The following employees were selected for the November Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Nov. 28 school board meeting. Pictured from left to right are:
Diane Stixrud, teacher, Hazel Dell Elementary School
Vickie Colpron, registrar, McLoughlin Middle School
Suzie Womack, teacher, Jason Lee Middle School
Amanda Davidson, reading teacher, Washington Elementary
Anita Chase, associate principal, Lieser Campus
The Excellence Award is given to five 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.
A former teacher, Anita has carried into her current role a wealth of creativity and talent for making positive connections with students and adults. As an administrator, “she is an advocate for all students and approaches all contacts as teachable moments,” wrote her nominator. Anita, a strong communicator, works effectively with families from a variety of backgrounds. Everyone is treated with respect. It’s clear that she is dedicated to helping every student define their talents and achieve their dreams.
A school’s main office is a bustling, sometimes-hectic environment. It’s also often a school’s public face, the front line when it comes to communication that builds trust among families. At McLoughlin, Vickie takes this responsibility seriously, said her nominator. She delivers professional interactions with fluidity and grace as she juggles duties related to attendance and enrollment. She excels at both with her work ethic intact. This commitment to her work makes clear her love for the Mac community.
Amanda demonstrates a gift for engaging students and helping other teachers meet their students’ needs at the same time. She recently designed a special reading group for two students learning English. She also developed literacy-based activities involving Play-Doh for kindergarten students. Amanda’s colleagues praise her willingness to brainstorm ideas, be proactive with suggestions that will enhance their own lessons and act as their sounding board and cheerleader. She cares deeply about the entire school: staff members; families; and, most importantly, students.
“At Hazel Dell there is definitely a feeling of family,” wrote one nominator. Diane is a driving force behind that feeling. She is instrumental to the school’s annual Enrichment Fair, which allows students to experience new ideas, skills and professions through lessons taught by members of the community. She also works hard to ensure that the staff morale remains high, dedicating her time and resources to coordinating social activities and supporting other employees during conference time. With Diane’s heart, Hazel Dell flourishes.
One of Suzie’s lessons teaches students about how animals blend in with their surroundings to survive. Students create paper butterflies that camouflage with their environment and place them around the classroom. Some butterflies remain hidden for years. It is a memorable lesson among many taught by this innovative educator, who builds a love of science in all students. She also is a generous mentor to new teachers and a pillar of the school’s MESA program. Like the butterfly lesson, her influence is unforgettable.
Congratulations to these staff members! They join the many VPS employees who have received Excellence Awards since 2007.