Four employees were selected for the May 2016 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the May 24 school board meeting. Pictured from left to right are:

  • Debra Hale, principal, Anderson Elementary School
  • Connie Langlois, special programs clerk, special services department
  • Cyndy Fisher, data integration specialist, assessment and performance management department
  • Darryl Eccleston, attendance specialist, student welfare and attendance department

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.

Darryl’s nearly 50-year history with the district includes stints as an English teacher and dean of students at Hudson’s Bay High School and as an associate principal at Columbia River High School. It’s this frontline experience that has prepared him for his current role. As an attendance specialist, he’s worked with thousands of students and families to reverse the negative effects of chronic absenteeism and coax them back to school. Darryl is empathetic to the challenges facing families. However, he also is diligent in communicating an important truth: Good attendance can lead to success in education and, ultimately, success in life.
“There is no one who understands the depth and breadth of the behemoth we call SIS/Skyward quite like Cyndy,” said one of her nominators. “She is able to guide those of us not indoctrinated into the secret society of SIS through the maze of reporting systems, repositories and archival systems…into nether zones unreachable by my queries.” Besides possessing a logic-driven, detailed-oriented mind, Cyndy is the source of kindness and assistance for all her colleagues. Said another nominator, “I wish I’d nominated Cyndy years ago. She was an invaluable colleague then, and remains as helpful, friendly and supportive today.”
Debra leads with love: for her students, for their families and for her staff. Her compassionate management style has earned her much acclaim. In the words of her nominators: “She handles her job with such grace. I once listened to her walkie-talkie during after-school duty. Fifteen minutes of listening and I was exhausted!” Said another, “I’ve learned so much from Debra, not just all of the things that go into working in an elementary school office, but also what it takes to be an outstanding leader and individual.” And finally: “She is sincerely excellent in every single thing she does. She is our hero!”
If you ever get the chance to work with Connie, you’d soon find, as one of her nominators said, that “her kindness, smile and joy for life are contagious.” You’d also notice that her skill set is an asset in many areas, from resolving complex student data issues to assisting with the compliance requirements for state programs. You’d observe that she is quick to delve into new tasks, no matter how difficult—such as developing an expertise in the Title I supplemental educational services invoicing process. And now you see why Connie’s an invaluable member of the special services team and the entire district!

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