Photo of Excellence Award winners for October 2017

The following employees were selected for the October Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Oct. 24 school board meeting. Pictured from left to right are:

  • Amy Karcher, budget analyst, fiscal department
  • Heidi Shultz, human resource information specialist, human resources department
  • Sue Kniffin, clerk, special services department
  • Mike Dillman, counselor, Fort Vancouver High School
  • Ken Hall, head custodian, Fort Vancouver High School
  • Rubyanne Berg, teacher, Truman Elementary

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 parent nominated Rubyanne after she helped a shy student find his voice and realize his abilities. Not only was she able to motivate him in the classroom, she also improved his confidence by supporting his hobbies and creating summer learning opportunities for him. Wrote his mother, “He’s now a well-adjusted, social child, with good friends and a healthy respect for the adults in his life. I feel that Rubyanne has helped us a great deal to curate this in him.”

As the Advancement Via Individual Determination site coordinator, Mike has expanded the program’s reach at Fort. He created a large-scale AVID awards night and college financial aid night, as well as helped build the college-going culture. Mike also understands how to work well with students, including one with verbal outbursts. Mike established a respectful rapport with the student, who eventually became his assistant and went on graduate. His passion to serve others is an asset to students, families and his colleagues.

Ken has a long history of providing clean, comfortable spaces for learning. This commitment was especially evident during the Advanced Placement Summer Institute last August. When temperatures rose above 100 degrees, Ken ensured that the educators in attendance from all over the country were comfortable. He arrived early to start the air conditioning system at Fort and monitored it throughout the week, proactively calling in extra help when needed. His vigilance was an essential ingredient in the success of the institute.
When her team needed her the most due to being short-staffed, Sue stepped up to support the department and, by extension, students and families. She provides counts for the entire special education student population in the district, as well as places students and arranges for transportation. Said one nominator, “She is very organized and detail-oriented and does an amazing job at everything she is given. She is generous by nature and is always doing what is best for the team.”

When it became impractical to continue the district’s former Staff Allocation Program, Heidi and Amy volunteered to take on the work toward a new one. Rather than purchase a new system, Heidi took the initiative to learn and master Microsoft Access in order to create a replacement. With collaboration and support from each other, the duo delivered a program that not only met the district’s need but also far exceeded its predecessor in terms of functionality and user-friendliness. VPS continues to realize its benefits.

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