Four employees were selected for the April 2015 recognition. They were honored at the April 28 school board meeting. Pictured from left to right are:

  • Patty Kellum, secretary, Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School
  • Erik Smith, teacher, Hough and Lincoln elementary schools
  • Molly Goodling, school psychologist, Fort Vancouver High School
  • Dave Lambert, CTE special projects teacher, high school horticulture programs

The Excellence Award is given to two to four employees and/or small teams from October to May each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.

According to her nominator, Patty is the heart and soul of a school with more than 800 students, 150 staff members and countless parents and community groups. Said a colleague, “She keeps the peace, saves the day and makes a difference for everyone on a regular basis.” No question is too complicated for Patty to answer gracefully. No paperwork is too detailed for her keen eye. No task is too difficult for the capable hands of this “temperature-taking, carb-counting and Band-Aid-dispensing machine.” With a talent for accord and sense of humor, Patty maintains her focus on doing what’s best for students.
Her investment in making significant connections is just one of Molly’s many notable qualities. She brings to every interaction a gift for empathy and willingness to explore creative solutions, whether she’s presenting families with sensitive information, collaborating with colleagues or advising a senior working toward a five-year graduation. Her colleagues praise her ability to engage all students. Molly has even been known to make time for lunch with a life skills student and card games with an autistic young man. She is the voice of comfort and reason. No wonder so many students, staff members and parents appreciate her!
Dave has tended several horticulture programs in our district, helping staff members grow their classes over time. He’s the mentor many other teachers call when they need advice on anything from cultivation to curriculum or just a sympathetic ear. His ability to guide and support colleagues is one of his greatest talents, and he is generous with both his time and his knowledge. “Without his dedication and expertise, our horticulture programs would not be what they are today. My success is directly linked to him,” wrote one of his nominators. Because of dedicated teachers like Dave, horticulture education in VPS thrives.
With seemingly boundless energy and style to spare, Erik finds time in his busy schedule of teaching music and PE to direct two choirs and organize fundraisers. He also lends his talents to organizing events and family nights that earn rave reviews from his fellow teachers and students. He’s been affectionately compared to both the Tasmanian Devil and the Energizer Bunny, and his nominators praise his occasionally spontaneous, always-effective teaching methods. As an educator, he’s also known for possessing unlimited patience and flexibility—no small feat. Kudos to Erik for making his classes and choirs both engaging and fun!

Congratulations to these staff members! They join the more than 250 VPS employees who have received Excellence Awards since 2007.