Benicia Unified School District

BUSD All Stars | March 12, 2024

Category(s): Latest News

Posted On: March 12, 2024

Amber Thomas, Student Supervision Assistant

We are fortunate to have Amber Thomas in a Student Supervision role at Mary Farmar. She is a devoted member of our team who has exceptional dedication to our students, staff, and community! She makes genuine connections with students, meets them with grace as she helps them solve conflicts, and tries to get to know them individually. Amber writes motivational messages and sayings daily in our Primary Center, hoping to positively impact someone else’s day. She takes her role seriously and shows up with enthusiasm and dedication every day. Her commitment to keeping our staff laughing and feeling like a community is felt by our team and greatly appreciated. She steps up to do what is needed, including dressing up as our Falcon mascot during Spirit Rallies. Amber is a cherished member of our community, and we appreciate all she does daily for our community!  Amber, thank you for being a BUSD All-Star!

Amber Thomas

Brian Douglas, Fourth Grade Teacher

Brian Douglas teaches fourth grade at Mary Farmar and is an exceptional educator!  His rare blend of skills creates a classroom environment that facilitates thinking and creativity socially, emotionally, and academically.  Brian’s ability to recognize and elevate each student’s potential beyond their expectations is remarkable.  Brian is also able to help his students see the assets that their peers possess.  For many years, he led Students in Action, lifting our 4th and 5th graders to notice what is happening at their school and community and take action.  He embodies the true art of teaching, leaving a lasting impact on every student fortunate enough to be in his classroom.  The growth experienced under his guidance is profound, and he does it every school year.  He has also been a member of our Instructional Leadership Team, coming to the table to reflect, problem-solve, and move forward in a way that impacts students. Mr. Douglas is a gem, and saying he is appreciated at Farmar is an understatement!  Mr. Douglas, you are a BUSD All-Star!

Brian Douglas

Bertha Netro, Permit Teacher, MFE Pre-School

Teacher Betty, as she is popularly called, has worked for the district for 17 years. She has always been known for her hard work and caring nature with the preschoolers. Over the past two years, she has stepped out of her comfort zone to become the lead preschool teacher at Mary Farmar. In that time, she has blossomed in her role by being able to learn new things and lead her team. She commits herself to creating a warm and welcoming environment for her students and their families. Thank you for all that you do for our students! Teacher Betty, You are a BUSD All-Star!

Bertha Netro

Karen Lorenzo, Senior Food Services Assistant

Ms. Lorenzo, or “Ms. Karen,” exemplifies the concept that every adult at school is an educator.  With her warm smile, consistent presence, and kind manner, she is the gracious adult who greets every single Hound every day as they make their way through the breakfast or lunch line!  As the Food Services Lead at Joe Henderson, Ms. Lorenzo supervises the preparation of healthy, varied, delicious meals for our students.  She also completes a large number of behind-the-scenes responsibilities with students’ lunch accounting and various reports for health and safety!  Whether it is the impressive feat of knowing nearly every Hound by name or the kindness with which she [successfully!] reminds students that they must take a fruit and a vegetable, Ms. Karen’s consistency is a hallmark of every child’s lunchtime experience at Joe Henderson.  Ms. Lorenzo is also a pleasure to work with as a colleague, with her flexibility in bell schedule changes and field trip meal preparation, and as a partner and mentor to her teammate, Ms. Renee.  Bravo to Ms. Karen Lorenzo, a BUSD All-Star!

Karen Lorenzo

Andrew Mertz, Special Education Teacher, JHE

It takes an energetic, organized, compassionate educator to teach and support students with special needs in the Intensive Academic Instruction program, and Mr. Mertz, while brand new to the classroom role, fits it like a glove!  Teaching a small number of students with needs as diverse as Mr. Mertz’s is no more and no less daunting than a general education teacher teaching twenty or thirty students, but the challenges are different.  Mr. Mertz masterfully “conducts the orchestra” of his classroom, with students from kindergarten through third grade, with different academic needs and disparate challenges, and with a team of support staff members whose talents would be squandered if there were not an efficient, team-oriented conductor leading the orchestra.  Mr. Mertz works hard to bring out the best in his students, and his joy in doing so resonates with a smile, even on the most challenging of days.  Mr. Mertz and his family are also members of the Benicia community, and Mr. Mertz clearly enjoys serving the community with a panoply of other talents to impart in kids!  He leads and teaches coding and 3D printing and coaches the newly formed Henderson Nature Bowl Team!  You’ll see them taking hikes and nature walks around town and can cheer them on as they compete in Sacramento on March 20th!  Bravo to Mr. Andrew Mertz, a BUSD All-Star!

Andrew Mertz