April-May Employee Honor Roll Nominees

April-May Employee Honor Roll Nominees

Congratulations to these amazing staff members who were nominated in April and May for their above-and-beyond service to our students, staff, families, and community . The reasons each individual was nominated are also included. Please join us in thanking them for their exceptional service!

One employee from each of the four categories is selected each month by the Superintendent's Executive Cabinet as the Employees of the Month. These employees will be announced in a separate news article.


Karina Blanquet
Frank Wagner Office Support
Karina is the epitome of grace and poise. I've know her on a personal level, then we worked together as employees of MSD now I get the privilege of working with her in the capacity of a Frank Wagner parent. Being the largest elementary school in the district, Karina's ability to multitask, connect and support ALL families is what makes her stand out from the rest. She always greets us with a smile no matter how hectic thee day or things may get. I appreciate her ability to connect especially with those families who may not have a loud voice or go unheard sometimes. Her genuine demeanor and calming concern is what keeps the office going and proves to make all students feel comfortable while at Frank Wagner. What I can appreciate the most about Karina is the fact that she puts action behind her words. She is committed and dedicated to making sure things go the way they should. Thank you for being such an instrumental part of Frank Wagner's success...YOU ARE VALUED BY MANY!!

Oscar Hanson, Rhoda Lochmann and Sarah Tucker
Monroe High School Office Support
What can I NOT say about these three!! Being a new employee at MHS, they have been so welcoming to me and have made my transition super smooth. Whenever I need something they are there to help me and they also have yummy snacks for those times when I need a pick me up!! All in all, I am assured that the MHS office would not run so smoothly without them and their ability to work effectively as a team. I was in the office one morning and as it got busy with phone calls and students, I watched them immediately step in for each other with not one word spoken. That kind of teamwork is what makes the dream WORK. Being able to step in and help...that's what keeps us going! Kudos to you AMAZEBALLS...MHS is blessed to have you!!

Margaret Jacobs
Sky Valley Education Center Office Support
For years Margaret has been the face of Sky Valley - the point of first contact for prospective families. She takes the time to get to know these folks, talks to their kids, gives tours, and passionately talks about all the options at SVEC. I don't think I go a week without hearing from a new or long-time family how amazing Margaret is. And these last two years with Covid, she hasn't just been an enrollment specialist, she has been a counselor to stressed parents, uncertain about their options and uncertain about homeschooling. She has enrolled twice as many new students as a normal year, and still gives every single one the same individualized attention and stellar customer service she always does. Margaret makes sure everyone's first impressions of SVEC are positive!

Barb Baanrud
Transportation Dispatcher
Barb is our Transitions program main contact and she is an amazing human being! She understands our program's constantly changing needs-shows compassion, flexibility, understanding and accommodates each and everyone of the students and their families. She must have magic in her fingertips!!! We thank her so much for all she does for our program and this entire district!!

Karen Gorham
Maltby Elementary Office Manager
Karen you have been the missing piece of Maltby and we are so fortunate to have you on our team! You have energy and charisma! Thank you for choosing us for your 'home'! Here's to the year to come!

Ben Wright
Fryelands Elementary Paraeducator
Ben is amazing with the kids. He is firm but loving with them. He is always ready to help the staff and has a positive attitude.

Debby Manley
Bus Driver
Ms. Debby has been my daughter's bus driver for the last three years. She always welcomes the students on the bus with a smile and makes them feel special. She goes above and beyond for all of the students on her bus. On one occasion she made sure the families in our neighborhood were personally contacted when our neighborhood was on a snow route and other neighborhoods were not to ensure our children wouldn't miss the bus. Today my daughter grabbed the wrong backpack which would have just ruined her school day but Ms. Debby told her she could go grab her backpack while she was picking up other students in the loop. Disaster avoided. I don't think most drivers would have done that. I am very thankful that she is my daughter's bus driver.

Vicki Arnold
Monroe High School Lead Custodian
Thank you for taking the time to listen and show support. Very friendly and willing to land a hand when is needed without asking we could use a lot more people like you in our Department. Keep up the good work.

Jonathan Westerfield
Monroe High School Custodian
Thank you for showing support and helping out and being friendly. We need more like you in our Department.

MSD Technology Department
Our heroes on the tech team literally save the day for us many many times throughout each year. Though most of their work is done behind the scenes, we literally could not do our jobs without their knowledge, commitment, and hard work in ensuring our computers, devices, phones and all other electronic tools are running smoothly. I'm especially thankful for the kindness, understanding, patience and calm approach they bring to the conversation when I am at my wits' end with technology. I am so grateful that they can understand, diagnose, and resolve issues that remain a mystery to me and then explain just enough so that my confidence is restored and I can do my job. Tim was one of the members whom I wish I had recognized sooner. His legacy is being passed to each person on our tech team and they have done an amazing job coming together and continuing to support us while processing and working through his loss. They all deserve individual recognition for the work they do. They are my heroes!

Dar Swanson
Bus Driver
To say that Dar is helpful is an understatement! You barely indicate the need for anything and he's right there to assist. My bus was not passing it's pre-trip one morning, and Dar tried to figure out what was wrong with it. However, time was ticking, so he quickly found me a bus and began pre-tripping it for me. He's not in management. He's not a mechanic. He just heard a need and responded productively. He's also funny and kind and positive. We're lucky to have him.

Kyra Barnhart
District-Wide Behavior Specialist
Kyra supports multiple students at multiple buildings and at multiple levels and she has been able to give quality support no matter where she goes. She is often called in when a student's behavior is to the point where adults are struggling to manage their needs and Kyra has been able to come in, create a behavior plan, support the adults, and ultimately turn a difficult situation towards a more positive outcome. And she does this having visited multiple building/programs daily and provides the same quality of support. Monroe is really lucky to have Kyra!

Teri DeKubber-Danner
Frank Wagner Elementary Paraeducator
Teri is a wonderful asset to the preschool team! She has a quiet and calming presence that kids are drawn to and find comfort in. She is consistently patient, caring, & reliable, and is always willing to step up to help a team member when needed. We love and appreciate Ms. Teri!


Rebecca Williams
Leaders in Learning Counselor

Becca quickly immersed herself into the workings of our school from day 1, developing close working relationships with all staff, students and parents alike. She's uniquely masterful at navigating otherwise-fraught and contentious challenges to provide the best possible outcomes for all students while equipping each party with the skills and confidence to leave the conversation proud of themselves and accepting of the outcomes. Her balance of high demand and wildly high support for those she works with and serves is unparalleled and it is an honor to serve kids alongside Becca.

Rachel McKay
Leaders in Learning Science Teacher
Rachel serves a population of students uniquely challenging in both their diversity of needs and disparate personalities... and she serves them well. Every day she arrives with a smile (and, often, baked goods) and contagious assuredness in the capacity of each and every student and staff member to grow and become better every moment. She is an encourager and a challenger, unafraid to speak up when student needs are going unmet and eager to play an active role in finding creative solutions to meet those needs. Further, she is cited daily by students in crisis as their trusted adults - particularly by those she pushes the hardest. Rachel is truly an exemplar of what an educator can and should be.

Kristie Barr
Special Education TOSA
Kristie Barr is the epitome of generosity. Kristie is generous with her time, talent, and skills. She works with and directly supports ALL special education teachers in the district (and other student service staff). Ms. Barr shows commitment to all special education students by supporting families, students, staff and programs from the ground floor up. She can locate lost curriculum, teach teachers, communicate with parents, work with students, and cover important meetings, which in turn, helps to keep our state compliance numbers up. Kristie shares her personal phone number, takes emergency calls, puts IEP ONLINE fires out, and is willing to look up Washington state laws on the spot to ensure high expectations are met regularly. I cannot think of any person more deserving of recognition than Kristie Barr.

Duane Mogg
Maltby Elementary Teacher
There aren't enough words to describe how impactful Mr. Mogg is! Four of my children have been blessed to have him as their teacher and because he is such a flexible teacher with the ability to switch grades, my son had him twice! Mr. Mogg has honestly become like a family member to us. I remember one time my children invited him to one of their weekly Bible Study groups held on zoom and HE CAME!! How cool is that! Even after my youngest transferred schools and no longer had him as a teacher, he still made birthday cards with the class and sent them to us for his birthday! It's things like that, children will remember! He is also a caring, concerned, kindhearted all around awesome guy who always advocates for what is right. He not only does this for students but also for staff, as he is active with the MEA. Our family will forever be grateful for the amazing MR. MOGG!! Thank you for all you do and we truly HONOR you!! Not just today...but ALWAYS!!

Sabrina Shaw, Natasha Zimmers, Shamus Neary
Sky Valley Education Center Environmental Science Teachers
Our ESS teachers worked with our 6th-10th grade ESS students to design and put on an Earth Day Activity Fair, with hands-on stations, activities, and facts for the whole school. It was a huge success! Other teachers stopped what they were doing and brought their classes over to participate, parents got into it, kids loved it...it was awesome! It was also quintessential "old school" Sky Valley, which made me smile. We are getting back to who we are. : )

Shawna Clark
Salem Woods Elementary Teacher
I can't express how much I appreciate the support Shawna has given me the past two year. Although we work at different schools, she is always willing to offer a helping hand, share materials, and let me bounce ideas off of her. She makes me feel as though I am part of a team! THANK YOU SHAWNA!

Lynnette Ervin
Salem Woods Elementary Counselor
Lynnette has always gone above and beyond in all situations. She has been guiding kiddos through elementary and beyond! The kids all look up to her. She provides a safe space for kids to talk to her. She always is trying to encourage the kids to get involved and help out in any way they can. I have had 2 girls go through school with her and I cannot be more grateful for everything she has done. Truly a gift to everyone she is around!

Paola Martinez
Frank Wagner Elementary Teacher
Paola is always advocating for her students and does so much for her families and for her 2nd grade team. She is a great teammate and deserves recognition!

Darcy Slater
Fryelands Elementary Teacher
There are many wonderful teachers at Fryelands Elementary, and I'd like to nominate one who has taught 5/6 of my children. Mrs Slater is the perfect teacher for 5th graders. These burgeoning adolescents want to be treated like teenagers, yet they also want to be babied sometimes, and Mrs. Slater walks that fine line with humor and respect. She also has a "math brain", which I believe inspired both of my daughters who were lucky enough to have her as a teacher into succeeding at math then and continues to inspire them now, with one in 8th-grade math as a 7th grader, and the other taking AP calculus at the high school. Mrs. Slater runs the Math Olympiad extra-curricular program at FRE during non-covid years, and that takes a lot of dedication. In addition to being skilled at teaching math, she somehow managed to turn my son Oliver (a reluctant reader) into a book lover this year. He has begun reading for enjoyment, which is something he has never done before. Mrs. Slater has also convinced him that he can write well, and his writing (both penmanship and content) has vastly improved this year. I honestly don't know how Mrs. Slater is able to teach as much and as effectively as she does, especially with two young children of her own at home and a handful of very difficult children in her class. I think it's truly a gift, and we as families are blessed that she continues to share it. (P.S. My freshman son, who has had ALL GREAT teachers, still lists Mrs. Slater from 5th grade as his favorite.)

Rachael From
Salem Woods Elementary Speech & Language Pathologist
Rachael does a fantastic job collaborating with educators to meet the individual needs of each and every student she comes across. Rachael has shown patience, creativity, and determination in connecting with each student, helping meet their communication needs so they can access their entire education. And her versatility allows her to work with students ranging from Elementary to High School students and from students with low communication needs to high communication needs. Rachael can seemingly do it all!


Deb Henderson
Frank Wagner Elementary Assistant Principal

One thing that I can honestly say about Deb is that she is REAL. Her ability to call things as they are, yet be gentle with the approach is what I admire most about her. Truth be told, we are never going to please everyone but Deb's ability to listen and engage with families on a trauma informed basis is very critical during this time especially. The dedication she has to staff and students at Frank Wagner is unwavering and they are truly blessed to have her. WE APPRECIATE YOU!

Hugo Molina
Frank Wagner Elementary Principal
Thank you, Principal Molina for taking the time to connect with students. Your job is not easy and it comes with a lot of criticism but your ability to focus on student needs and progress truly shows. I personally want to thank you for listening to me, as a parent, and allowing me to work in partnership with you for the success of my students. Witnessing your connecting to students showed just how much you do care and not just for some but for ALL! You are making THE difference and that's what matters!! Estás haciendo un trabajo increíble...tú Molas

Rachel Bleakney-Bailey
Monroe High School Assistant Principal
Thank you for showing Kindness and support and that you ask about how others day is going. Also thank you for all you do


Anita Simonton
District-wide Substitute Teacher

Nomination #1: Anita is, hands down, the best sub around. She is dependable, knowledgeable, and kind. She treats students with respect and compassion. She follows the sub plans that are left for her and leaves teachers relevant feedback. She is a rock star.

Nomination #2: She always has a positive attitude and believes all students can learn. She shows up everyday with a smile and gives her best to students everyday. We are so lucky to have her working within our schools.

Nomination #3: Anita is willing to come back day after day. She has patience and a kind heart for our students. Whenever Anita is in the building, we know our kids are in good hands.