Oakmont’s multitasking extraordinaire receives CUSD honors

When Oakmont Elementary School office manager Rosie Bister was told a colleague would be receiving the Classified Employee of the Year award, she brought flowers to the school board meeting.

Ms. Bister was embarrassed to be already holding a bouquet when her own name was called at the Thursday, May 17 gathering, recognizing her contributions among CUSDs non-teaching employees. The gesture, though, is indicative of her style.

Whether she’s in the office serving as the first line of communication with parents, students and staff or volunteering for the local Red Cross and a myriad of other causes, Ms. Bister is known for lending support.

Having job-shared with Ms. Bister for many years, Michele Mosely has great respect for the care her fellow office manager brings to the job. Her admiration goes beyond that, though.

“I see her do everything in her life wonderfully, with her family, with her friends. She’s very people-oriented and she listens to what people have to say,” Ms. Mosely said. “If she sees a problem, she does something to help that person, some little thing.”

When Oakmont’s principal is away, the office managers step into a surrogate role of helming the school. In this capacity, Ms. Bister occasionally faces big decisions. For the most part, though, it is the many little things that characterize her day-to-day job.

Though the office occasionally reaches a state of controlled chaos, Ms. Bister rises to the occasion with unflagging courtesy, according to Tomie Lopez, who has a first-grader and a second-grader at Oakmont.

“There can be 6 people in the office, all wanting attention. Someone needs a permission slip, or kids come in late and need an Owl Slip to get to class. It’s never-ending,” Ms. Lopez said. “But she’s always helpful. She’s very approachable. She makes time with you.”

After all the time Ms. Bister has made for others, her friends, family and colleagues are delighted the school board took the time to honor her contribution. While the district has always recognized a Teacher of the Year, the Classified Employee of the Year title has fallen by the wayside in recent years.

When the school board decided to revive the award, Ms. Bister was the first person to come to mind, said board president Jeff Stark.

Ms. Bister’s contributions include representing the classified employees of the Claremont Unified School District as president of the local chapter of the California School Employees Association.

Discussing the award, Ms. Bister’s first thought was to represent them again, sharing the credit for her success.

“I’m so humbled because there are so many hard-working people in this district. Anyone of them could have received it,” she said. “It’s truly such an honor for me to even work in this district. I love being here.”

Ms. Bister and Ms. Mosely began collaborating as co-office managers at Oakmont in 2002. Before that, Ms. Bister’s involvement with CUSD included participation with the Sumner PFA, the coordination of Sumner’s science lab and manning the school’s attendance desk.

The Oakmont post been a great fit for her, said Ms. Bister’s husband Leo Bister. Mr. Bister is an engineer at JPL who worked on the Mars Rover. Yes, she’s literally married to a rocket scientist! Despite the high technicality of his work, he never fails to marvel at the multitasking demanded by his wife’s job.

“She has to be on her toes and has to make a lot of command decisions. I always tell her that her job is a lot harder than mine,” he said.

After a year at a tough job, Ms. Bister will take a welcome break by joining her husband at a high school sports camp in Mammoth. Mr. Bister is friends with its organizer, a coach from South Hills High School, and has participated as a volunteer for many years.

Mr. Bister, a dedicated runner, will help coach the students. Ms. Bister will serve as chef. True to form, she will continue to lend support even on her time off.

Mr. Bister said he is pleased to see his wife get recognized for all that she does.

“It meant a lot to Rosie. I’m just so happy for her.”

—Sarah Torribio



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