Shannon Yount, Erika Audette, Sarah Moll, Lauren Kotz, Wenwen Tian

The following employees were selected for the April 2019 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the April 23 school board meeting. Pictured from left:

  • Shannon Yount, teacher, Ogden Elementary
  • Erika Audette, paraeducator, Chinook Elementary
  • Sarah Moll, teacher, Roosevelt Elementary School
  • Lauren Kotz, teacher, Alki Middle School
  • Wenwen Tian, teacher, Columbia River and Fort Vancouver high schools

The Excellence Award is given to five 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 co-workers, Erika strives to make each day run as smoothly as possible. Whether taking initiative around the classroom, providing thoughtful intervention for students or helping her team, Erika can be depended on to brighten the day. She always is ready to try something new to help students and is enthusiastically committed to doing whatever she can for them. Erika’s willingness to work hard is part of what makes Chinook so special!

In less than two years, Lauren has distinguished herself as an educator of students in special education. She focuses on her students as individuals, getting to know their specific strengths and needs. In Lauren’s classroom, they have a safe space to grow and learn. She’s also earned the trust and admiration of her co-workers. Said one, “She has shown grace and acceptance and remains a positive element in her room, school, district and community.”
You can see how much Sarah cares for her students by the way that she takes time to individualize their learning plans. You can measure her leadership qualities by the trust she’s gained from her support staff. You can witness her commitment to the profession through the innovative materials she creates for staff members and the long hours she puts into her work. You can tell that Sarah is inspired to help every student reach their potential.
Wenwen brings to two schools a passion for teaching Chinese language and culture. She’s taught students how to cook Chinese dishes and make lanterns. She’s also provided opportunities for students to participate in festival activities that honor the culture. An eager collaborator with other teachers, Wenwen seeks feedback from her colleagues to improve her practice. She is driven to instill in her students an appreciation of the gift that is learning.
One of Shannon’s many talents is connecting with the hopes and dreams of her students and their families and translating those goals into a supportive, challenging educational experience in her classroom. She prioritizes appropriate behavior and academic success. Said her nominator, “She has high expectations of students and they deliver!” Parents also commend her flexibility, communication skills and collaboration with other staff members to provide the best possible education for their children.

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