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Wenatchee Woman Named School Employee of the Year

Champion for students recognized for transformational leadership and building community partnerships.

OLYMPIA — May 8, 2017 — Carolyn Griffin-Bugert (Wenatchee School District) was named the 2017 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced today.

Griffin-Bugert is a grants administrator for her district.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal recognized the nine Regional Classified School Employees of the Year and announced the winner at a ceremony in the Old Capitol Building in Olympia. They were joined by their families, friends, colleagues, legislators, representatives from the state’s educational service districts and various education associations.

“Carolyn is the kind of employee we need in every school district,” Reykdal said. “She is dedicated to engaging with her community, partnering with local businesses and creating a positive legacy of progressive learning in her region. On behalf of OSPI staff, thank you for your commitment to Washington students.”

Carolyn has targeted her efforts on impacting graduation rates and post-graduate outcomes for some of the most needy students. To do this she has used large grants from GEAR UP and 21st Century Community Learning Centers along with numerous smaller public and private grants to increase the number of Latino and low-income students taking AP classes, provide financial support for students to go to college, strengthen alternative high school options that outperform the state averages, and much more. Carolyn’s success at securing grant funding has also engaged the local business community in providing matching dollars for many of the programs.

“As a former middle school and elementary principal, I have seen firsthand the benefit students gain from the focus these programs provide – especially low-income and minority students,” says Director of State and Federal Programs Bill Eagle. “Because of Carolyn’s work, many students over many years have come to believe in their ability to attend and succeed at the college level.”

Regional Winners
Before announcing the State Classified School Employee of the Year, Reykdal recognized all of the regional finalists, nominated by their respective educational service districts, and presented each of them with a custom-made award from Hilltop Artists in Tacoma.

The Regional Classified School Employees of the Year include:

  1. Rhonda Christian, Northeast Washington ESD 101, Jenkins High School
  2. Daniel Holzer, ESD 105, East Valley High School
  3. Mary Ann Sturdivan, ESD 112, Woodland High School
  4. Paul Christian, Capital Region ESD 113, Southside School District
  5. Tonja Smith, Olympic ESD 114, North Kitsap High School
  6. Debra Campbell, Puget Sound ESD 121, Sumner School District
  7. Laura Jepsen, ESD 123, Kennewick High School
  8. Debra Johnsrud, Northwest ESD 189, Terrace Park School

More Information


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Chris Reykdal, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and improve student achievement on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 |

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 5/8/2017

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