Cassandra Palacios, a licensed vocational nurse at Los Alamitos High School, has been named Orange County Employee of the Year for Health and Student Services. She previously had been honored as an employee of the year by the Los Alamitos Unified School District and now goes on to compete for statewide honors in the program sponsored by the California Department of Education.
As a school nurse, Palacios has played a pivotal role in carrying out the District’s comprehensive safety plan that allowed the high school to reopen for in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver.
“Even in these stressed times, Palacios exhibits calm under pressure,” Pulver said. “Her diligence in looking out for the health of all students and families is evident in everything she does.”
A 1995 Los Alamitos High School graduate and lifelong resident of the community, Palacios graduated from UCLA and turned to nursing after an initial career in the mortgage industry. Palacios came to the District in 2013, serving first as an itinerant nurse serving all nine District campuses before moving to the high school in 2017.
Dr. Gregg Stone, Los Alamitos High School principal, said Palacios is a tireless worker who puts the needs of students first. “She realizes that health matters cannot always wait until the morning, and it is not uncommon for parents or staff to receive a phone call or email from her late into the night or on weekends,” Stone said.
Palacios, who has five children, has also served as a youth basketball coach, team parent for youth baseball, Girl Scout Leader, room parent at Rossmoor Elementary, and as a board member for both the Los Alamitos High School football and girls basketball teams.
“I feel blessed to come to work every day to serve the community I grew up in, have raised my children in, and am fortunate enough to call my home,” Palacios said on hearing of her countywide honor. “Once a Griffin, always a Griffin!”