Classified employee earns statewide award

Martin honored at statewide reception for her dedication to student success


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Liberal Arts Division assistant Zolayma Martin has been named Classified Employee of the Year for both the Contra Costa Community College District and the state of California.

By Roxana Amparo, Editor-in-Chief

Liberal Arts Division assistant Zolayma Martin was chosen as the Classified Employee of the Year for both the Contra Costa Community College District and the state of California.

To be considered for Classified Employee of the Year, candidates must have at least five years experience on the job, be committed to the mission of their community college, serve their institution through participation in professional or community activities and serve as a leader beyond the local institution.

Recognized for her accomplishments, Martin received her state Classified Employee of the Year plaque on Monday at a ceremony  at the California Community College Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento.

Martin’s colleagues at Contra Costa College recognized her for best representing all classified staff at the college by submitting a Community College Employee of the Year Awards Program application to the district Governing Board on Feb. 7.

After winning the district award, Martin was entered on the state level. She was then selected among the other classified employees in the state.

“I felt deeply honored to have been recognized with the outstanding award. I am blessed to work with people who make me feel recognized and appreciated every day,” Martin said.

Martin has been part of the CCC community for about 16 years and works from the LA Division Office in GE-210 and manages division budgeting and scheduling among other duties, speech professor Sherry Diestler said.

Diestler, along with others in the LA Division, helped complete the application to submit to the district. The award honors an employee who demonstrates a high level of commitment to the college community.

She was selected for the state award by representatives of the California Community College Governing Board and the state Chancellor’s Office.

Diestler said, “We all, in our division, believe Zolayma is an incredible person and well deserving of being a model employee. She is just superior.”

Diestler said Martin creates a community and a family feeling at the college.

Liberal Arts Division Dean Jason Berner said Martin trains student workers who come into the division and teaches them as much as they want to know.

“When they (student workers) leave, they’ve gotten a valuable educational experience. Working here becomes an educational experience and it is because of her,” Berner said.

“The faculty come in to hug her,” he said.

Diestler said, “She has that loving parental touch. She is firm and authoritative, but also very loving. So if we miss deadlines or need to straighten something out, she will say it like a parent might say it, and we know it’s for the good of the division.”

Martin said when she found about the state award she was in shock.

“I found out on (April 27). I couldn’t believe it. But then, after the shock wore off, I felt deeply honored, not only for myself but for our entire district,” Martin said.

Berner said, “She always takes the mission of this place very seriously, of the college as an educational institution. We all know, here in the Liberal Arts Division, that she is a treasure. She is a hard worker and incredibly organized. And she is a terrifically warm person.”

Martin said she feels honored to have won the “prestigious” award and feels proud to represent the district.

Martin said it is her priority to help students achieve their goals.

“My mother always told me not to do things for attention, but because they are the right thing to do,” she said. “I never imagined that one day I was going to be recognized for the hard work that I do and love.”