201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


Classified Employee of the Year

Rodriguez juggles many tasks to keep school running
Photo by Danny Ma
ASB students and Dr. Rubio congratulate Classified Employee of the Year Benigna Rodriguez in the administration office.

Principal secretary Benigna Rodriguez is the go-to person for just about everything on the FUHS campus: Students ask her for access to the elevator when they’re injured. Teachers call her when they need an emergency substitute. Parents reach out to her when they’re confused about the day’s bell schedule.

Benigna Rodriguez arrives early each morning to make sure substitutes have been assigned for teachers who have special meetings or who have called in sick for the day. (Photo by Karis Kim)

It’s this ability to juggle multiple requests with calm and confidence that has earned Mrs. Rodriguez the honor of Classified Employee of the Year.

The FUHS staff is impressed with how much Rodriguez does behind the scenes. Speech and debate coach Tarin Almstedt said that Rodriguez has helped him manage the complex travel plans and district paperwork required for his students to compete in out-of-state events.

Paying close attention to details, Rodriguez noticed that the speech team would need another chaperone if they wanted to compete in Chicago. 

“We were on a tight deadline,” Almstedt said. “She used the PA system to call me and helped us make the deadline for the school board approval.” The speech team was also scheduled to travel to Las Vegas and Berkeley within two weeks. There were a lot of hotel lists and other paperwork to manage.

“While she was getting the hotel info for UNLV, she was also figuring out the transportation for the team to get from the Oakland airport to the hotel in Berkeley.”

By supporting teachers, Mrs. Rodriguez helps students have a better classroom experience. Science teacher Kristin Cruz says Mrs. Rodriguez helps her manage her classes on days Cruz isn’t on campus. 

“Mrs. Rodriguez is always awesome at helping my students by making sure that I can plug in specific substitutes for my classes so that I can request my favorites like Mr. Martins and my former student teacher Ms. Meucci,” Cruz said.

One reason Mrs. Rodriguez knows so much about Fullerton High School is that she, her husband and her two children all attended FUHS.

Benigna Rodriguez graduated from FUHS in 1990. (Photo courtesy of the FUHS Pleiades)

“When I was a senior in high school, I was all set to go to school to be a court reporter,” said Rodriguez, who graduated in 1990. “I went to Oregon in the summer to spend time with my aunt and uncle but I fell in the river and damaged the nerves in my hands. I always wanted to be a court reporter but things changed.”

Instead of becoming a court reporter, Rodriguez earned an AA from Fullerton College in Secretarial Administration. She could type an impressive 100 words per minute but with her injured hands she could never reach the 200 words per minute required for court reporting.

Her and her husband George both attended Fullerton, her daughter Julisa graduated in 2010, and her son Isaiah in 2018. 

Rodriguez has worked in the school district for over 28 years. She worked as a long-term substitute attendance clerk at FUHS in 1994. Later she worked as a data technician, but later realized that she didn’t want to work 12 months a year as she had young children. She took a job at Sunny Hills in 2002 so she could work 9.5 months instead of 12 months a year and spend more time with her family during the summer.

She returned to work at Fullerton High School in 2014 when her son began his freshman year.

Benigna Rodriguez and her family can be seen at many FUHS football games. All four of the Rodriguez’s attended Fullerton High School. (Photo courtesy of Benigna Rodriguez)

According to principal Laura Rubio, genuine Tribe Pride helps Rodriguez connect with the FUHS community. Rubio says it was Rodriguez who taught her so much about the school when she became the principal.

“I need to depend on her sometimes more than I depend on my assistant principals even,” Rubio said. “She is my voice if I’m not here. She runs my calendar. She tells me what to do.”

“For the teachers, she’s the go to. Everything stems from her,” Rubio said. “[Rodriguez] is that nucleus of everything that we do around here and she knows everything that happens around here.” 

Rodriguez said she wouldn’t be where she is today without the love and support of all the staff, students, and faculty members.

“I mean these ladies and gentlemen up here, they’re amazing,” Rodriguez said. “If I’m stuck by myself, they always offer to help. We’re kind of our own little family here in the office.”


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