No matter who you are, how old you are, or where you are from, one thing everybody in this room has in common is that your life was changed at one time or another by a teacher.
Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. And the very nature of teaching allows the teacher to effect eternity – a teacher can never really say where his or her influence stops.
That's why the Cordova Community Council takes a moment each year to look at all the teachers that are working in our community and ask, which one touched the most lives? It is a difficult choice!
But not this year.
We did not have to search hard because this teacher wears many hats, and one of them is worn in this very building. Learning more about her teaching career helped us take a fresh look at who teachers are, who they are teaching and how education truly is a lifelong journey.
A lot of people in Rancho Cordova know Stacy Leitner. Stacy is the able executive assistant to City Manager Ted Gaebler who manages multiple tasks, juggling them expertly, all at the same time.
So competent is she at this job that when the position of City Clerk opened up in the City of Rancho Cordova a couple of years ago, Ted appointed Stacy to the position on an interim basis – on top of everything else she was doing.
Indeed, Stacy Leitner has distinguished herself as a top notch professional helper, which would be enough for most people. But not Stacy. It turns out, she has an entire second career.
When we started we didn't know much about Stacy's career as a teacher of adults down the street at Heald College. That's where students go to get skills to get jobs. In the current economy, teachers who are performing this function are more important than ever.
Stacy is a full-time educator at Heald. But Heald College President Ada Gerard told us that Stacy's contributions to the campus, to the students and to the community far exceed the classroom.
President Gerard said that Stacy is a great teacher, providing excellent instruction. But it is her knack for expanding the boundaries of the classroom to the entire Rancho Cordova community that makes her extra special.
Using her connections in the City of Rancho Cordova, Stacy expanded Heald's student internship program to the city where students are now working as interns, riding along with police and code enforcement officers and more.
From her perch at City Hall, she eyeballs the community for real world opportunities for Heald students to plug into Rancho Cordova. Heald staff and students are now participating in local fund-raisers, helping with community tax preparation, community events and much more because Stacy has lit the way.
She has been a valued mentor to thousands of students, many of whom are Rancho Cordova residents, during her 10 years at Heald. She is mentor of teachers, too, expanding learning by sharing what she knows with others.
Stacy's enthusiasm for the administrative profession has elevated the entire field. She is active in associations that promote her profession and the teaching of it. Stacy serves on the national advisory board for the Administrative Professionals Conference through the American Society of Administrative Professionals, making her a national role model in the field.
She has taken this astonishing achievement back to Rancho Cordova, helping establish the Rancho Cordova Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals and is currently serving as its secretary.
It all comes together for her lucky students in large ways and in small.
Stacy recently asked took a student shopping for professional clothing because the student didn't have the resources to purchase attire needed to enter the working world. She donates food to the student food locker and never misses participation in student fund-raisers. She believes everybody can make a difference then demonstrates how!
Here's what Stacy's fans over at Heald College had to say about her:
"Stacy's overall contributions are extraordinary. She is a special human being with a strong work ethic and represents the very best in professional commitment. Many of Stacy's strengths are those that cannot be taught. They are achieved with experience, reflection and connection to individuals."
Stacy, in a time of great economic change, we are all students looking for new knowledge, a next job, a relevant mission. You make that happen for many, benefitting us all.
Thank you for being an outstanding reminder that education is not limited to school yards and universities, that it continues always, and in many ways, from many experiences.
We are so fortunate in Rancho Cordova to call you our own. We count on you for many things every day and you never disappoint. For all that you do to show the way for those who will someday do the same, we thank you.