The following employees were selected to receive May 2022 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the May 10 school board meeting. The recipients will be recognized via Zoom.

  • Jennifer Baybado, teacher; Mya Magdaleno, paraeducator; and Stephanie Zeiger, teacher, Sacajawea Elementary
  • Oren Burt, building operator, Hudson’s Bay High School
  • Ryan Callahan, teacher, Gaiser Middle School, and coach, Gaiser and Columbia River High School
  • Katie Dunfield, digital learning coach, information and technology services
  • Ian Southworth, video production specialist, and Nick Voll, television production supervisor, TV studio

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.

Sacajawea Elementary: Jennifer Baybado, teacher; Mya Magdaleno, paraeducator; and Stephanie Zeiger, teacher

Mya Magdaleno, Jennifer Baybado and Stephanie Zeiger

From left: Mya Magdaleno, Jennifer Baybado and Stephanie Zeiger

This team has top-notch communication and planning skills that create opportunities for parents and guardians to be actively involved in their children’s education. They meet regularly with families to plan for student success. They also bring a flexible and individualized approach that inspires growth and makes each student feel included. Respect, kindness and empathy are paramount. Jennifer, Stephanie and Mya are praised for their patience with their students, taking the time to understand their individual needs and learning styles.

Oren Burt, building operator, Hudson’s Bay High School

Building Operator Oren BurtHis nominators say that Oren exemplifies the school’s core values, called the Bay Way. Oren models the traits of community, ownership, critical thinking, empathy and perseverance. Throughout the pandemic he has worked hard to keep students and staff safe by implementing complex and changing prevention and mitigation practices throughout the large facility. He has a talent for collaboration with all of his colleagues on the Bay staff. They call him an asset to their team!

Ryan Callahan, teacher, Gaiser Middle School, and coach, Gaiser and Columbia River High School

Teacher and Coach Ryan CallahanRyan is a champion for students and athletes. Said one nominator, “His patience and care with all students has been so evident during these trying times in education.” Open communication is one of his priorities, and he devotes ample time to keeping everyone informed. “He strives to make personal connections with his players and cares about how they are doing physically and mentally,” said a student-athlete. “He has taught me a lot and pushed me to be the best player that I can be.”

Katie Dunfield, digital learning coach, information and technology services

Katie DunfieldKatie pays forward her commitment to lifelong learning. She supports staff members in their work to teach the knowledge and skills students need to be successful in college and/or the workforce. One of her specialties is the use of digital learning tools such as iPads to create lessons that challenge and inspire students. Said one educator, “She always has a warm disposition and quickly puts anyone at ease if they don’t understand how to implement a new app.” Katie’s nickname is “Technology Superhero!”

TV studio: Ian Southworth, video production specialist, and Nick Voll, television production supervisor

Nick Voll and Ian Southworth

From left: Nick Voll and Ian Southworth

On any given day, you can find this Emmy Award-winning team producing videos and podcasts about the innovative projects and successes of Vancouver’s students and staff. They secure funding for equipment used in schools’ video production classes. By providing live coverage of sports events, including recent high-profile state basketball tournaments, they give student-interns opportunities to learn important job skills. And for at least one student, this internship was the catalyst to stay in school and graduate. Ian and Nick help empower students.

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