Excellence Award, Hudson's Bay, Columbia River, Felida, Gaiser

Four employees were selected for the March 2017 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the March 28 school board meeting. Pictured above from left to right are:

  • David Douglas, teacher, Columbia River High School
  • Joan Ponciano, registrar, Hudson’s Bay High School
  • Corrie Kinnan, literacy facilitator, Felida Elementary School
  • Randy Meade, teacher, Gaiser Middle School

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.

Dave’s passion for history makes the past come alive. His creative instruction includes Constitution Day poster competitions, speeches in honor of the Gettysburg Address and debates among historical figures. But Dave’s energy extends outside the classroom, too. He started a History Bowl and Bee team and competition for the district and advises River’s Knowledge Bowl students. He also is the backbone of the social committee, providing mentorship to colleagues; planning events; supporting employees on leave; and playing with the staff band, Staff Infection. His expertise may lie with the past, but when it comes to enhancing his school, Dave is very much present.
A student focus is at the core of everything Joan does professionally. She treats everyone whom she encounters with kindness and respect. When she helps students enroll, she spends extra time connecting their families with the resources they need to overcome barriers to learning so that the student may begin learning on their first day of school. Recently, she was offered a difficult project: streamlining student information and data. She could have delegated it. Instead, Joan applied her diligence to the task and devoted extra time to ensuring accuracy. It’s just one more way that Joan honors all students and her co-workers.
Literacy is flourishing at Felida, thanks in large part to Corrie. She has helped identify students who are struggling to learn foundational skills and worked with teachers, staff members and parents to improve their reading. Corrie spearheaded the development of the Read Naturally volunteer program that also supports students. As a result, most students are reaching or exceeding grade-level benchmarks and finding success in other subjects as well. Corrie also coordinates state testing for the school’s nearly 700 students and makes it seem effortless. Wrote one nominator, “I am inspired daily by Corrie. It is truly an honor to work with her.”
Gaiser has experienced a cultural transformation over the past five years, and Rady has been instrumental to the change. As a math teacher, he uses cooperative learning, team-building strategies and a growth mindset to build up and empower his students. As a football and track coach, Randy places as much weight on character, sportsmanship and humility as he does on winning. That joyful attitude also permeates his Legacy Builders program, which presents opportunities for students to enjoy the pride and satisfaction of contributing to their school through service projects. Said his nominator, “Randy is a gift to our school and community.”

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