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Central Kitsap Paraeducator Carla Yenko Named School Employee of the Year

Carla Yenko is known as an empowering role model and trained engineer

OLYMPIA — May 10, 2018 — Carla Yenko (Central Kitsap School District) was named the 2018 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced today.

Carla is a paraeducator at Olympic High School in Educational Service District (ESD) 114, and is a mechanical engineer by training. She started her career in education as a volunteer in her daughter’s kindergarten classroom.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Chief of Staff, Jamila B. Thomas, 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.

“Carla has made an invaluable impact on her school and community,” Thomas said. “She serves all students as a coach, mentor, counselor, advisor, and more, and she is a true testament to the power of public education. Thank you, Carla, for sharing your skills, experience, and passion for students in our schools.”

As a former Special Olympics coach with a passion for math, Yenko believes the role of paraeducator creates the “perfect niche” for her skills as a motivator of students with many different needs.

Yenko is a math coach who runs the lunchtime and afterschool tutoring sessions that expect to serve more than 2,000 students this year. Yenko’s success has prompted the district to ask her to train all paraeducators in preparation for their highly qualified exams. She has facilitated six trainings, and helped 35 educators complete the exam. Yenko is also a valued Key Club advisor to a group of over 100 students who are on track to complete more than 2,400 hours of community service this year.

“Carla has a strength of thinking beyond her own position and employee group and is able to provide substantive ideas to improve systems for all,” said Olympic High School Principal, Rebecca Johnson.

“We can go to her not only for math and Key Club, but for anything that is on our mind or even personal matters,” said students Jazmine and Alanna. “She’s very welcoming and generous to everyone she encounters and she especially inspires people with her optimistic personality. As a teacher and a person, Mrs. Yenko is dependable and sincere, and her positive attitude towards students and staff is something she wholeheartedly shares. She encourages not only every student, but staff as well to strive for their best.”

Regional Winners
Before announcing the State Classified School Employee of the Year, Thomas recognized all of the regional finalists, who were selected 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:

  • Brent Bieloh, Head Custodian, ESD 123, Walla Walla School District, Pioneer Middle School
  • Avid Castro, Paraeducator, North Central ESD 171, Manson School District, Manson Elementary
  • Reed Hornung, Athletic Director, ESD 105, Sunnyside School District, Sunnyside High School
  • Angela Kolb, Resource Room Paraeducator, Northwest ESD 189, Mount Vernon School District, LaVenture Middle School
  • Andrea LaJiness, In-School Intervention Paraeducator, Northeast ESD 101, Riverside School District
  • Carolyn Poage, Capital Region ESD 113, Olympia School District, Olympia High School
  • Lynette Scheid, Resource Paraeducator, Puget Sound ESD 121, Puyallup School District, Emerald Ridge High School
  • Julie Ward, Title I Paraeducator, ESD 112, Camas School District, Woodburn Elementary

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 Director of the Office of Equity and Civil Rights 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 5/10/2018

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