Teacher Rodriguez, SPFD’s Knickman honored at GMSP

October 19, 2005
Santa Paula News

Good Morning Santa Paula! debuted Tuesday with traditional awards to outstanding public safety and education personnel honored by the Chamber of Commerce.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesGood Morning Santa Paula! debuted Tuesday with traditional awards to outstanding public safety and education personnel honored by the Chamber of Commerce. Hosted by Limoneira Co., GMSP! met at Logsdon’s at Santa Paula Airport.Teacher of the Month Nick Rodriquez is a Santa Paula High School alumnus who now teaches all levels of mathematics as well as science, said Principal Tony Gaitan. A graduate of UCSB, Rodriguez has taught at SPHS for six years, and has garnered recognition from UCSB for his “dedication and passion as an educator,” noted Gaitan.Rodriguez is both liked and respected by his students, including those he communicates with in Spanish. “He works hard on lessons,” cutting through the complexity of learning mathematics, and works with students as a tutor after school hours. Respected by his peers, Rodriguez has a reputation for patience and a great teaching style, as well as other “gifts that make him a great teacher.”Rodriguez is the MESA - Mathematics, Engineering and Science Advancement - advisor who has “prepared students to compete and win top honors and awards over the years.... He has established recognition for SPUHS as a top school” and garnered recognition for his efforts throughout the region, said Gaitan.“How do make calculus fun?” joshed GMSP! moderator Ben Schuck, as he presented Rodriguez with the Teacher of the Month plaque. “It’s a struggle everyday, but what I like to do is challenge the kids” and they live up to same, noted Rodriguez.Santa Paula Fire Fighter Clarence Roy Knickman has only been a Department Reserve from January, but the Public Safety Officer of the Month already has several departments interested in hiring him as a full-time firefighter, said Chief Paul Skeels. “Roy is one of our new crop of Reserves, and let me tell you what he brings to the SPFD,” including serving one full 24-hour shift each week at Station 82 located on Main Street.
“Roy is tremendously dedicated,” with an interesting background including earning a Bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics for cycling and later participating in the Tour de France. He was also a cycling coach for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.Knickman grew up in Ventura County and graduated from high school in Colorado Springs. He has become an “extremely active and hands-on” member of the SPFD. “I wish had I had 10 or 20 of Roy on the department,” noted Chief Skeels.But Knickman has received a provisional job offer from the City of Paseo Robles, and is in the background investigation stage for two other fire departments. “I’m sorry I don’t have a full-time position I could give him now,” noted Chief Skeels.Knickman said he used to cycle through Santa Paula and “never imagined” he would work in the city, and when Station 82 was opened “It was a huge opportunity for me, a late in life career change to make my life a little more meaningful and do something for the community.” Knickman appreciates working in a small town where everyone knows and appreciates the firefighters, and his tenure with the SPFD opened up the job opportunity in Paseo Robles, in spite of his lack of experience.“What surprised me is that typically” public safety resembles a “paramilitary hierarchy that’s not pleasant at times, but when I came to the SPFD” the atmosphere was one of respect and appreciation, from administration to his fellow Reserve firefighters. “It’s a testament to Santa Paula and the management of the department that is the way people are treated,” said Knickman. “I thank everybody and the community itself for having faith in us and wanting” to expand the SPFD.John Macik/Santa Paula Chevrolet provides plaques for the Chamber awards each month.

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