Employee Excellence Award A district recognition program honors employees for their commitment to the students and staff of Vancouver Public Schools. The Excellence Award is given to individual employees who have created a positive, caring and productive school/work environment through exceptional effort, dedication, or performance in their area of responsibility.
Four employees were selected for the April 2013 recognition. They were honored at the April 23 school board meeting. Pictured left to right are:
• Carolyn Sorter, Cafeteria Assistant, Fir Grove/Vista
• Lisa Cortney, Technology Assistant, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Hough Elementary School
• Ixel Olivas, Fitness Teacher, Washington Elementary School
• Katelyn Newman, Learning Support Teacher, Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School
The Excellence Award is given to two to four employees each month during the school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents, and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.
Please nominate! Forms are available by clicking on the link on the right side of this page.
Learn more about the Excellence Award recipients . . .
Cafeteria Assistant, Fir Grove/Vista
Hired September 2001
More than 50 nominations from students, parents, and staff were submitted in support of cafeteria assistant Carolyn Sorter. She was called the Fir Grove/Vista’s matriarch and foundation. Nominators praised not only her culinary skills, but also the way she encourages healthy eating habits and will even accommodate students with special dietary needs. They also commented on her effort to make sure that “no one goes hungry in the building.” However, her most notable trait may be the way she bonds with all the students. As one said, “I think she should stay in this school forever and ever and ever. Kids love Ms. Carolyn.”
Technology Assistant, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Hough Elementary School
Hired October 1996
If you need a smart, technology-driven solution, technology assistant Lisa Cortney is the person to ask at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Hough Elementary. At VSAA, Lisa’s efforts led to the incorporation of electronic overdue notices, which help eliminate paper waste. This year, she worked to streamline the Enrichment attendance process by creating a spreadsheet, obtaining scanners for Advocacy teachers, and adding barcode labels to student ID cards. Lisa also assists with computer labs, VSAA’s Anime Club, and state testing. Her knowledge and quick wit have endeared her to both staff and students, who feel that her work clearly merits this honor.
Fitness Teacher, Washington Elementary School
Hired September 1991
Music and laughter ring throughout the gymnasium at Washington Elementary when fitness teacher Ixel Olivas’ classes are in session. With her ability to connect to kids and knowledge of her discipline, the school’s fitness and dance courses are known as the “cool classes.” Students are motivated to jump, run, dance, and express themselves. Ixel also spearheads large shows for families and the school community. The children are radiant as they perform, and even staff members have been inspired to join the dancing. For being an enthusiastic teacher and instilling a love of physical movement in her students, Ixel is very deserving of this special recognition.
Learning Support Teacher, Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School
Hired September 2009
Anderson Elementary learning support teacher Katelyn Newman has been spotted hand sewing a stuffed animal for a student who didn’t have anyone else to do it. When another student abruptly moved out of state, she put together a care package. No matter what challenges Katelyn’s students face inside or outside of school, she finds a solution. Her efforts also extend to her colleagues, who rely on her for support and seek out her ideas. Katelyn even recently took the initiative to have district behavior experts provide after-school training. Both Anderson and Vancouver Public Schools are fortunate to have a caring, committed teacher of this caliber.