Four employees were selected for the October 2014 recognition. They were honored at the Oct. 28 school board meeting. Pictured from left to right are:

  • Eddie Sawyer, instructional technology facilitator, information and technology services
  • Anne Kizerian, teacher, Fort Vancouver High School
  • Valerie Hunt, nurse, Fort Vancouver High School and Vancouver Flex Academy
  • Jason Ackley, building operator, Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School

The Excellence Award is given to two to four employees 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.

Eddie’s nominators call him a problem solver, whether those problems are “strategic—how to manage and deploy more than 5,000 iPads; executive—setting up videoconferencing for the superintendent; or educational—helping students operate their new devices. He always has the fix, dongle, password or hunch that makes things work. Beginning as a high school student stringing data cables, Eddie now reigns as the district’s longest-serving instructional technology facilitator. IPads are part of Vancouver’s success story because Eddie recognized their potential and then toiled to implement them. He is a DJ, AV geek, tech guru, dad and go-to guy—in short, a renaissance man.”
Recently, a student had this to say about Anne Kizerian: “She made a big impact on my life. I want to thank her for the fact that she cares and pushed me to do my best. I never thought I could do so well in school, but she showed me what I am capable of. I really enjoyed her class. There were ups and downs, and many times she didn’t accept my work because it was too late. But that taught me a lot, and I became a much better student. Everyone who has her as a teacher is very lucky.”
Transitioning to Fort Vancouver High School this year with no hiccups was easy for veteran Vancouver Public Schools nurse Valerie Hunt. According to a fellow staff member, “She handles the everyday bumps as well as the occasional emergency with grace and confidence. She also makes it her mission to nurture special education and disabled students and advocate for the schools that she serves.” But it’s not just schools that benefit from her expertise. Said her nominator, “Valerie has taken on a leadership role and is a trusted nurse in the district. She’s a welcome addition to our team, and I feel very lucky to work with her.”
In just one year, Jason Ackley has had a palpable influence on Anderson. His pride in his job is evident in the halls on a daily basis, say his colleagues, and his desire to make a difference is constant and broad in its effects. “He has been known to check in on weekends and remove caution tape posted during painting projects so that teachers can access their classrooms,” wrote his nominator. “He also reminds students to do their homework, eat their fruits and vegetables and help other people.” Jason believes it is the little things that can make a big difference—and with him around, they do!

Congratulations to these employees! They join the more than 250 employees who have received the award since 2007.