Meet the front office staff of Foothill Tech


Claire Hadley

When walking in the office, you can be expected to be met by the friendly, helpful faces of Kena Camarena, Jean Barrett and Lissa Kellner-Elizarraras. They strive to make Foothill Tech a better place each and everyday while assisting parents, students and faculty peers.

Amber Duhs, Writer

Whether you’ve shown up to school late, needed to turn in a form or simply popped into the office out of curiosity, students at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) can always recognize the three friendly faces that represent the front office: Kena Camarena, Jean Barrett and Lissa Kellner-Elizarraras.

Kena Camarena

Camarena has been working at Foothill Tech for four years and originally started as a “bilingual office assistant,” but is now the School Support Secretary for Athletics. In her free time, she enjoys being out in nature and seeing all of the “wonderful views of the mountains and beaches” in California. Camarena began working as a Health technician at Will Rogers Elementary School, a part time position which worked perfectly with her “mom-schedule.” However, once the Office Assistant position at Foothill Tech opened up, it was the perfect opportunity for her to transfer to a full-time job. 

As the athletics secretary, Camarena has many duties and is constantly busy communicating with athletes, parents, staff and coaches. Camarena plays a huge role in the FTHS Athletics department, as she schedules transportation for all practices and games, making it possible for all of the athletes at Foothill Tech to practice and perform well at their games, matches or meets. Camarena also orders uniforms, buys new or needed equipment for the students and even helps with each sports’ yearly banquet. She also works directly with the athletics director Jamaal Brown, the equipment manager and the Booster Club. 

Although Camarena doesn’t get to interact with the athletes as much as she would like to, she gets to look at all of the team photos that come in and enjoys “seeing their smiles.” She also enjoys working with “all of our coaches” along with “awesome and talented” students. 

Jean Barrett

This is Barett’s very first year working at Foothill Tech and her first time being employed at a school site, as she started in the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Before working at Foothill Tech Barrett held a temporary position in the Human Resources department at the district office when she heard about the position here at Foothill Tech. Day-to-day Barrett answers phone calls for the school, schedules events on campus and tracks active field trips. She also updates the website, as well as the marquee with all of the latest information that students and parents need to know. 

When working at Foothill Tech, there is rarely a dull moment. In fact, one of her favorite memories here was when Vice Principal Frank Davis dressed up as Santa Claus in the leading days before winter break. This memory is a fond one, as staff and students all enjoyed a Christmas story recited by none other than Davis, known for a day as Santa Claus. Helping people find solutions to their problems is one of Barrett’s favorite parts of her job, alongside the ability to use her organizational skills in her career. 

Lissa Kellner-Elizarraras

While this is Kellner-Elizarraras’ first year at Foothill Tech, she has been working with Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) since 1998, holding a variety of positions. She first began as a substitute para educator, and then became a tutor within the AVID program during its formative stages at Ventura High School (VHS). In 2000, she got a position at Pierpont Elementary School, which was “great because it was my son’s elementary school and I was fortunate enough to see him at school everyday.” After working at Pierpont for 22 years, the district made some changes and Kellner-Elizarraras ended up back at VHS, which worked out well as she was glad to be working with high school students once more. During this time she searched for other positions where she could “still work with students, just in a different capacity.”  One of the positions she applied for was at Foothill Tech, “and here I am,” exclaims Kellner-Elizarraras. 

While her day-to-day duties in the office can fluctuate, Kellner-Elizarraras says that every day begins with her “doing [her] best to create a welcoming environment for students, staff and any visitors who may come on campus,” as she is the first to greet anyone who walks through the office doors. Aside from that, her day includes signing students in and out as they arrive or leave, answering the phones, relaying messages and inputting attendance for students and classes. She also handles the mail and checks in orders from the warehouse. In addition to her own jobs and tasks, Kellner-Elizarraras also will assist admin or the health office whenever it is needed, ensuring all needs of the office are taken care of.

One of the things that she enjoys most about her job is “being able to see and talk to all of the students whenever I’m able to,” remembering students that she interacts with often, “even my frequent flier buddies!” While Kellner-Elizarraras is a people-person, she especially loves young people who are “finding themselves and working toward becoming amazing adults” and has immense confidence in the influence that all students can make: “[they] are going to impact our world in marvelous ways.”

Kellner-Elizarraras is especially thankful for “all of the amazing people” who she has been able to work with at Foothill Tech, one of them being her son who is a para educator here. She says, “the others are my office staff who have been so helpful,” reflecting on how much she’s enjoyed their company and insight “[They’ve] taught me so much!” Ending on an especially sweet note, “I am forever grateful.” 

Foothill Tech has a substantial amount of moving parts that all require attention and care in their own special ways, and the office is one important part of our school that helps it thrive. So, next time you run late for first period and have to sign in, or get a call slip to leave class, make sure to wave to all of the wonderful staff in the office who continue to work hard and keep the school moving. Most importantly, be sure to say “thank you.”

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