The following employees were selected for the December 2019 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the Dec. 10 school board meeting. Pictured from left:

  • Jaymie Towne, teacher, Marshall Elementary
  • Jennifer Turkington, teacher, Ogden Elementary
  • Levi Harlan, paraeducator, Discovery Middle School
  • Salvador Madrigal, paraeducator/student advocate, Alki Middle School
  • Anne Bowling, teacher, Washington Elementary

The Excellence Award is given to five employees and/or small teams from October to May each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.

This National Board–certified teacher is known as a tech-savvy educator who can use digital tools to deepen her students’ learning, as demonstrated in a recent project where students used their iPads to complete kindness projects. Social-emotional learning also is a strong focus for Anne. A former student described her as “a very kind, generous and overall great teacher. She figures out ways to solve problems and help you when you’re feeling sad.”
Levi’s nominator noted that Levi always is prepared for whatever his day may bring. His smile and calming voice help keep students with communication challenges engaged in the learning environment. Not only do students respond positively to Levi; his co-workers do, too. In return, he offers them consistent support and encouragement. Said his nominator, “It is a joy to serve with Levi.”

Salvador has an innate understanding of how best to support students. He helped develop and teaches a class around behavior expectations. Salvador also gives students who are struggling in the classroom a place where they can complete their work and reflect on improving relationships with others. As a result of Salvador’s influence, their reading and math abilities improve, and they often are able to make a successful return to the classroom.

Jaymie’s colleagues say that she will go to great lengths to prioritize every student’s unique needs. In her structured communication classroom, she works closely with kids to understand and support them. Her professionalism, enthusiasm and consistent ability to bring high energy to her job are inspiring to her colleagues. Said her nominator, “She’s one of the best educators I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.”

Recently, Jennifer kicked off a series of changes that have transformed a student and family’s lives. She reached out to the family before the school year began to get to know the student and prepare to meet their academic and medical needs. She also arranged for transportation and continues to provide regular updates on the student’s progress at school. Never doubt the tremendous impact of an empathetic, proactive teacher!

Congratulations to these staff members! They join the hundreds of VPS employees who have received Excellence Awards since 2007.