Congratulations to the 2020-21 staff recognition award winners and honorable mentions! We had our staff nominate staff members that they felt were deserving. The awards were Teacher of the Year (we honored a teacher from elementary and secondary), Employee of the Year, Inspirational Staff Member, and Making a Difference, and Rookie of the Year.
ELEMENTARY TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Brittany Kennedy, 5th Grade Teacher
Staff comments: "Brittany excels as a teacher here at CLS. She is an advocate for students, families, and staff members. Brittany dedicates time to the work that she does, is exceptionally organized, and is always reliable. Brittany has been at CLS for over 13 years and has continuously shown her dedication to her students, her work, the school, and the community. Brittany is a voice to listen to when we need ideas and is someone who can be honest about what needs to be done to break down barriers. She is a role model and mentor to many. Brittany is well-deserving of this award."
SECONDARY TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Sophia Loucks, Middle School Culture Teacher
Staff comment: "Sophia is an amazing Culture Teacher, she is full of knowledge, she inspires all, she listens, she cares, she encourages everyone, helpful, she has a wonderful spirit, she has the biggest HEART and loves each and everyone one of her students...AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!!!"
HONORABLE MENTION: David Plastrik, Secondary ELA Teacher
Staff comment: "Students love him, Staff love him, He is a great teacher that yields positive results every year, but especially this year during a Pandemic. He is creative in his instruction and is a trustworthy adult for our CLS students."
HONORABLE MENTION: Elsie Mitchell, Natual Resources CTE, and Secondary Teacher
Staff comments: "Elsie has poured so much time and energy into her classes, the volleyball team, and Lake Leschi. Her enthusiasm is inspirational and motivating."
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR: Kim Ward, Secondary Office Manager
Staff comment: "Kim is an invaluable part of our school. She works tirelessly to make sure that every student, teacher, and the administrator has what they need to be successful. Kim is always there to bring joy to staff and foster a sense of community with birthday celebrations, themed food shares, and so much more. She remains calm and organized, even when there is nearly too much going on to track."
Staff comments: "While this has certainly been a challenging year for all staff members and many members of our team stepped up in so many ways, I think Willie deserves a special mention. In baseball terms, he was our "utility" administrator. Constantly being asked to pivot and assume new responsibilities. He took it all in stride and maintained both professionalism and positivity throughout. Thank you Willie!"
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: La'Ghea Jackson, Secondary Counselor
Staff comments: "La'Ghea makes a difference in the lives of her students each and every day. She has overcome numerous changes each year and has helped support students through the ups and downs of secondary school. La'Ghea maintains a good attitude and looks for the positives, even during challenging times. La'Ghea is a great support system and source of motivation to many. Families and students have gained so much from the work that she has done."
HONORABLE MENTION: Nancy Nelson, Director of CTE and Instructional Technology
Staff comments: "Nancy has moved mountains in the short time that she has been here! Not only does she do a phenomenal job serving the CTE Department and its students but works to support all staff across campus. While Nancy works to achieve goals that she sets for our school she is constantly setting new goals that drive our school in a forward motion to continue to push us to become better and provide more opportunities for our students."
Awards that tied:
INSPIRATIONAL STAFF MEMBER: Kayla Smith, CTE Medical Careers Teacher
Staff comments: "Kayla serves many important roles on campus from running and teaching the medical careers classes to serving every student-athlete on campus as our athletic trainer. For every job Kayla has it is clear that gives 110% to everything she does and her love for our students truly shines."
Staff comments: "Mimi is an amazing cheerleader, mentor, and supporter of all teachers at Chief Leschi. She oversees the math, science, and AVID programs with grace and makes sure that those programs are heading in the right direction. Mimi is a leader and inspires us all to become the best teachers we can be."
HONORABLE MENTION: Felicia Patin, Secondary ELA Teacher
Staff comments: Felicia cares deeply about her work, students, and the climate of the school. She cares about making a lasting meaningful change for students to come.
HONORABLE MENTION: Ahmad Agyapong, Secondary P.E. Teacher
Staff comments: "Ahmad has had so much success this year, personally and professionally. He finished his Master's of Education, coached several sports teams, taught our students full time, and has a new baby! Ahmad always agrees to help whenever asked, whether covering other classes, combining classes, or in other situations, and does so with a positive attitude and a smile. I appreciate Ahmad and CLS is lucky to have him!"
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Samantha Vierra, Kindergarten Teacher
Staff comments: "Sam is growing students. Her classroom is engaged, confidant, busy, on-task, and happy. Students respect themselves, the school, their classmates, and grown-ups. Students know the focus is on their learning. Students are reading. Students are proud of themselves. There are personalities that need care, a knowing look, and that special teacher that is on their side to facilitate taking a breath, a moment, and she's there for them."
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jenifer Leavens, Elementary Dean of Students
Staff comments: "Jenifer eased into Leschi life almost effortlessly. She actively engages in every conversation (adult or student) and seems to put 100% of herself in everything she does. She makes sure to follow up with any concern (even if it's not school-related), and regularly just 'checks-in'. With Jenifer on our team, I feel supported and cared for, and therefore, I am inspired to do more for her. Thank you, Jenifer. You're amazing!"