excellence award winners

Four employees were selected for the November 2016 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Nov. 22 school board meeting. Pictured from left to right are:

  • Nicole Stricker, bus driver, transportation department
  • Travis Boeh, principal, McLoughlin Middle School
  • Jennifer McKay, teacher/intervention specialist, Thomas Jefferson Middle School
  • Shana Ferguson, teacher librarian, Columbia River High 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.

Jennifer has been a major force in transforming Jefferson’s Response to Intervention model from a vision into a reality. She tracks, monitors, teaches and advocates for students with challenging needs. The programs she leads help them improve their literacy skills, provide organizational strategies and motivation and support students outside of class time. Because of her ability to build strong relationships and understand individual student needs, she has had a great impact on student success. “At TJMS we have had significant gains in closing achievement gaps for our students,” wrote her nominator. “The programs Jenn is running are a major reason why.”

Nicole’s commitment to her job is evident to everyone she encounters. Said a parent who nominated her after a field trip, “As a teacher and having been on many field trips as a parent, I was very impressed. Nicole let the teachers pick out a kid-friendly CD to play while driving. While the students were waiting to go inside the museum, she had a book on CD playing and read aloud with them. … I’ve never experienced such a friendly and engaging driver. She was amazing, and you can tell she loves her job.”

Generosity with her time and geniality of spirit are just two of the many things that have endeared Shana to her students, their families and her colleagues. She seems to know every student in the school and has created an appealing, positive atmosphere in the media center, serving as the go-to person for help with technology, research, curriculum support and reading suggestions. Her influence extends beyond the center, too. Shana also coaches the mock trial team and is part of the school-based leadership team. Said her co-worker, “Shana is a great friend and someone who always makes River a better place.”

Said his nominator, “Have you ever seen Michael Jordan play basketball? Ken Griffey Jr. play baseball? What all of these people have in common is the fact that not only are they great at their professions, but they make everyone around them better. To see the positive energy, dedication and work that Travis brings everyday makes me want to raise my level of work. The environment that he has created here at Mac for both students and staff is phenomenal. Travis actually gets involved with all aspects of the school. … He has a genuine interest in everyone’s success, and it shows.”

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