The following employees were selected to receive March 2022 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the March 8 school board meeting. The recipients will be recognized via Zoom.

  • Esther Faualo, bus driver, transportation department
  • Brenda Hall, district resource officer, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies and safety and security department
  • Ben Miramontes, teacher, Anderson Elementary
  • Juvenal Pulido, district resource officer, safety and security department
  • Salena Walker, teacher, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

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.

Esther Faualo, bus driver, transportation department

Esther FaulaoEsther radiates love and compassion for everyone she meets. Her care was evident when she intervened in a tense moment between students that could have ended poorly. Esther spoke kindly to them and encouraged them to make good choices. The students calmed down and responded positively. Esther hugged each student and told them how proud she was of them. Later, they commented on how well she treats them. Esther is proof that every staff member can have a tremendous impact.

Brenda Hall, district resource officer, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies and safety and security department

Professionalism, positive influence, safety and integrity are at the core of Brenda’s approach to her job. Said her nominator, “I have witnessed Brenda in some very escalated situations. She is always calm, caring and authoritative.” Students and staff members know that they can depend on her. Brenda also has been selected to train many new district resource officers so that they, too, can cultivate trusting relationships at their schools and become successful in their roles.

Ben Miramontes, teacher, Anderson Elementary

Ben MiramontesUsing bowling to teach subtraction is one of the many ways that Mr. M., as he’s known, brings fun and learning to his students. They are eager to come to school each day and find his large stuffed Tyrannosaurus rex named Chomp in different locations around the classroom. Mr. M. takes the time to understand each student’s needs, and he helps them learn how to set healthy boundaries and show kindness to one another. His classroom sets the stage for a lifelong love of learning.

Juvenal Pulido, district resource officer, safety and security department

Juvenal PulidoJ.P. has been on the front lines at some of the most challenging events that the district has faced in recent years. He is known for maintaining his calm and professionalism during these trying situations. J.P. also is adept at serving seven different elementary schools and meeting the unique needs of each location’s staff and students. He is quick to accept extra duties so that each school has the coverage that it needs. J.P.’s colleagues praise his positive outlook.

Salena Walker, teacher, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Salena WalkerA large poster in Salena’s classroom reads, “In a world where you could be anything, be kind.” Her students say that she embodies that idea. Said one, “Playing an instrument can get incredibly nerve-wracking at times, especially when you have to play in front of others, but she has always made it so stress-free and has never made me feel judged or embarrassed.” Said another, “The philosophy she teaches about kindness and bringing a deeper meaning to learning has helped shape me into the person I am today.”

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

Nominate an employee for the award