The CalPERS Spotlight on Excellence award shines a light on the outstanding contributions of California's public-sector workforce, whether a public agency, program, or employee. These are the people and organizations behind the scenes that often go unnoticed, as they work diligently to provide the essential services we rely on in our everyday lives.

The 2020 Spotlight on Excellence award, announced on Wednesday, October 14 at the CalPERS Educational Forum Online, went to Trieste Huey, Director, Food Services at the Fontana Unified School District.

As Food Services Director, Trieste and her team jumped into action when the district announced on March 13 it would be temporarily closing schools in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As schools began to close, Trieste’s team was quick to act.

“We averaged over 300,000 meals per week since that first day of Grab and Go service on March 16. I can’t tell you how proud I am to receive this award on behalf of my amazing team,” Trieste said. “I have 270 dedicated food service professionals, along with countless district staff and community partners that have been willing to support in any way they can throughout the process. This has been an emotional, physically exhausting journey that they show up for each day.”

With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, FUSD’s Food Services team made certain students and their families, some of who rely on FUSD’s Food Services as their primary source, got the meals they needed when it mattered most.

See the Extraordinary Work of Past Honorees

Past Award Recipients


Michelle Tucker, Chief, Division of Human Resources (HR)
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Recognized for launching several successful initiatives to advance women and minorities, shaping future generations of employees to work in the transportation industry. Under her leadership, the Recruitment Office collaborated with special groups such as Downtown Streets, Goodwill Industries, Prison to Employment, and refugee groups that onboard employees who have had trouble entering or re-entering the workforce.


Manuel Colunga, Outdoor Field Supervisor
San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District
Recognized as a dedicated steward of over 44 miles of water canals and recharge basins throughout the San Bernardino County region, Manuel's passion for groundwater management knows no bounds. He led a partnership with 12 neighboring agencies to raise awareness and further enhance water recharge efforts in neighboring communities.


Jeanne Amos, Library Services Director
El Dorado County
Recognized for 22 years of dedicated public service, Jeanne transformed El Dorado County libraries into the community hubs she envisioned. Programs she developed helped El Dorado County receive recognition from our State Legislature for its early learning education, and for having the highest percentage in the state of reading to young children each day.


Kenneth Duran, Assistant City Manager
City of San Dimas
Recognized for his accomplishments during more than 30 years as assistant city manager, including the city hall remodel and downtown revitalization.


East Valley Water District
Recognized for their commitment to leadership, partnership, and stewardship, and understanding the need to educate the community on the efforts involved in maintaining a water system.


Howard L. Chambers, City Manager
City of Lakewood
Recognized for his accomplishments during his 38 years as city manager, and his ability to build working relationships with city staff, civic leaders, and state legislators.

CalPERS Educational Forum