Walnut Grove, Salmon Creek, planning

Five employees were selected for the December 2016 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Dec. 13 school board meeting. Pictured above from left to right are:

  • Gene Camacho, building operator, Walnut Grove Elementary
  • Jennifer Halleck, facilities planner, facilities planning department
  • Kristine Baylous, reading intervention specialist, Salmon Creek Elementary
  • Nadine Miller, literacy facilitator, Salmon Creek Elementary
  • Amanda Harding, Family-Community Resource Center coordinator, Walnut Grove Elementary

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.

Nadine and Kristine have been instrumental to Salmon Creek’s success in reading and math interventions. This dynamic duo has helped identify students who need additional support and design interventions to target each student’s skill deficit. The team then met with paraeducators to review plans and provide resources and professional development. As a result of their efforts, Salmon Creek has displayed tremendous growth in its math and reading test scores. Said their nominator, “They take their roles very seriously, working long hours because they both want success for everyone. This drive for everyone else’s success has led to their success.”
Whether aligning his work with Walnut Grove’s school-wide behavioral expectations or sprinkling his emails with a dash of humor, Gene has energized the students and staff members while also maintaining the building’s appearance and facility operations at peak levels. “New to Walnut Grove this year, he has made it a priority to come in and clean up as quickly as possible,” according to his nominator. “He is efficient and quick to get things done. He has made this his school and taken ownership of what he does. He is a hard worker, tireless and loves the kids.”
Jennifer has many talents. She’s helped schools establish award-winning energy-conservation programs that engage students and make schools better places for the community. She’s lent her expertise and support to outdoor learning projects. Jennifer also has been a key figure in the district’s planning for the future of Vancouver’s facilities through many successful symposia and the development of conceptual designs that are detailed, well-researched and thoughtful. Said one of her nominators, “She never gives up. She wants every detail to be in place to provide the best facilities possible for the students, staff and community of Vancouver Public Schools.”

From a desk in the hallway due to lack of available space for a proper Family-Community Resource Center, Amanda works hard to find out what Walnut Grove Elementary students and the community need, whether it’s food, clothing, support or other resources. She then endeavors to provide for those needs or connect students and families with the appropriate organizations. But that’s not the extent of Amanda’s work. She also helps teachers organize learning nights that involve entire families in students’ educations. Her efforts remove barriers to learning and help keep kids in school. All this from a desk in the hallway!

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