Certified: LeeAnn Parker, Kindergarten Half Time
LeeAnn will do whatever it takes to help students learn. She knows the strengths and weaknesses of each student in her class and in other kindergarten classes. She provides instruction that allows students to discover and create. Student scores prove that LeeAnn is a great teacher. However, she knows that learning should not stop. LeeAnn looks for ways to continue to improve her knowledge of teaching. She earned a scholarship to attend the National Association for the education of Young Children in December, and she applied what she learned in her own classroom. Not only does LeeAnn do a great job during the school day, she continues working with some of her students after her contract hours. After she sends her class home each day, she keeps 3 or 4 students, takes them to lunch, and then gives them extra support. This extra effort has proven to be very successful. LeeAnn is a valuable part of our staff and we cannot afford to be without her.
Classified: Brian Bilboa, Head Custodian
Brian is a hard worker. He has a positive attitude even when cleaning up unpleasant things. Brian has positive interactions with the students and teachers. Any time a teacher asks him to do something he does it immediately and looks for other ways he can improve the school atmosphere. Brian is the McGyver of Custodians. If we need something fixed at BES, he will find a way. Brian has an important role at BES and he is successful at what he does.
BLUFF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Certified: Robin Cantrell, First Grade Teacher
Robin is a teacher who has increased her knowledge and refined her profession based on reflection and new learning throughout her teaching career. She has a strong knowledge based of what it takes to get students to become a proficiency reader. Robin has consistently used data to drive her instruction as well as target student learning needs. He DIBELS data has shown a high percentage of students being at Benchmark each year. She has used data to also assess the effectiveness of her daily instruction and make adjustments with her planning. She has created Student Data folders to help students track their learning progress and receive specific feedback for improvement. Robin has taken the leadership role on various school responsibilities without complaint as she sees the importance of building a collaborative school environment for all. She has also been the leader for the Multi-School PLC for the last two years and has done amazing things with her team to become a high functioning PLC team. Over the years, Robin has created and implemented positive classroom management procedures to help build a climate of openness, respectfulness, and high expectations within her classroom. She also promotes parent involvement as she takes the initiative to contact parents, provide parents materials to support their children, send home positive notes to celebrate students and send thorough student progress report on a regular basis. Robin spends many hours of preparation time so she is well planned and organized to teach her first grade students daily. Robin is truly dedicated to the students she is entrusted with and makes every effort to help them be successful readers as they leave first grade. She has worked with students who have had many academic and behavior challenges and has taken on the task of helping them make improvements and build self-esteem. Robin is a master educator.
Classified: Malyssa Egge, After-School Coordinator
Malyssa develops various learning experiences for the after school program which allows students the building of background knowledge and to have multiple experiences. Malyssa is aware of the diversity of the students and supports them in being and feeling successful. She is positive with the students, helps them to engage in learning and provides an environment of openness and respectfulness. Malyssa has a sense of urgency in creating an effective after school program which the students would benefit from. Malyssa is dedicated to Bluff students as she takes the initiative to learn the Navajo culture, language and traditions. She makes a connection to the students on a daily basis through her understanding and respect of the culture and diversity of the community. Malyssa is well organized and runs an effective after school program.
MONTEZUMA CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Certified: Connie Todachinnie, Instructional Coach
Connie Todachinnie is a great asset to Montezuma Creek Elementary School. Her role as Instructional Coach adds an additional resource for the teachers to strengthen their instruction. Connie brings a broad perspective and high knowledge level in the various aspects of education that provides a great value in her role of Instructional Coach. She is proactive as she works with teachers and continues to build their capacity level of effective instruction.
Classified: Kimberly Dee, Science Aide
Kim Dee is the Science Guru at Montezuma Creek Elementary School. With no disrespect intended to the use of Guru, Kim has added a great deal to the school’s focus toward meeting its science goal. She has great rapport with the students at school. When you walk into the science lab, it is great to see the kids engaged in learning science. The students have enjoyed her enthusiasm about science and you can see that in their faces.
MONTICELLO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Certified: Laurie Randall, 4th Grade Teacher
Laurie is a masterful teacher! She sets high expectations for every child. She is an over-achiever and expects her students to rise to their highest potential. Laurie makes time daily to hold reflective learning conferences with her students. She provides high quality differentiation support within her classroom. Laurie sets and maintains positive behavior management every day. Laurie is masterful in integrating engagement techniques with content teaching methods. She makes learning meaningful and fun! Laurie is an effective peer coach, mentor and instructional support to our MES teachers. She has been willing to take on new learning and implement ipod/ipad technology into her teaching daily. She in turn is willing to share her experiences and learning with other teachers. Laurie is a team player and supportive of all school-wide goals. MES staff and students are very lucky to have Mrs. Randall and her expertise at MES! Hands down, Laurie’s professionalism and excellence in teaching exemplify one of the finest educators ever!
Classified: Becca Wikle, Special Education Paraprofessional
Every school needs a Mrs. Wikle! Becca is an exceptional paraprofessional in every way. She cares deeply about every child’s success. She will do whatever is needed to ensure that all children have the resources they need to meet their individual goals. Becca is innovative and self-motivated. She will try several techniques to help a child learn and she never gives up. Becca is continually looking for the positive in students, staff and MES. She takes great pride in her role. On Becca’s own time she has quilted hundreds of lap blankets, bibs and other needed items for students. She generously shares her evenings giving to MES students. On many occasions, Becca has sewn our school flag back together, patched balls and mended goats for MES. There is not a more talented or hard working paraprofessional than Becca. She is 100% dedicated to MES students in every way! Thank you, Becca for all you do for MES! We hope you never retire!
TSE’BII’NIDZISGAI ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Certified: Arlinda Singer, Teacher
Arlinda is a great person and a dedicated teacher. She actively participates in our school-based PLC’s. She shares ideas and implements things she learns from others. She also collaborates closely with the other teacher on her grade level. She is respected and liked by staff, students, and parents. Arlinda is also professional and responsible – in everything from being on time to supervision duty to recently passing her Praxis to keep her certification current. Arlinda has jumped right in to our ambitious school goals including meaningful differentiated instruction in word study, readers’ workshop, writers’ workshop, and math. As a result, her students are engaged and learning every day. Thank you, Arlinda!
Classified: JoLynne Tsosie, Interventionist
JoLynne is a great person and a dedicated interventionist. She works hard every minute to serve and improve student learning. She is known for her collaborative approach to interventions. She regularly shares information and ideas with classroom teachers and is very welcoming of their ideas and feedback. She is always respectful, responsible, friendly, helpful, and professional. She is always on time and prepared for her intervention groups, duty assignments, and meetings with staff members. The staff and students like and respect her. JoLynne is an invaluable member of our staff. Thank you, JoLynne!
ALBERT R. LYMAN MIDDLE SCHOOL
Certified: Justin Moon, PE Coach, Testing Coordinator
Here is what some of his colleagues have written about Justin: If I have a cote it goes to Justin Moon. Some might say he’s just a PE Teacher, but I’d argue he’s much more to our staff. Justin takes the lead on testing, A+, and focus students. He completes all the aforementioned tasks without recognition and is diligent within the tasks assigned. I’ve never heard him complain and he is effective in working with all students. Students respect Justin and work hard for him. In fact, they work harder for him than themselves. He has a lot of work to do, but he is always willing to help with a smile on his face. He just makes the school a better place. He does a great job teaching PE. He doesn’t just throw a ball out there and say have at it. He challenges the kids to stay healthy and learn skills to stay physically active in the future. He also does a great deal with our at-risk students. He helps our building stay up on testing and organizes that huge task every year. Justin goes above and beyond in all of his responsibilities and complains very little. He’s approachable and willing to help any teacher in need.
Classified: Dixie Nez Nigh, Custodian
Here is what her colleagues said about Dixie: Dixie Nez is always working with a smile on her face. She interacts with the students and you can tell she cares about our school. I know she keeps my room clean and does whatever needs done to keep it that way. She is very dependable and she cleans everything in her area every day, no cheating if it still looks clean from before. She makes everything sparkle. As a bonus she is always pleasant and friendly.
MONTICELLO HIGH SCHOOL
Certified: Josh Keyes, Language Arts 7, 9 and 11, and Journalism
Joshua Keyes was thrown into our Language Arts Program this year after the death of long-time language arts teacher Judy Barton. Joshua has shown that he is a natural leader in the Language Arts Department. He has been willing to spend the time to become a solid teacher. His students report that Mr. Keyes is challenging yet fun. Mr. Keyes has taken the bull by the horns at MHS. He has gone from a first year teacher to Language Arts Department Chair in one year! Mr. Keyes has the drive and determination to succeed in following a veteran Judy Barton at MHS. Mr. Keyes is a leader in the Language Arts 7th and 8th grade PLC team and doing a fantastic job. Mr. Keyes has taken on a co-team leader role in our school student council. He has brought new energy and thought to the activities and events that have taken place this year. It is my pleasure to recognize Mr. Joshua Keyes as Teacher of the Year at MHS!
Classified: Loretta Thiery, MHS Cafeteria
Loretta is a positive person. She is a hard worker and makes our cafeteria a quality place to eat. She always cares for others and works to keep our students and staff full and happy. Loretta is an outstanding employee at MHS. Working behind the scenes, she provides the best tasting and highest quality breakfast and lunches in the school district! Loretta is always willing to help in any way she is asked. She always has a smile for the students and staff. Loretta is always looking out for students in need and will point out hungry students to administration so we can provide something extra when needed. Loretta is more than worthy of the recognition as MHS classified employee of the year.
MONUMENT VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL
Certified: Jeremy Johnson, Band Teacher
It is with great pleasure that I nominate Jeremy Johnson as Employee of the year. He has spent countless hours working with our students in imparting his music skills. His ability to put on a cheerful face even during difficult times is what I appreciate about him. A skilled musician and dedicated employee, he has energized our community in a way that has brought a lot of activity and positive feelings into the school. Jeremy has been an invaluable member of our school leadership committee and stepped up to run GPS, a somewhat thankless after-school job. He is an effective communicator and exhibits the ability to listen well to others, take their feedback and ideas, in order to create workable and meaningful outcomes. Jeremy is an excellent music teacher. He is aware of a variety of approaches to teaching music, and is constantly broadening his pedagogy based on best-practice. He regularly integrates this best-practice into his lesson designs, and works to keep the music program fresh and stimulating. He has worked to create interdisciplinary experiences as well, by integrating song, instrumentals, and literature through performances for the school. He is always more than happy to share his knowledge with others through a free exchange of ideas. Lastly, although certainly perhaps the most important, he enjoys children and brings wonderful excitement to their music experience. He creates relevant lesson plans that tap into student interest. Jeremy introduced a Native Flute class to MVHS for the first time. If you walk into a music lesson, students are making music! They are engaged in class and in numerous performances throughout the year. He is possibly our most high-profile teacher at the school, which for us is a very, very good thing.
Classified: Riva Sheppard, Administrative Assistant
Riva Sheppard is an outstanding employee who brings to her job a high degree of energy, commitment, flexibility, and professional conduct. As the financial secretary for MVHS, Riva provides critical support to the operations of the school in terms of keeping supplies on hand, copy machines running, and our finances in order. When key personnel are absent, Riva fills multiple roles without a word of complaint. Though Riva is very busy with her own work, she can often be found covering the phones, attending to students, parents and school visitors or helping in any capacity for which she is requested. She gets things done when time gets tight and resources are strapped thin. Riva is well-respected by the faculty, parents and community members. Riva has interpersonal skills that are invaluable to her work, particularly when situations get tense or hectic. As a new principal to the school, I have relied on Riva for far more than what should be expected of her, but she has never once told me she couldn’t or wouldn’t do something. For those things with which she is unfamiliar, she takes the initiative to find answers and provide solutions. She is the kind of employee that makes Monument Valley High School look good. She is the kind of employee that leaves a positive impression. Riva Sheppard exemplifies the excellence of our classified employees who give so much to the success of our school, and I am most pleased to nominate her to be recognized as Employee of the Year.
SAN JUAN HIGH SCHOOL
Certified: Tracy Johnson, CTE/PE/Drivers Ed
Tracy is a 20-year veteran of the San Juan School District – all 20 years at San Juan High. She is a solid performer in the classroom and is one of SJH’s “Star” teachers. She is in the CTE PLC and is a member of SJH’s leadership team. She is a former head coach in boy’s golf and volleyball (State Championships in 97 and 98) and a former assistant coach in girls’ basketball and softball.
Classified: LeeAnn Bowring, Secretary
LeeAnn was hired after the passing of long-time secretary and friend Gena Nielson. LeeAnn hit the floor running when her time at SJH started. She has been quick to learn her position and all the duties associated with it. She has been a perfect fit for San Juan High, stepping into a very difficult role after the death of a valued employee.
WHITEHORSE HIGH SCHOOL
Certified: Matt Baldwin, Language Arts Teacher
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Mr. Baldwin is a key and critical member of the Montezuma Creek community. He is a high energy Language Arts teacher that is able to engage all his students and bring them to the highest level of performance. He builds positive relationships with the students so that they love to learn. Matt brings energy to the basketball court and has mentored many students so that they learn about life and the rewards of hard work. He is a shining example of what all teachers should aspire to be in and out of the classroom. He brings great credit to the school and to the profession of education.
Classified: Alvin Lee, Custodian
Alvin Lee is an example as to what a school custodian should be. He is hard working, diligent and meticulous. Alvin happily completes his work and is always positive when he interacts with staff, parents and students. When anything needs to be done at the school, Alvin gladly pitches in. He is one of the people at Whitehorse High School that makes a positive difference.
Certified: Lynnette Johnson, Student Services Director
Lynnette Johnson’s value to the district cannot be measured. Although her title is “Student Services Director”, her area of expertise expands to virtually all aspects of what occurs within the district. Her talents are constantly sought for a wide range of projects, from writing complicated grants to overseeing programs for at-risk student to providing support to the human resource department. Her ability to organize, plan, draft and complete complex major tasks such as the Language Arts and Mathematics Curriculum Standards Project is vital to the overall success of the District. She has great knowledge of the programs offered in the district, and the history of said programs. She oversees employees with wisdom and kindness, and she graciously accepts new assignments, regardless of their complicated nature or the amount of time they will take. Lynnette has a love of education, learning, teaching, and most of all, a great love for the students in San Juan County. She is a model of efficiency, and she brings irreplaceable knowledge and experience to her position and to the district.
Classified: Wesley Hunt, Distance Education
While I know there are a lot of great employees that could have been nominated as the district classified employee of the year, there is no one more deserving in my mind than Wesley Hunt. There is so much that Wesley does for the district and I think it too often goes unnoticed. The vast and very complex distance education network that is crucial to our district simply does not exist or function without Wesley. He gives countless hours during the week (including nights and weekends) to make sure that we have a very robust and reliable system while making it as simple as it can be for the teachers and students. He even starred in his own training video to facilitate learning for teachers and facilitators; you should ask him to share it with you. And more recently Wesley is using his extensive knowledge of distance learning and interactive video conferencing to begin to allow students in the district to experience rich learning experiences through virtual field trips. At the start of February he allowed for a fourth grade class to visit the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi and see and experience things they may never get the opportunity to see and experience all from the comfort of their classroom. (If you haven’t read the blog post about it on the district blog you should probably go ahead and do that.) The students were able to engage with an expert in marine life, ask questions, and simply be 100% engaged in having their understanding of the water cycle reinforced while seeing some compelling creatures! And next week he is taking some students to the Minnesota Zoo… Wesley does this and so much more. (And he never seems to get tired!) He assists with almost every other aspect of district technology and does so very willingly and graciously. If you do not really know Wesley you may want to visit with him and tap into his deep knowledge and experience and if you want to know even more about him and what he is capable of doing (because he will never admit it) you should probably get some popcorn and stream “MacGyver” on Netflix this weekend… Thanks for all you do, Wesley.