Jude Binkley staff writer
This month the district will say goodbye to one of its longest tenured staff members. The name Annie Espinoza is familiar to the Beverly students who attended Horace Mann, as she has been working the front office at the school for the past 31 years. While she has been checking students into school for over three decades, her career at the district started in the adult school when she was 18 years old.
“I was there for three years and then I went down to the accounting department for a year and a half. After that I went to the public information office,” Espinoza said. “At that time, we would hear great things about Horace Mann; it kind of stood out a little bit.”
She gives credit to Dr.Arthur Fields, who served as principal of Horace Mann from 1976 until his retirement in 2001, for helping her come to Horace Mann. Espinoza also has four children who were brought up in the district and went to Horace Mann.
“It’s amazing. I was fortunate enough for my four children to go to school here, so I knew a lot of [Horace Mann] not only as students here but as classmates of my children, so I knew them a little more in depth,” Espinoza said. “My children went to their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and parties. It was great. It was a community, a family.”
In addition to all of the students whom she helped over the years, Espinoza also saw many new faces in the teaching department.
“I saw a lot of these teachers when they were first hired. They were young and now they are seasoned, amazing teachers. That’s the good thing about the Beverly Hills Unified School District: they hire the best,” Espinoza said. “It’s been great. There’s only one person [Sandi Mason] on the staff left that was here when I started 31 years ago when I came to Horace Mann.”
Espinoza formed many connections during her long tenure in the BHUSD, and having her children at the schools gave her a sense of community and belonging within the district.
“The community, the fact that my kids went here, it was just great because it was the best of both worlds,” Espinoza said. “I always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom and this was the next best thing. I had vacations with my children and I was able to know who their classmates were.”
Espinoza will be missed by students and staff members, but she believes that it is her time to depart and say goodbye to the Horace Mann front office. After a long career and having the opportunity to work with countless students, Espinoza looks forward to the final two weeks of school before her retirement. Although it may be hard to leave, she is ready to pass on the position.
“Leaving all these people is sad, but I think its my time to step down and let somebody else take over,” Espinoza said. “I just want to say thank you for all the wonderful memories, and I will take them all with me. And hopefully I will run into them again; I’m sure it’s not the last they’re going to see of me.”