Excellence In Education Awards
Congratulations STAR and Crystal Apple Award Recipients!
We're proud to join together with the Yakima Schools Foundation, Crystal Apple Committee, and community partners to bring the Excellence in Education Awards! It’s important we honor and show our gratitude to our teachers, staff, and community members for their commitment to education and impacting the lives of our future leaders. We applaud each and every person who works to strengthen public education, create equity, and empower our students to achieve academic and personal success.
Classified STAR Award Recipients
Sandy Collins, Office Manager at A.C. Davis High School
You would be hard pressed to find someone as dedicated and committed to supporting student learning as Sandy. As the office manager at Davis, Sandy’s peers recognize her as going above and beyond in ensuring operations run smoothly, including coordinating sometimes up to 60 periods of classroom coverage. Even with her busy job, Sandy still finds time to connect and support staff in unique ways.
Nicole Rivera, Office Manager at Washington Middle School
As a “go-to” for so many adults, students, and families at Washington Middle School, Nicole provides a level of customer service that leaves everyone with the feeling that they have someone to rely on. Nicole is described by her peers as selfless, positive, a mentor, student-focused and so much more. Nicole embodies school spirit, participating in events, volunteering, and even volunteering to run a student support club where she and students test out Tik Tok hacks. Staff, students, and the community all greatly benefit from Nicole’s hard work.
Yesenia Diaz, Safety and Security Secretary at Central Office
“Yesenia embodies the creed, “Service to others above self.” Yesenia serves as the office manager for our safety and security office. She has been observed fielding hundreds of 911 calls in a calm and efficient manner in times of extreme pressure. Yesenia models the concept that “learning never ends” and consistently is a resource to our staff, students, community, and other agencies. Everyone can rest assured that in an emergency, Yesenia will effectively coordinate and maintain lines of communication to help ensure that situations are resolved promptly.
LeAnn Vetsch, Kitchen Manager at Adams Elementary School
Described as having customer service skills that are truly unmatched, and someone who is nonstop, with energy to spare. LeAnn understands the value of an adequate nutrition plan brings to student learning while balancing making students feel welcome and working closely with staff on a coupon system at Adams to recognize students. She even works with the Salvation Army, where students are able to shop for necessities. LeAnn has also taken on leadership roles to better advocate for staff and students in both the PSE Association and trainings/conferences to continue to make sure Yakima School District stays up to date and in compliance with changes.
Morgan Aparicio, Data Specialist at Adams Elementary School
Morgan has been a true asset in her tenure at YSD. Overseeing 5 different high-stakes tests for the largest elementary school in the District, Morgan approaches her day with a personality and disposition that is to be admired and contributed to Adams Elementary being ranked in the top 1% for its school climate growth numbers. Her administration recognizes her as the “humble, unsung hero for Adams students, who has the full respect of staff, students and [the] administrative team.”
Crystal Apple Award Recipients
- Reward excellence in education in the Yakima Public Schools
- Encourage creative and quality instruction
- Encourage the development of a positive learning environment
- Encourage excellent educators to remain in education as a career
- Provide an incentive for individual initiative on the part of educators
- Contribute in a substantive way to the improvement of education in the Yakima School District.
Kyleen Welch, Math Interventionist at Roosevelt Elementary School
She is nominated by colleague Jennifer Roscher and supported by Principal Nancy Smith and parent Ashley Jaramillo. Jennifer had this to say about Kyleen— “to kick off the school year, Mrs. Welch takes the time to meet individually with each student to discover what is important to them—what grabs their attention—and then she incorporates these connections into her daily lessons. In one particular lesson, Mrs. Welch re-writes math word problems with a student’s name and an interest. This immediately grabs the class’s attention and instantly shows students that she listens and cares.”
Analisa Montemayor, Counselor at Franklin Middle School
She is nominated by colleague Joe Rodriguez and supported by a community member and former student, Jazmin Vargas, and colleague Sherry Anderson. Jazmin had this to say about Analisa— “She made a plan specifically for me to follow every trimester. She would consistently check up on my grades and schedule tutoring for me in the library. I was in disbelief that someone cared so much about my education and receiving the support I desperately needed at the time when I felt alone and had no support”.
Anita "Chris" DeMonbrun, Third Grade Teacher at Gilbert Elementary School
She is nominated by colleague Jeff Chapman, and supported by Principal Stephanie Rosbach and colleague, parent, and community member Crystal Morrill. Stephanie Rosbach had this to say about Mrs. DeMonbrun— “On the first day of school she wore a giant bee costume all day with her students. During remote learning, Mrs. D wore different silly glasses and headbands every day to help make learning fun, even online Mrs. D begins each day with a dance party so students can get their wiggles out and shake off any bad vibes before learning begins.”
Caitlin Lindborg, Instructional Facilitator at Nob Hill Elementary School
She is nominated by colleague Phillip Roberts and supported by Principal Erin Thomas and colleague Lora Dykes. Philip had this to say about Caitlin— “During remote learning, we had yet to make contact with some very elusive students and their families. Caitlin took the initiative to contact a friend of the family who knew a cousin who had a connection with a grandmother who knew of the student’s situation, all the while employing her Spanish skills to make the appropriate contacts. Days later we delivered materials to that student and had her back in attendance as we transitioned to hybrid learning.”
Carl Scott, Math Teacher at A.C. Davis High School
He is nominated by colleague Lynne Greene and supported by colleagues Shawn Borup and Juan Monroy. Rob Tyrell a colleague of Carl had this to say— “As far as being creative, Carl led the charge into new territory by advocating the ‘team taught’ concept where students with special needs learn alongside of regular education peers, a half-and-half model if you will.” Rob pointed out “…after trailing one class, the successful program quickly morphed into a full-time program, benefitting Special Needs kids who were then (and now) able to fully access Algebra and Geometry classes.”
Erin Thomas, Principal at Nob Hill Elementary School
She is nominated by colleague Lora Dykes and supported by colleagues Colleen Kaluzny and Maira Viveros. Lora had this to say about Erin— “Mrs. Thomas develops strong relationships with all of us. She genuinely cares about us and our wellbeing. She supports us, motivates us, and inspires us to always want to do more and to always be the best we can be. The positive climate she has created in our building brings out the best in us, and therefore we can bring out the best in our students. When teachers are at their best, they can really motivate kids to succeed. It all starts at the top. Because of the respect we have for Mrs. Thomas, we feel that we aren’t working under her, but with her.”