|Outstanding staff recognized by peers for achievement |
Honorees for prestigious Staff Achievement Grant named today
• Mike Dill (Custodian - Pioneer Middle School)
• Sherry McConn (Learning Opportunity Center Teacher - Walla Walla High School)
• Jean Tobin (Fourth Grade Teacher - Green Park Elementary School)
• Nancy Anhorn (Learning Specialist - Edison Elementary School)
• Elaine Bluhm (Payroll Officer - Business Office)
Staff Achievement Grant Winners are nominated and chosen by teachers and support staff for superior performance, innovation; exemplary leadership; exceptional service or contributions to the Walla Walla Public Schools. No administrators are included in the selection process. Staff Achievement Grant Winners receive a $1,000 stipend and five days of paid release time for professional growth activities. These outstanding educators are recognized by their peers as the best of the best. Congratulations!
Here’s what Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan said about each recipient at today’s All Staff Celebration Breakfast...
Mike Dill - Pioneer Middle School Custodian
With a smile constantly fixed on his face and a quick joke to tell, Pioneer Custodian Mike Dill works tirelessly every day to make sure his school is ready for learning. Nominators for Mike are: Cheryl Herr, Doug Venneri and Jon Abbott.
Known for his positive attitude and helpful approach to work and life, Mike is always eager to lend a hand to help in any way needed. He's handy too. You'll often find him repairing chairs and desks and will even take time to fix a student's eye glasses or jewelry. Mike is passionate about his work and is always one of the first to arrive in the morning.
In the winter he's out putting down de-icers and shoveling snow to keep everyone safe and in the spring hornets and yellowjackets don't stand a chance with him on the job. His fun and uplifting demeanor make him a hit with students. As one of his nominators said, "His sense of humor lights up the faces of anyone he comes in contact with. There is no one in our building that has a more positive attitude, which speaks immensely for him, as his job can often be a thankless one.”
Thank you for all you do to help make Pioneer a safe, fun and positive place to learn.
Sherry McConn (Learning Opportunity Center teacher - Wa-Hi)
Many of the students who enter the Wa-Hi Learning Opportunity Center are lagging behind on their knowledge base and considered at-risk. That term soon leaves them, once enrolled in the program as teacher Sherry McConn begins her magic. Nominators for Sherry are Jeanne Ruecker, Kim Cassetto and Mary Matau.
Sherry soon finds out what passions these students have in life and links this positive energy to their education. She is a master in building relationships and trust. Despite lacking credits, facing behavior issues and an assortment of other life's challenges at home and at school, Sherry's students soon begin to believe in themselves and open their minds to learning.
Sherry maintains high expectations for all students. She had a group of juniors in her English class that had not met standard on the READING WASL last year. After spending the year in her class, 100% of these students -- 11 of 11 -- met standard. In fact, they registered an average gain of 45 points on the WASL Reading test over their score last year. This is truly an incredible accomplishment for these students and a LOT of it has to do with Sherry. Her teaching model works!
Those who spend time with Sherry are amazed at how former students flock to her when out in public to introduce family members, show off newborns or just say hi. According to one of her nominators, Sherry on numerous occasions has been recognized as the one "who turned their lives around."
Thank you Sherry for finding the good in people and helping all students reach their true potential. Congratulations on receiving this recognition.
Jean Tobin (4th Grade Teacher -- Green Park Elementary School)
We've all heard there is no I in team. Green Park 4th grade teacher Jean Tobin lives by this creed. Jean's nominators are Diane Mires, Elissa Stites and Missy Johnson.
One of her nominators said she is the most giving person she knows. Jean believes in sharing her experience and knowledge with others in the school and district. Some examples of her generousity include developing learning materials for others, briefing staff on training and seminars she has been a part of, and giving of her time.
Jean is known as the Math Machine at Green Park. Her passion for math helps students and staff alike. Jean lives her life doing what is best for all. She helps prepare Green Park students for the Math Team each year. Jean does whatever it takes to prepare her students. She even takes the time to gather materials for the students to make their own math shirts. You'll find her in school early and staying late so all students are supported and feel connected to Green Park.
She also loves field trips, hands-on learning opportunities and has embraced technology by experiementing with video-conference learning with students from around the state. As stated in one of her nomination letters, Jean's work is always about kids. Thank you for your commitment to our teachers, students, parents, community and our entire school district.
Nancy Anhorn (Learning Specialist/Assessment Coordinator - Edison)
According to one of the nominators for our next recipient --- whenever Nancy Anhorn is involved, the ball never drops! Nominators for Nancy are Genie Huntemann, Karen Fuller and Nancy Withycombe.
As Edison's Learning Specialist and Assessment Coordinator, she plays a key role in developing programs to meet the needs of all students. Nancy is involved in most all aspects of the school. You'll find her filling in for the secretary, nurse and even Principal from time-to-time. She is a resource for parents, organizes testing, coordinates assessment results, serves on the Griefbusters and even takes on a weekly recess duty. She does all this with a terrific sense of humor and a good laugh.
She is also a stickler for detail and considered very organized. Oh yes, she likes a tidy workplace. One of her nominators explained how she had a small "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" wooden mailbox. Apparently, it was getting a bit full for Nancy's standards. So, she cleaned it out, prioritized and organized the contents. This made for a big laugh between the two and endless jokes amongst the staff.
Congratulations to Nancy Anhorn for being a team player and life-long learner who fosters the well being of all students.
Elaine Bluhm - (Payroll Officer -- Business Office)
In today's fast-paced, technology driven world it's easy to feel like a number when you need service. Those who come in contact with Business Office lead Payroll Officer Elaine Bluhm always go away feeling their issue is her top priority. Nominators for Elaine are: Susie Golden, Judy Gwinn, and Terri Gilbert.
Elaine is a special employee. She has served as a school secretary at Wa-Hi and Sharpstein and now leads all payroll activities in the business office. She is known for going the extra mile to help, support and encourage the people around her. It's not uncommon for Elaine to go to someone's house to discuss private and often personal payroll issues.
Her energy and focus to keep current on the vast amount of payroll related laws helps the district maintain positive audits. She has excellent judgement regarding payroll issues and handles each situation appropriately.
According to one of her nominators, if she doesn't know an answer to a question, she will research and investigate until she can share that answer with you. Another nominator said -- Elaine actively promotes the Business Office vision of providing support to our district-wide staff, so they may focus on our greatest asset, our children.
Congratulations to Elaine Bluhm for leading with her heart and treating all staff with kindness, respect and professionalism.