Seven employees were selected for the February 2017 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Feb. 28 school board meeting. Pictured above from left to right are:
- Eisenhower Elementary paraeducator team: Lisa Lengacher, Amber Wyckoff, Wendy Chopp and Kim Luttrell
- Gary Yarne, graphic technician, curriculum department
- Julie McKee, secretary, special services department
- Nicole Loran-Graham, coordinator, mobile Family-Community Resource Center
The Excellence Award is given to two to four 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.
Last fall, this team joined a pilot program that serves students with individual education plans in general education classrooms. Each paraeducator’s contribution is valuable. Amber is tuned into and motivated to meet the needs of all children at Eisenhower. Lisa connects well with each student in the classroom and brings flexibility and enthusiasm to her job. Kim thinks creatively when she encounters challenges and enjoys working with students who have social difficulties. Wendy always arrives at work with a smile, ready to support students and teachers in any way she can. With open minds and hearts, these four women are working hard to ensure that their students are successful.
Among Gary’s many duties is the creation of the programs of choice flier that is distributed to more than 10,000 families. For many of them, the flier is their first introduction to the myriad specialized learning opportunities offered at the secondary level. Gary is tasked with making the document look professional and presenting the information in an accessible, coherent manner. Not only is he able to do this, he also is diligent and remains flexible when last-minute changes are required. Said his nominator, “It’s a pleasure to work with someone so dependable and professional who also produces quality work.”
On top of her secretarial duties, Julie is dedicated to helping students in special education and their families make a smooth transition to school. When new special education students enter the district, she coordinates the transfer of records so that VPS administrators can review them and make an appropriate placement, and she arranges transportation. Over the summer break, Julie is busy ensuring that students are ready to change grades or schools and connecting with families to get updated information. Say her co-workers, “Her positivity and can-do attitude are contagious and contribute to improved morale for everyone fortunate enough to come into contact with her.”
A parent submitted the following nomination: “My family is homeless at the moment, and Nicole has gotten me in touch with agencies that can help. She has gotten my family enrolled for housing, College Bound, Santa Posse, food, gas, Winco card. I will be forever grateful to her for her help, compassion and empathy. … If it were not for her and the school’s resources, my family would have no hope and not know who to get in touch with. I will be paying everything forward once my family is back on our feet! … Nicole is a gift to my family.”
Congratulations to these staff members! They join the many VPS employees who have received Excellence Awards since 2007.