When Rena Moore began learning about transportation in 2006, she had to “learn everything from scratch like a little bitty baby.”
Rena, now a transportation specialist, was working as the secretary at Highland Crocker Elementary School for seven years and came “by accident” to the transportation department when it needed a secretary for a week during summer.
Her dedication and willingness to step-up in service of Oakland’s students and families led to her being named a 2016-17 OUSD Classified School Employee of the Year and Alameda County Classified School Employee of the Year.
“Now I’m just doing what I love to do and I plan on continuing here,” she said. “The highlight is that other people notice me. I always assume that I’m the little person and I never thought big people would notice, but they do and the acknowledgement of my work is really rewarding.”
Rena’s story with OUSD began as a student coming up through elementary and middle school before graduating from Fremont High School. She intended to go into nursing, but after an injury Rena’s mom submitted an application for a district job signed with her daughter’s name. A short time later, Rena got an acceptance letter in the mail.
“I thought it was related to me going to school here, so I called my mom to find out what was going on,” she said. “That’s how I got in, I never applied. I never would have seen myself here after all these years. I look back a little bit and I’m like, ‘How did I get here?’”
Rena finds transportation exciting because she is “always learning something” and enjoying that “it does not stay the same and it gives me the motivation to move.” She gets to interact with both parents and students, many times seeing the “kids I got to know at Highland who became parents.”
Rena offers career advice that comes straight from her own experience: “Make sure you have a great relationship with your boss, that’s how I got where am now.”
She also recommends that employees “take advantage of all of the professional development you can.” Rena attends the customer service training offered by the District each year in order to “build those communication skills and use what I learn to interact with the community, which you need to do no matter where you are.”
When it comes to the impact of her work, Rena thinks back to her days as an OUSD student.
“I knew that my teachers always put me first, and I want to do the same” she said. “We’re here to make sure each student elevates and that’s what I focus on.”