November 2018 Employee Excellence Award Winners

The following employees were selected for the November 2018 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Nov. 27 school board meeting. Pictured from left:

  • Anatoliy Romanchenko, custodian, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies
  • Karen Young, head custodian, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies
  • Annette Caldwell, administrative secretary, ITS (October 2018 winner recognized on Nov. 27)
  • Emilee Wong, teacher, Eisenhower Elementary School
  • Jenna Biggs, teacher, Skyview High School
  • Sara Tackett, associate principal, Ogden Elementary School

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.

Jenna teaches photography. Her lessons capture images—and much more. Her class is an opportunity for students of all grades and all walks of life to practice empathy, teamwork and community-building while learning high-level photography and visual art techniques. The Inside Out project that she brought to Skyview in 2015 celebrates students’ individuality and acts of kindness. She’s also an adviser for the school’s MEChA club, helping underrepresented students build their leadership skills. A picture may be worth a thousand words. Jenna’s contributions are innumerable.

Toliy’s nickname is “Superman,” and his co-workers at Fort say that his superhuman grace is on full display at all times, from greeting students with special needs to being interrupted during one task to complete another. Every job is completed to the highest standards and with a positive attitude that spreads as widely as his ever-present smile. He inspires everyone around him to do more, try harder and make the best of every day. No wonder they say he’s pretty heroic.

Though modest, Sara is a leader at Ogden. Her hard work, thoroughness and friendliness have earned her widespread admiration and appreciation. On any given day you might find her supporting a colleague after a challenging day or playing a game with students during lunch. She’s known for offering encouragement and advocating for kids. Said one co-worker, “She always does what is right for the student and not necessarily what is the easiest. Sara has a heart for our students and it shows.”

Learning takes a variety of dimensions, all of them educational and fun, in Emilee’s fourth-grade classroom. She creates instructional games, provides book recommendations that align with individual student’s needs, maintains a classroom economy that teaches kids good money management and helps students track their behavior. Parents say that they appreciate her proactive communication and updates. Said one, “I can’t tell you how thankful we are to her or what a difference she has made. … I know firsthand her hard work has directly improved my son’s life.”

Karen is one of the many reasons that Fort is a great place to be, say her co-workers. She’s quick to support others, even when it means doing extra work such as helping students find their belongings or preparing a room for an event on short notice. When community members drop by the school to view a space they’re interested in renting, Karen greets them warmly and gives them a tour. Her demeanor radiates outward to everyone she encounters. Karen educates by example.

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