NAVIGATION



Josh Stogner
2018 Trustees' Fund Award Recipient

School Support Coordinator
The Bay School, Santa Cruz, Calif.


What makes The Bay School (TBS) a special place is the people—the extraordinary students we serve and the people behind the scenes who make the magic happen.

One of the people behind the scenes is someone who extends himself to ensure our students have a safe school to arrive at every day. He is the guy who decides to come in on the weekend to put a fresh coat of paint on the bathroom walls because he wants the bathrooms to be clean and available for students during school hours. He’s the guy who, without hesitation, stays at work until 9:00 pm to make sure our building and staff are safe after our school was victim to a string of crimes and vandalism. He’s the guy who takes students out on special outings during his lunch break when there are staff shortages. He’s the guy who endlessly repairs students’ bikes and desks and toilets and holes in the wall. He’s the guy who never calls out sick. He’s the guy whose hard work often goes unrecognized because he quietly and seamlessly solves problems and notices things that nobody else sees. He’s the guy who makes everyone laugh and who most of us consider to be the “heart” of The Bay School.

It is with great pleasure that we nominate Josh Stogner for a Trustees Fund Award.

Josh started at TBS in July 2007 as an instructor, where he worked for several years providing direct 1:1 support to our students. He was promoted to his current role of School Support Coordinator in 2012. Josh now manages many important school operations, including school purchasing, billing, safety inspections as well as facility and vehicle maintenance. He also takes an active part in our recruitment process, where he plays a key role in screening, interviewing, and on-boarding new staff.

On top of the responsibilities of the School Support Coordinator position, Josh goes beyond the call of duty and has taken the initiative to lead a number of other projects when he sees a need to be filled. He has taken on student medication tracking, management of student funds, monthly related services billing, staff attendance audits, and corporate outcome data reporting. He joined our Central Reach team, and flew out to our corporate office in Randolph, Mass., to receive training so he could support our rollout of Central Reach on the West Coast. He has created school-wide, team-building activities (“Office Olympics”) for our employees to take part in during our quarterly all-staff meetings. He became a Safety Care Trainer so he could certify our staff as Safety Care Specialists while our Training Coordinator was on leave. He has taken the lead in organizing our Harvest Festival, the only event we hold each year that includes families and siblings of individuals served. Lastly, when our Director of Education and Clinical Services was on maternity leave earlier this year, Josh took on a number of additional responsibilities to assist our Executive Director in running our school—he input data into web Individualized Educational Program (IEP) systems to prepare for student IEP meetings, met with our school nurse to facilitate our student medication audits, helped oversee the services rendered by our Speech/Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists, and conducted Visitor Day school tours for prospective families, school districts, and interested community members. This is only a small illustration of the immeasurable ways Josh has supported our school over the past several years!

A parent of a long-time student of TBS wrote:
Josh is a big guy with an equally big heart. I recently watched the Mr. Rogers documentary with a friend and that gentle, humble, and intelligent person reminded me so much of Josh. He’s steady and wise and always there to help. He’s like a big brother to staff and students alike. He feels like family. He’s a natural caregiver, an innate nurturer, and devoted to The Bay School community. Mr. Rogers tells a story about his mother who told him as a child to “look for the helpers.” Josh is the epitome of a helper. (Read full version of parent letter below.)

Josh is dedicated and selfless. He fully represents the mission and core values of our organization and he has made a forever lasting impression on our school. We couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award as a way of honoring his unwavering commitment to The Bay School!

Parent Letter:
I met Josh Stogner at The Bay School 11 years ago when my son Gabriel was six years old. After typing these words, I look across the table at my now 17-year-old son, a young man. The baby blonde hair he once had is now dark, and his frame is nearly six feet tall, but I still see him as he was back then, in the expressions he wears. He feels me looking at him and meets my eyes so naturally now, and flashes me his twinkly grin. I smile to recall him as a little guy, when we were still trying to navigate his autism and desperate to understand how he experienced the world and what we could do to help him learn. “Who are you? What do you see? What do you need?,” were the main questions at that time. Writing this feels like an opportunity to reflect on the long road that led us to the place we are today, with a strong understanding of who Gabe is as an individual. Images of him at school over the years flash before me like a slide show of memories projected in my mind. Josh’s face appears in so many of these mental pictures. I pause and sit here for a moment, not thinking about what to write next, but just thinking about Josh, who he is, what he has meant to us, and I feel deeply grateful that he is part of Gabe’s story. For me, life is about who you share it with and we’re very lucky to have so many companions with us on this journey, including Josh.

Josh is a big guy with an equally big heart. I recently watched the Mr. Rogers documentary with a friend and that gentle, humble, and intelligent person reminded me so much of Josh. He’s steady and wise and always there to help. He’s like a big brother to staff and students alike. He feels like family. He’s a natural caregiver, an innate nurturer, and devoted to The Bay School community. Mr. Rogers tells a story about his mother who told him as a child to “look for the helpers.” Josh is the epitome of a helper.

Josh began as an instructor, working one-on-one with the students and Gabe was very happy to be one of these kids. There’s an authenticity and depth to his kindness that is felt by everyone. He has an energy about him that the students want to be around. He gets them. He always has a smile on his face, and that smile only grows wider with each interaction he has with the students. In his current role, he’s everywhere all the time. Wherever he’s needed. He’s like a superhero! You’re in need? Boom! Josh is there. Students spend their breaks coming to visit him, so happy to get to interact with him for a handful of minutes, and they leave that exchange smiling broadly too. Josh is not only an important social relationship for the students, the staff also know they can come to him for anything. Having once been an instructor himself, he has a real understanding of the challenges of this work and shows his support for staff in a multitude of ways. When a visitor or a parent walks through the door, nine times out of ten, Josh will be the one to warmly greet them and help them in whatever way they need. I call him The Bay School Ambassador.

I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for this award.
 
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