For our last interview in Series 3 of our 3-part series, we spoke with Pearl Award Winner, Cheryl Camany.

What’s your title and school location?

Homeless Liason, Family Resource Center

How many years of classified?

30 years

What brought you to Salinas City Elementary School District?

As I was finishing up my credentialing program there was quite the buzz about SCESD and what they had to offer teachers, parents and the student community. I wanted to work where I grew up. I wanted to give back to the community I was so comfortable with. SCESD offered a caring, creative and collaborative environment for administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, and of course, the students.

What keeps you motivated and inspired on a daily basis?

Knowing that our FRC team, community partners and our district relationships make a difference in the lives of so many homeless and foster families' lives is what motivates and inspires me on a daily basis. I truly look forward to coming to work everyday. The collaborative support between and among the employees of SCESD is so encouraging and inspiring.

What does your award mean to you?

The Pearl Award, to me, represents the journey of our homeless and foster families. It reminds me of what Susan C. Young said, “As a pearl is formed and its layers grow, a rich iridescence begins to glow. The oyster has taken what was at first an irritation and intrusion and uses it to enrich its value. How can we coat or frame the changes in our life (and in the lives of our homeless and foster students) to harvest beauty, brilliance, and wisdom?” This award has served as a daily, visual reminder to our staff to look past the rough exterior of the oyster shell and search for the gem of every family member we serve.

What is the most gratifying thing about your job?

One of the most gratifying things about working at the Family Resource Center is our team. We serve as a support system for one another as well as for our families. The families we work with have had so much trauma in their lives. They reach out to us for guidance through the educational process, information and referrals to necessary agencies, resources, programs and most of all, hope. It is a safe place for families to come and be transparent, even through the heartbreak and tears of sharing their stories. Our team makes every selfless effort to provide wrap-around services with encouragement.

Any advice for new educators?

My advice for new educators....ENJOY THE ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY and try to stay in the moments of precious life learning with your students. You are making a difference in their lives!