Four employees were selected for the February 2014 recognition. They were honored at the Feb. 25 school board meeting. Pictured left to right are:
• Lou Braafladt, security supervisor, safety and security office
• Zach Tautfest, teacher, Skyview High School
• Marianne Anderson, teacher, Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School
Not pictured: Mike McGuiness, equipment repair technician, maintenance department

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

Since being plucked from retirement following a law enforcement career, Security Supervisor Lou Braafladt has been an asset to the safety and security office. His wealth of experience has benefited his role as the liaison between the executive director of operations and the district resource officers. Lou has enhanced the DRO program with monthly trainings on topics such as observation drills and searches and seizures. He also volunteers to work night security when needed. The safety and security office and our DROs always know that they can rely on him to solve problems and help out in emergency situations.
Math teacher Zach Tautfest has served Skyview and the district in many capacities. He’s been a Professional Learning Community leader, Advancement Via Individual Determination Site Council member and elective teacher, Key Club advisor, association representative and Design II symposium participant, to name just a few. Other teachers look to Zach for guidance on everything from classroom management and testing strategies to emergency drills and the Common Core. Parents also have given Zach rave reviews. Wrote one, “I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate Mr. Tautfest. He is a perfect example of what a fabulous teacher is!”
During 30-plus years of working for the district, fifth-grade teacher Marianne Anderson has mentored colleagues and positively impacted many students’ lives. But despite her veteran status, she never hesitates to try new strategies and take on the next challenge—anything to help her students learn. Said one former student, “She shows signs of every single value I hope to have someday. I look up to Mrs. Anderson in every possible way. She taught me to be myself, which I believe to be one of the best lessons taught. … She continues to teach this to every one of her students.”
There is very little that Equipment Repair Tech Mike McGuiness cannot troubleshoot and fix. His technical expertise extends to everything from security systems and fire alarms to scoreboards and a variety of office equipment. And his nontechnical talents also earn high praise from colleagues. Wrote one nominator, “He takes time to explain issues thoroughly, so they are understood. He is a great communicator and always follows through. Whenever my building has an AV-related repair that needs to be made, Mike is here quickly and he gets his work done in a timely manner.” Said another nominator, simply, “He is irreplaceable.”

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