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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 recognition. They were honored at the March 24 school board meeting. Pictured left to right are:
• Pat Storms, Paraeducator, Hough Elementary School
• Megan Botnen, Teacher/ASB Coordinator/Cheer Coach, Skyview High School
• Karla Schlosser, Administrator, Special Services
• Terry Millard, Head Custodian, Hudson's Bay High School

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. Forms are available on the district website, www.vansd.org.

Learn more about the Excellence Award recipients for March . . .

Pat Storms
Paraeducator/Structured Communication Center, Hough Elementary School
Hired September 2002
Pat Storms has an ability to communicate with students who are uncommunicative. Her students are in the Structured Communication Center at Hough. Many are nonverbal. Many have an autism diagnosis. These students are unable to say what they need or when they need it. They often get frustrated and act out physically by hitting, kicking, or even biting. Pat is a calming influence, and her techniques keep the students and others safe. Pat holds her students to high standards and doesn’t allow their disability to become an excuse for not meeting their goals. Pat helps to provide students with a quality education, and her work has led to increased student achievement. Pat thinks of ways to support her students and makes it her personal mission to make sure they succeed. Last year, one of Pat’s students moved to a private facility in Seattle. Disruptions in schedules and making transitions are especially hard on students with autism. Pat volunteered to help, driving to Seattle to meet with the staff and ensure a smooth transition and successful outcome for her student. Pat consistently provides a high level of attention for all of her students. Pat is amazing.

Megan Botnen
Teacher/ASB Coordinator/Head Cheer Coach, Skyview High School
Hired August 2000
Three students nominated Skyview teacher and cheer coach Megan Botnen for the Excellence Award. The following was taken from their nomination.
Mrs. Botnen is our cheerleading coach and has been for the last three years. She is an amazing woman who puts 100 percent of herself into everything she does. She not only teaches us to be great cheerleaders, but also to be good citizens in our community. She encourages us to follow our dreams and to help others in need. As a coach, Mrs. Botnen pushes us to the limit, knowing we can exceed our own expectations. Her support is not only in cheerleading, but in the classroom as well. She expects a lot of us, which is actually perfect for us, because it helps us grow and become confident, knowing she thinks we can pursue anything. To her, nothing is out of reach. You just work hard and persevere. Having a coach like her has taught us to be proud of who we are and to fight for what we want. We are nominating her for this Excellence Award because we feel she is an amazing, selfless person, and we feel she should be recognized for everything she does. Mrs. Botnen is not only our cheer coach, she is our family.

Karla Schlosser
Administrator, Special Services
Hired October 1977
Most of us know that special people work in Special Education. Karla Schlosser is no exception. She is very special to the colleagues she supervises. For members of Learning Support and the occupational and physical therapists, Karla is a light of hope. She overwhelmingly provides support and encouragement to these employees. Karla responds to their needs, making sure they have the staff, curriculum, materials, and equipment they need to support learning in their programs. She shows respect for their individual expertise and values their opinions and input. Karla is always available, even for sensitive or difficult cases. She is compassionate, rallying around staff to provide encouragement during personal emergencies and crises. She is a tireless advocate for the nine different programs she supervises. Karla sets a positive tone through her leadership. The professional employees that Karla oversees feel appreciated and empowered to deliver innovative and effective services to students. At department meetings, Karla asks each member to share a success story. She wants to hear these stories because she genuinely cares about the impact her colleagues have on children’s lives. And it shows. According to the eight nominations sent in by staff, Karla is the success story.

Terry Millard
Head Custodian, Hudson's Bay High School
Hired April 1990
As head custodian at Hudson’s Bay High School, Terry Millard has a demanding job. With more than 1,400 students and more than 100 staff members, as well as numerous community people using the building every day, it’s difficult to imagine the work Terry has before him. But Terry is a high achiever and goal setter. He sees that Bay is in top shape and that the building shines. He is 100-percent dedicated to his job, taking pride in his duties and his work performance. Terry also is 100-percent dedicated to the people around him. He reaches out to help, stopping his current work to assist others with their needs. Terry is courteous, dependable, reliable, and committed, and he instills these qualities in the students around him. When he was head custodian at King Elementary, Terry made an impact on a young student who would give up his recess to help clean up after lunch. Terry created a sense a pride in the young student and boosted his self worth. Now Terry has that impact on students at Bay. They are learning skills, attitude and pride that will benefit them for a lifetime. Terry leaves a lasting impact on all who work with him.

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