The following employees were selected to receive June 2022 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the June 7 school board meeting. The recipients will be recognized via Zoom.

  • Dmitriy Beyu, custodian, Gaiser Middle School
  • Devin Cast, teacher, Felida Elementary
  • Tina Cruz, family-community resource center coordinator, Family-Community Resource Centers
  • Sunny Moxley, teacher, Walnut Grove Elementary
  • Ann Smith, paraeducator, Felida Elementary

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

Dmitriy Beyu, custodian, Gaiser Middle School

Dmitriy BeyuServing approximately 800 students and 70 staff members, Gaiser Middle School brims with activity. Dmitriy is equal to the task of caring for the large school, even throughout the pandemic. When he arrives at work, he picks up litter from the playground and outside areas. Throughout the day, he ensures that the school is sanitized and that all systems are running smoothly. If something needs to be fixed or cleaned, Dmitriy takes care of it before anyone needs to submit a request. He is reliable, responsible and a pleasure to work with.

Devin Cast, teacher, Felida Elementary

Teacher Devin CastDevin is a celebrity around the school, and he inspires others. He makes his P.E. classes inclusive for all abilities and all age levels. With Devin’s leadership, Felida students set the 2022 Washington state record for the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge, and learned about cardiovascular health and wellness in the process. He also organizes the school’s Mileage Club, where students run laps during recess to earn tokens and compete against other classes. He is a joy to work with and brings a real understanding of kids to his work.

Tina Cruz, family-community resource center coordinator, Family-Community Resource Centers at Salmon Creek and Franklin elementary schools, Columbia River High School, Vancouver Flex Academy, Vancouver iTech Preparatory and Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Tina CruzTina makes supporting a half-dozen schools look easy. But as with most complex endeavors, the outcomes of Tina’s work are the result of her considerable knowledge, skills and effort. Countless times she has supported families through crises by developing action plans and gathering resources. Tina literally and figuratively meets families wherever they are. She always takes the time to make people feel valued and heard. In addition to supporting families, she is a mentor to her colleagues. They say that they are proud to work alongside her!

Sunny Moxley, teacher, Walnut Grove Elementary

Teacher Sunny MoxleyOne of Sunny’s many talents is meeting the needs of each student, with their unique learning ability, emotional needs and communication style. Working with each child brings opportunities to teach and guide. Said one parent, “My son always tells me how good she is as a human being and as a teacher, and I can see my son learning.” These connections also extend to parents and guardians, with whom Sunny has proven to be empathetic, kind and supportive. Her commitment to her students and their families makes everyone feel included.

Ann Smith, paraeducator, Felida Elementary

Ann SmithRespect is one of Ann’s core values, and it drives the work that she does to support students of all abilities. She also excels at following lesson plans, recording and reporting data and working with her colleagues. Ann is organized, an independent worker and someone who finds solutions to complex challenges. In addition, Ann’s prior experience working at Alki Middle School gives her a profound understanding of the significance of the elementary-to-middle school transition and makes her an ideal advocate for students.

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