Beth Swanson, Classified Employee of the Year, and Brennen Priefer, Teacher of the Year, for Idyllwild School.
Photo by JP Crumrine

At the end of March, the Hemet Unified School District held its annual Employee of the Year Celebration. Every year, each department and school site nominates a certificated and a classified employee to be recognized for their hard work.

Idyllwild School Principal Matt Kraemer nominated fifth-grade teacher Brennen Priefer as Idyllwild Teacher of the Year and Bethany Swanson, office manager, as Classified Employee of the Year.

Both said they were honored with the distinction. “I owe it to my students,” Priefer said. And Swanson thanked the teachers for their support of her.

In his letter to the selection committee, Kraemer praised both staff members.

Of Priefer, he wrote, “Mr. Priefer demonstrates exceptional talent in working with students across all grade levels. He displays excellent collaboration skills and is gifted at building relationships. He is looked up to as a role model by his students and has implemented a cross-age tutoring program where his students go into primary classroom for a pair-shared reading activity.”

Reinforcing Kraemer’s recommendation, Vic Scavarda, the Idylwild representative on the HUSD Board of Trustees, wrote, “Brennan’s dedication to Idyllwild School has been apparent for many years. Middle school sports wouldn’t be the same without his talents.”

As a former Idyllwild teacher, Scavarda added, “It was a pleasure to work with both of these folks and they deserve congratulations.”

Priefer is completing his seventh teaching year at Idyllwild School. He also serves as the head coach of either the boys or girls middle-school basketball teams. He also has raised more than $15,000 to support the middle-school sports program, Kraemer said. And, he finds time to organize an after-school program, too.

Speaking of Swanson, Kraemer wrote, “She is always willing to go the extra mile to benefit our school. She consistently volunteers to take on additional duties when the need arises … She greets everyone with a smile and is an excellent ambassador for our school as she sets a positive tone as the first contact person when visitors arrive on campus.”

Another testimonial of Swanson’s ability to manage the school office was offered by Scavarda: “Beth Swanson and her wonderful Office Staff make Idyllwild a welcoming place. Beth’s cheerful welcome as you enter the school sets the tone for our visitors. We are lucky to have her.”

In June, Swanson will complete her tenth year at Idyllwild School.