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Top educators earn 'Golden Apples'

During a special celebration during the regular Sunnyside School Board meeting Thursday night, Sunnyside School Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole presented 14 Golden Apple awards to some of the district's top employees.

The 14 winners were gleaned from a list of 75 nominees and each received an engraved golden apple and a certificate.

Linda Sarmiento was named the 2007 "Volunteer of the Year" last night. She has been volunteering at Chief Kamiakin Elementary School for many years and a person that helped nominate her said, "...she has volunteered more time some weeks than full time employees. She is devoted and dependable. You can always count on her."

Sharing nominations with Sarmiento were Jean Guyer, Cathy Mears, Sandra Linde, Pat Kezele and Wanda Schafer.

Linde did pick up the 2007 "Substitute Teacher of the Year" Golden Apple award. Her understanding of procedures, flexibility and overall interaction with students earned her the award.

Tamra Razey and Luanne Stiltner were also nominated in this category.

Mary Espersen received the 2007 "Support Staff of the Year" award. The people who nominated her wrote, "She is always super positive about her job. She cheers everyone up with that million dollar smile and is always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs assistance. We are lucky to have her with us."

Espersen is a custodian at the office of instruction and support. Others nominated for this award included Susan Clift, Nathan Marchello, Liliana Ortiz, Maria Pollard, Luis Sambrano, Maria Yanez, Norma Alaniz, Dana Ortiz, Evelyn Murray and Chico Rodriguez.

The 2007 "Secretary of the Year" award was handed out to Luz Medrano, a secretary at Washington Elementary School. She is said to know all 800 plus students at the school and is always cheerful and engaging.

Also nominated for this award were Melodie Lopez, Nora Cruz, Veronica Barajas, Barbara Miller, Mirtha Pearson and Laura Simmons.

There were two employees who shared the 2007 "Para Educator of the Year" award. Lucy Rice, a kindergarten para educator at Pioneer Elementary School, and Evallani Ramos, a computers and reading para educator at Sierra Vista Middle School, won the award.

Other para educators nominated were Angelina Cerda, Crystal Saucedo, Sally Saldana, Katherine Johnson, Dora Gutierrez and Marge Zylstra.

There were three staff members who also shared the 2007 "Specialist of the Year" award, as well. Mark Moore, a physical education specialist at Outlook Elementary School; Patrice Strieck, a reading coach at Washington Elementary School, and Kriste Colley, a counselor at Sunnyside High School, were named elementary and secondary school specialists of the year, respectively.

Other specialists nominated for the Golden Apple were Greg Kirk, Judith Weden, Angela Gonzalez and Mike Rodriguez.

Both Erica Barrom, a fourth grade teacher at Chief Kamiakin Elementary School, and Barb Skyles, a resource room teacher at Washington Elementary School, shared the 2007 "Elementary Teacher of the Year" award.

Skyles was described as highly focused, calm and supportive to her students. Barrom's contributions to the Sunnyside School District have helped "...bring our students' learning off the page, out of the textbooks and into the real world."

They were joined in being nominated with Jamie Tilschner, Joe Veloz, Donna de Graaf, Danielle Weets, Bobbi Quigley, Doris Matson, Billie Parke, Rob McCracken and Catharina Vander Stoel.

Maisy Sylling, the drama and speech teacher at Sunnyside High School, was named the 2007 "Secondary Teacher of the Year," as was Stephanie Funk.

Sylling was given credit for single handily building a successful extracurricular program that stems directly from her classes as SHS. She is also credited for building up the drama program to more than 100 students from the 30 she started with when she took over.

Funk is a grade bloc teacher at Harrison Middle School.

Also nominated in this category were Robert Lemos, Darla Van Corbach, Linda Gutierrez, Chuck Neubauer, Dawn Grisgby-Canales, Amber Humpherys, Rafael Rodriguez, Eroll Miles and Dave Martinez.

The 2007 "Administrator of the Year" Golden Apple went to Lori Froese, assessment director for the Sunnyside School District. She was said to have worked diligently to ensure that student achievement data is accessible, and understandable to all.

Froese was joined in being nominated with Ryan Maxwell, Kris Diddens, Heidi Hellner-Gomez, Doug Kaplicky, Yesenia Rodriguez, Bill Daley, Julie Schmick, Robert Bowman, Gary Babcock and Karen Eaton.

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