October 2018 Employee Excellence Award Winners

The following employees were selected for the October 2018 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Oct. 23 school board meeting. Pictured from left:

  • Jennifer Fletcher, fiscal clerk, McLoughlin
  • Lynn Helms, teacher, Skyview High School
  • Gahlya Auel, school psychologist/case manager, Vancouver Early Childhood Evaluation Center
  • Maria Meza, bus driver, transportation department
  • Annette Caldwell, administrative assistant, ITS (not pictured)

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.

When it comes to providing exceptional services to young children with developmental delays, Gahlya puts kids and families first. She explores new strategies to improve the district’s early childhood program and developed a diagnostic process that allows children to begin preschool on schedule. Staff members monitor their development over four to six weeks and use their observations to determine the best placement for the child. In all matters, her co-workers rely on her expertise and professionalism.

Annette has proven herself to be a coordination wizard. She organizes hiring activities, handles billing and purchase orders, maintains schedules, tracks equipment repairs and manages training paperwork with an adept professionalism that makes it all seem easy. It isn’t, but she takes every change and new challenge in stride. She’s also the first to volunteer for committees, pick up a card for a staff member or welcome new employees to the department. With warmth and a caring attitude, Annette is the friendly face of ITS.

Co-workers praise Jennifer’s friendly, helpful attitude and her ability to make everyone feel welcome with a smile and warm greeting. Families, staff members and students agree that she is approachable and kind. No amount of time is too much to spend offering assistance. Last spring, Jennifer helped a teacher who works at several schools coordinate field trips and exceeded the duties of a chaperone. No wonder they call her the rock of the Mac family!

The Success Academy at Skyview, through which credit-deficient seniors are able to reach on-time graduation, flourishes in large part due to Lynn’s efforts. One student was close to dropping out of high school. Thanks to Lynn, he not only graduated but went on to a junior college, transferred to a four-year university and is now a senior working toward earning a teaching degree in math. His goal: to pass on the gift of knowledge and self-worth that he received from Lynn.

With a smile and a kind word, Maria greets students as they board the bus each morning and disembark at the end of the day. Maria is known for her friendliness and easygoing attitude—two of her many wonderful traits appreciated by students, parents and her colleagues. Her bilingual skills are a great asset to the transportation department as they reach out to families who speak Spanish at home. Maria also is a member of a committee that promotes a welcoming, energetic and fun atmosphere for transportation employees. Whether she’s driving a big bus or a small bus, Maria is always driving positivity.

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