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Education Awards

Classified Employee Award Winners

Classified School Employee Excellence Award
2011 Recipients

2011 Classified School Employee of the Year and
Puget Sound ESD 121 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year

Carol Barker
Office Manager
Child Nutrition Supervisor
Auburn School District

Carol began working in Auburn School District 23 years ago as a bus driver and cafeteria cashier. Since then Carol has steadily worked her way through three different school kitchens to the position she now holds as the Child Nutrition Supervisor. During the school year, Carol coordinates the breakfast, lunch and snack programs at 22 schools. This includes managing staff, creating recipes and ordering food. During the summer, she coordinates Auburn’s nationally recognized summer food program which served 80,000 meals at 49 different sites last year.

Carol is constantly looking for new challenges and ways to expand her own perspective. She has taken numerous continuing education courses through Central Washington University, teaches food handler permit classes, served as interim director of her department while the position was vacant last summer and even recruited the new director.

Carol has been instrumental in Auburn’s own “Food Revolution” by planning and implementing a district kitchen garden, creating recipes that use whole foods and engaging students and community partners in the care of the garden and orchard. Carol believes passionately that students who receive good nutrition will be more successful, and she balances perfectly the big picture requirements for all students with the individual needs of specific students with specific dietary needs. This fall she was a speaker at the 2010 End Childhood Hunger Summit in Seattle. Next year, Carol will help administer a new grant from King County Public Health to train 500 child nutrition employees in the region in whole food cooking.

Deputy Superintendent Michael Newman sums up Carol’s impact: “It is her vision and care for the students, staff, schools and community that makes Carol Barker an outstanding contributor . . . she is a difference maker.”


ESD 105 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year
Sara Benjamin
Math Paraprofessional
Wahluke School District
Wahluke High School

Sara was always meant to be an educator - serving as a peer tutor and teacher’s aide during her own schooling. After graduating from Monroe High, she enrolled in the College of Education at Montana State, but the distance from community and financial burden put those plans on hold. Now, a little over a year into her new role as a math para-educator, Sara is back in a school and completely in her element.

Though life has taken Sara for a bit of a detour, she reflects now on how her experiences in accounting, as a youth leader at her church and homeschooling her own son for a time have all prepared her for a career in education. Her consistency, enthusiasm, patience and significant knowledge of both content and theory set Sara apart, and the math teachers at Wahluke consider Sara a full partner. She participates in the Professional Learning Community for secondary math and recently served on her district’s gap analysis committee for mathematics at the request of her principal, Jeff Pietila.

Both Pietila and math teacher, Jose Vidot, believe Sara has been instrumental in helping the school achieve unprecedented improvement in their statewide assessments in math last spring. It’s clear that Sara is already a great educator, and now her colleagues and students are encouraging her to return to school soon to complete her degree.

Pietila couldn’t agree more, “I will tell you that Sara is a great teacher who I am proud to have as a member of my instructional team . . . I only hope that Sara allows me the honor of offering her an interview for a class of her own once she finishes her coursework.”


ESD 112 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year
Jesus Angarita
English Language Learners Staff Assistant
Evergreen Public Schools
Mountain View High School

Jesus was at university to study for a career in engineering when fate intervened and his mother asked him to substitute for an absent teacher at the private school she ran out of their home in Columbia. Jesus finished university and became a teacher, working his way up to a teaching position at an International Baccalaureate school in 2000. He continues to evaluate IB exams from around the world.

When Jesus and his wife Nancy immigrated to the US in 2005, he became a student once again as he threw himself into learning English. In 2007, Jesus joined the staff at Mountain View as an ELL Staff Assistant where he tutors and coaches ELL students in math and science. He also serves as a translator for Spanish speaking families. In the three years he has been at Mountain View, Jesus has had a profound impact. He has designed and implemented a successful after-school tutoring program for his students and introduced a summer institute to give new ELL students a jump start on the year. Jesus is also an exceptional teacher – 2/3 of the ELL students who worked with him last year, passed the state assessment for math.

Jesus isn’t just making a difference at Mountain View. He also works at the district tutoring center as a math tutor. Recently Jesus and Nancy also started working on weekends with a group of Hispanic elementary students and their families to teach key math concepts and the state standards in Spanish.

Jesus’ skills are numerous, but what is most impressive is the individual effort he puts into every student, and what an effect that has. As one of his students testifies, “Mr. Jesus is always willing to make spare time for his students when they need his help. His very patient and loves to help people on their education . . . I think Mr. Jesus is one of the best math teachers I’ve ever had. He teaches with his heart, and is capable of taking on any position.”


ESD 113 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year
Ricardo del Bosque
Bilingual Family Support Liaison
Shelton School District

Ricardo began his professional career as a police officer in Saltillo, Mexico. In the early 90s he moved to Shelton and began working construction in the Puget Sound. When an injury prevented him from returning to construction, his vocational counselor offered education as a possible new field. According to Ricardo, “other career choices paled in comparison.”

For the past four years, Ricardo has worked for Shelton School District as the Bilingual Family Support Liaison where he works tirelessly to build bridges between the mainstream systems and Spanish speaking families. His colleagues describe Ricardo as the person the entire Spanish-speaking community in Shelton turns to with their questions about health care, schooling, housing, employment, immigration, guidance for errant teenagers and so much more. No task is overlooked when it comes to building harmony in his diverse community. Recently, Ricardo personally contacted the Guatemalan ambassador in San Francisco to explain tensions that had developed between the Guatemalan community and the mainstream Shelton community and law enforcement after a fatal hunting accident and the subsequent police investigation. As a result the ambassador has planned a visit to Shelton for this spring.

In fact, Ricardo is a resource for the whole community, fostering greater cultural understanding, smoothing over tensions and helping colleagues appreciate the challenges their Spanish-speaking students face. Ricardo is also an active volunteer in his church and with literacy and public health organizations in the area.

For his colleague, Arleen Sandifer, Ricardo’s work is pivotal to student success. She says, “I cannot imagine supporting the needs of my students without Ricardo’s amazing work. His deep, abiding commitment sustains the hopes and dreams of so many of us.”


Olympic ESD 114 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year
Patricia Anderson
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
South Kitsap School District

Patti has worked in the South Kitsap School District for the past 30 years. Since 1998 she has served as the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent where she provides comprehensive support not only for the Superintendent and School Board, but for the whole district. Most recently, Patti has been pivotal in transitioning the school board to a policy governance model. During this two-year process, Patti not only provided critical research and helped develop an implementation plan. She also kept the board focused on the big picture outcomes for students.

Patti is a model of customer service. She recognizes that every interaction with a teacher, parent or community member is an opportunity to build a positive relationship and do better work for students.

Patti is admired by colleagues across the district for her commitment to continued education and life-long learning and her ability to address professional development needs with unique collaborations. Early on in her career, Patti initiated and coordinated a program which paired para-educators with the state’s apprenticeship program, providing numerous staff with crucial training and an opportunity to earn a degree. As a secretary at John Sedgewick Junior High, Patti started a district-wide Professional Learning Community for school and district support staff. This group is still meeting 22 years later, and Patti has served as coordinator for the past 13 years.

Superintendent Dave LaRose credits Patti with helping him successfully transition into his role three years ago, and goes on to say: “I have learned and continue to learn from my work with Pattie Anderson. Any success that has been attributed to me or our district is a direct reflection of the work Patti does each and every day . . . It is an honor to work alongside Patti Anderson.”


ESD 123 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year
Sheri Mc Graw
Secretary to the Director of Career and Technical Education
Pasco School District

Sheri began her education career in Bellevue during the mid 90s after working for an engineering firm. For the past seven years, Sheri has served as the Secretary to the Director of Career and Technical Education in Pasco. Sheri’s work includes supporting the director and all of the CTE programs in the district. She manages 41 different program budgets, coordinates travel paperwork, tracks certification and provides administrative support for several parent and community committees. Teachers praise Sheri for providing an environment and structures that let them focus on teaching first.

Sheri believes strongly in professional development and collaboration. She has been actively involved in her local, state and national professional organization since beginning her career, and she frequently speaks to administrators in her region and across the state about encouraging their support staff to find a professional learning community. Sheri has served in numerous leadership roles over the years, and is the current president of the Washington Association of Educational Office Professionals.

It is Sheri’s exceptional care for students and genuine enthusiasm for their work that set her apart. She is a frequent judge, panel interviewer and overnight chaperone for a variety of student events and projects. Sheri also serves as a Company Advisor for the district’s annual Enterprise Week, guiding a group of students through a week of activities designed to simulate two years in the life of a new business. Last year, her team won first place.

“Mrs. McGraw is different from a typical secretary,” says Miguel Rodriguez, student and DECA chapter president. “She has helped mentor students during community service projects and fashion shows and is a school staff member we feel we can approach if we need help. She is so involved that she is almost like an additional advisor to our DECA chapter.”


North Central ESD 171 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year
Paul Allen
Head Mechanic
Lake Chelan School District

Paul realized in high school that he had a knack for fixing things. For over 30 years he has worked as a mechanic, and since 1995 he has served Lake Chelan as the Head Mechanic. Paul’s work includes not only the fixing of a wide variety of machines including buses, generators, tractors and snow machines, but also creating and implementing a maintenance schedule for all the district vehicles. His exceptional organization and commitment to quality has helped the district earn “excellent” ratings for the past 15 years on the Washington State Patrol School Bus Inspections.

Over his long career, Paul has continued to fine tune his skills. He has completed numerous professional training courses in both the technical aspects of his job and also school transportation safety practices, and frequently shares support and encouragement with colleagues in his district and region. Paul is committed to leading by example, and believes a great work ethic is contagious. Paul is always ‘on call’ and can step in as either a substitute bus driver or the transportation supervisor when needed.

In a geographically large and diverse district like Lake Chelan, transportation plays a pivotal role in making sure students are able to fully participate in school and extra-curricular activities, and Paul’s outstanding work make this possible. Paul goes the extra mile because his remains focused on kids at all times both in his professional life and as a volunteer in the community. The students who ride Paul’s busses may also be in his Sunday School class or his Royal Ranger Outpost.

For parents, just knowing Paul is in the shop makes all the difference. “It has always been a comfort to me that Paul is part of the transportation team,” says parent Cathy Anderson. “I never have to fear for the safety of my children . . . He selflessly serves, is always enthusiastic and loves kids. I believe he has made school a better, safer and happier place for my children.”


Northwest ESD 189 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year
Sally Dooley
Lake Stevens School District
Sunnycrest Elementary School

Sally has always loved school. As a child she played “school” after school, and as a parent she began volunteering in her daughter’s kindergarten class. Then in 1984 she was took a job working one-on-one with a young man who had cerebral palsy and was wheelchair bound. She was hooked. Since then, Sally has tackled literacy, math, discipline and professional development, just to name a few. She has served on the district committee for elementary math and the planning committee for her school’s LAP Summer School Program and is widely respected by teachers as exceptional. She has also been chosen to serve as a McKinney-Vento tutor for her building.

Sally loves working in a team, is passionate about shared professional development and is a voracious researcher. She has introduced and facilitated numerous book studies in her building as well as providing her colleagues with meaningful resources that she investigates during her own time. Each time Sally’s responsibilities have changed, she has tackled her new role with enthusiasm and further study. Most recently when her job duties shifted to include more recess and lunchtime supervision, Sally introduced several texts for helping her fellow paras explore the Love and Logic discipline. Over the course of the year, recess referrals decreased significantly.

What is most striking about Sally is her pure joy in her work. It practically leaps off of the pages of her application. After 32 years, Sally continues to give 110%. Colleagues remark that Sally’s van is often the first in the parking lot, and she’s recently added after school and evening events such as Literacy Night and Math Olympics to her considerable repertoire.

But for Principal Tim Haines, Sally is more than her significant resume. “No essay or paper will ever sum up the love and devotion Ms. Dooley has for education, learning and children,” Haines says. “No one story can adequately depict Ms. Dooley’s many professional accomplishments . . . Her commitment to every single child whom she has touched during her 27 year career will continue to have positive effects for years to come. Thank you so very much, Ms. Dooley.”



   Updated 5/9/2014

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