Cream of the crop bestowed Golden Apple awards

The Sunnyside School Board took time out of its schedule at Tuesday night's monthly meeting to recognize some of its best and brightest staff members with the annual Golden Apple awards. This is the third year the district has handed out the awards recognizing staff members for their efforts in providing Sunnyside School District students with a place to have a prosperous education.

The evening started out with Sunnyside Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole honoring the volunteer of the year. The district recognized two volunteers this year for their efforts.

The first of the volunteer of the year recipients was Carroll Walker. Walker has been a volunteer at Pioneer Elementary School in Kristeen Miller's class for several years. Cole read an excerpt from the nomination form of Walker.

"The person who nominated Carroll says he has been an invaluable assistant over that period of time," said Cole. "He helps students with math, reading and special projects. He gives individual attention to students when they require one-on-one interaction. Carroll Walker deserves to be singled out for his many hours of service and his dedication to our children."

The other volunteer of the year was Ronnie Shifflett. Shifflett has been a volunteer crossing guard at Harrison Middle School, Sunnyside High School and Chief Kamiakin Elementary School for the past 10 years.

"He completes his volunteer duties with pride," Cole read from the nomination form. "He honestly doesn't want to see any students hurt while trying to get to school. Each day he helps thousands of students cross the busy street."

Cole then turned his attention towards honoring the support staff of the year.

The first of the awards for support staff of the year went to Rose Nesmith. Nesmith is the head cook at Washington Elementary School. She has worked for the district for 19 years.

"She is dedicated to her job and her co-workers," Cole read from the nomination form. "She is efficient, she listens to others and she takes an active role when help is needed. Her spirit is jubilant and contagious. You can always get a laugh for the day when Rose is around. She makes you feel good."

One of the other award recipients for support staff of the year went to Nic Olinsky, who is a network administrator in the district's technology department.

"Nic is very deserving of a Golden Apple award," Cole stated from the nomination form. "Most of the time, he fixes problems when no one even knows that a problem existed in the first place. His job is seamless and it is very rare that he gets the pat on the back that he deserves."

The final award for support staff of the year went to Margaret Lopez, who works with the Migrant Student Data Recruitment program.

"She had an excellent work ethic," read Cole, "which is an example to others. She is very dedicated to her job and the people she provides assistance and training to and she has a big heart."

The recipient of the secretary/office staff person of the year award was Tammy Thompson, who is the accounts payable and purchasing specialist for the school district.

"I can count on Tammy to answer all my questions," Cole read from the nomination form. "She has the ability to take everything in stride and I have yet to see her get too upset about anything. Tammy is a great asset to the Sunnyside School District. She is a good person and a good friend."

The district also awarded two Golden Apples for para-educator of the year.

The first person recognized was Sally Garcia, who is a kindergarten para-educator at Washington Elementary School.

"Sally is very creative, brings new ideas to enhance learning in the classroom," one of the nomination forms stated. "She comes to work early and stays late. Sally always gives more than 100 percent, never asking for anything in return. I believe her most important quality is her love for the students and the respect she shows parents year after year."

The other 2004 para-educator of the year was Dolores Kaiser, who works in the special education department at Harrison Middle School.

"Dolores is a perfect example of a caring individual who shows passion for her job," Cole read. "I feel that my students are greatly impacted on a daily basis because of her compassion and empathy for each student."

The 2004 specialist of the year apple went to Harrison Middle School seventh grade counselor Deb Dale.

"Deb has always been a model supporter for our school improvement efforts and validates teachers' hard work on a day-to-day basis," one of the nomination forms stated. "I have never seen a more committed counselor."

Elementary teacher of the year honors went to Barbara Quigley, who is a first grade teacher at Outlook Elementary School. Quigley has 40 years of experience in education.

"She is the most accomplished and skilled teacher I have had the experience to know," stated a piece of the nomination form Cole shared with the audience. "She has a ready smile and a student success story that she will share at the drop of a hat. Her enthusiasm is infectious and her knowledge is vast. I think it's high time we award her wit, vivacity and devotion to excellence in education."

Quigley shared some of her vivacity with the audience when receiving her award.

"All of us that our interested in education I feel are truly cut out of the same mold. I am just a little moldier," smiled Quigley.

The district also handed out two Golden Apples for its secondary teacher of the year honors.

The first of the teachers to be bestowed with this honor was Harrison Middle School band and choir teacher Greg Kirk.

"Greg gives his all to making sure all kids are included who want to be in the music classes he teaches," the nomination form detailed. "He is an outstanding music educator and a role model for others. Greg's teaching is not only terrific, he is able to make it fun for kids as well.

Ryan Maxwell was the other recipient of this year's Golden Apple for secondary teacher of the year. Maxwell teaches 10th grade world history and 12th grade world problems at Sunnyside High School.

"He models best practices in his classroom," Cole shared from the nomination form. "Students really like him because he is fair, consistent and shows he cares about them. Staff members respect him because of his professionalism and genuine caring about people. Ryan epitomizes excellence in education as a teacher."

The last of the Golden Apple awards is the only one awarded by the Sunnyside School Board. Administrator of the year honors went to Deannie Dunbar, who is the director of instruction and learning. Cole said Dunbar, who will be retiring after three years with the school district, has helped very much in raising the education bar for staff and students in the district.

"She is going to be missed," said Cole.


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