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Vancouver employees honored with 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 March 2011 recognition. They were honored at the March 22 school board meeting. Pictured left to right are:
• Eric Saueracker, math/science teacher, Hudson's Bay High School
• Christine Barksdale, support specialist, Information Technology Services
• Jan Taylor-Taskey, art teacher, King and Sacajawea elementary schools
• Denise Camacho, special programs clerk, Special Education Student Records

The Excellence Award is given to two to four employees each month. 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 for March . . .

Eric Saueracker
Math/Science Teacher, Hudson’s Bay High School
Hired August 2006
Smart. Dedicated. Responsible. Hilarious. Cool. Eric Saueracker teaches math and physics at Hudson’s Bay High School. He also advises Bay’s National Honor Society (NHS) students. He provides NHS students with information about volunteering opportunities, and also volunteers himself to do his part for the community. This year, NHS has delivered holiday treats to firefighters and police and has collected 500 pounds of food during the Hudson’s Bay food drive. One of Eric’s NHS students writes, “Sometimes, when I’m walking around Bay, I stop by Mr. Saueracker’s room to ask if he needs help, but instead we start talking because he welcomes and encourages all students. He’s very understanding and is supportive of his students because he wants them to succeed in life. Mr. Saueracker has a lot of spirit. He might as well become the head cheerleader and ASB advisor. On spirit days he is always dressed up! The reason why so many students at Bay love Saueracker is because of his all around positive attitude. He’s a generous person who enjoys helping young people discover who they are. With Mr. Saueracker, Bay is a better and brighter place!”

Christine Barksdale
Support Specialist, Information Technology Services
Hired January 2003
Helpful. Flexible. Timely. Accommodating. Chris Barksdale provides desktop technical support for all of the district administrative offices, the maintenance department and Lewis and Clark High School. Chris also is one of the voices on the other end of the helpdesk phone in Information Technology Services. She works with a range of specialized applications, which require a high level of troubleshooting and understanding of how the different technology systems are integrated. In other words, Chris answers calls for help every day, all the time. Most often callers need her help immediately. Computers, printers, laptops, software, network and digital devices often seem prone to stop working when they are needed most. So Chris jumps in, and sticks with it until the issue is resolved, whether it’s fixing the bus routing software at Transportation or a faulty laptop in the board room at the Bates Center for Educational Leadership. Through each emergency, Chris maintains a friendly and professional demeanor—every day, all the time.

Jan Taylor-Taskey, January recipient
Art Teacher, King and Sacajawea elementary schools
Hired November 1975
Dedicated. Talented. Caring. Gifted. Jan Taylor-Taskey teaches art at King and Sacajawea elementary schools. Jan has a deep understanding of children. There is never a time when she isn’t giving everything she has for them. An accomplished artist herself, Jan combines her artistic talent with instructional expertise. She focuses on each student as an individual, building strong relationships with all 700 children at both schools. Jan draws out the best from her students, creating talented young artists. Two student projects were the result of a grant Jan received from the Confluence Project to commemorate the Lewis and Clark bicentennial. The works are the combined efforts of Sacajawea students in which individual pieces were woven together to create lasting works of art now on permanent display at the Jim Parsley Community Center and Sacajawea Elementary School. Jan also uses her combined artistic and teaching skills to lead professional development in arts techniques for her colleagues. Jan’s artistic qualities and her ability to share them with others is a beautiful thing for Vancouver Public Schools.

Denise Camacho
Special Programs Clerk, Special Education Student Records
Hired January 1996
Conscientious. Professional. Energetic. Loyal. Denise Camacho is a special programs clerk for special education student records. Denise maintains the complex and detailed records of special education students. It can be said that Denise is a vital cog in the machinery of paperwork. Between 2,200 and 2,700 active students receive special education services. Denise manages the files of each of these students, ensuring the required papers, forms, and tests are complete and part of the record. The legally required Individual Education Plans are updated every year. Denise fills requests from special education teachers and school psychologists who rely on her to respond in a timely manner. Denise also maintains inactive records, contacting families to see if they want a copy of their students’ records when their child transitions out of special education. Because of Denise’s expertise and attention to detail, thousands of dollars are saved each year as qualified special education students are counted and the district receives funding for them. Hardworking and energetic, Denise is the lifeline in special education records.

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