presence looms large on the campus. Students and staff can frequently be heard excitedly greeting “Mr. Marco” as they pass him in hallways and classrooms.

Chirinos is well-known for his unshakeable positivity and can-do attitude. He plays a vital role in maintaining a positive school culture, treating everyone with respect and encouragement, as well as offering support. He never backs away from a challenge, but instead commits to finding solutions that enhance the campus. When a composting system was introduced to the district’s custodians, Chirinos enthusiastically led the way in successfully implementing new procedures ahead of the timeline.

His commitment to keeping the Davis campus clean, safe and healthy for everyone resulted in the students’ Eco Club, no longer needing to spend time after school picking up trash since Chirinos keeps everything so clean and tidy. The club has now refocused its efforts to developing a recycling program.    

“Davis Magnet School is better because of Marco Chirinos. We are incredibly grateful for this positive, hard-working, caring leader,” said Davis Principal Christy Flores. 

Patricia Van Sickler

Known as Ms. V at Rea Elementary School, Patricia Van Sickler arrives early every day to greet students, families and staff with a big smile and cheerful demeanor. In her nine years as health assistant, Ms. V has become an indispensable member of the school’s staff. She regularly puts her incredible organizational skills to the test in order to maintain impeccable health records and communication logs.

Ms. V views the students as important members of the Rea family, taking the time to learn each one’s name, favorite pastime, family traditions and pets’ names. For students who require a little extra comfort, she keeps an expansive collection of books, coloring pages, stickers and snacks. If a student is injured somewhere on campus, she leaps into action, wheelchair and ice pack in tow, to begin first aid in the field. And just about every first-grade (or above) student can recall visiting Ms. V to get a special treasure box in which to keep a lost tooth.   

She is also instrumental in organizing uniform donations from community organizations and provides them to students in need. Ms. V keeps needle and thread in her desk so she can mend uniforms on the spot.

“Ms. V is the heart and soul of our school. We are fortunate to have her supporting our students and school community every day,” said Principal Lorie Hoggard. 

Chirinos and Van Sickler were each recognized with flowers and cheers at their respective school’s flag deck in December 2022. They will be formally recognized by the NMUSD Board of Education at its May 16 meeting.