Grover Khem, a custodian at Jefferson Leadership Academy, has earned the Classified Employee of the Year Award from the Long Beach Unified School District. The award was announced during a recent celebration in honor of classified employees at the Teacher Resource Center.
“I’m a little bit bashful and surprised and shocked at the same time. Why me, out of so many employees?” Khem said immediately after the award presentation attended by hundreds of employees.
“I don’t believe that I have proven more effort than other employees,” Khem said. “I just go through my routine.”
Khem’s modesty is no surprise to his colleagues, who described him as quiet but friendly, reliable, respectful of all, and “the epitome of a hardworking and dedicated employee.”
Starting as a substitute custodian nearly 20 years ago, Khem has served at Jefferson since 2006. Originally from Cambodia, he arrived in the United States after spending four years in a refugee camp in Thailand.
Khem received 17 nominations for this year’s award.
“He is a reassuring force of tranquility and perseverance in the upkeep of the physical environment, and the smooth operation of day to day maintenance and safety of our campus,” one Jefferson teacher wrote. “Grover’s adherence to a spirit of kindness, generosity and positivity is a code to emulate and honor, especially this year.”
More than 30 nominations for Classified Employee of the Year were narrowed down to six finalists, including Khem, who will also be recognized at the LBUSD Board of Education meeting planned for June 1.
The five other finalists were Gregory Broadway, plant supervisor II at Marshall; Marcel Hodges, nutrition services worker at Cabrillo; Elizabeth Maglasang, instructional aide-special at Edison; Toma McGuire, recreation aide at Holmes; and Norman Pachejo, campus staff assistant at Cabrillo.