2021-22 Staff Recognition Awards

Posted 06/22/2022


Congratulations to our award winners this year!


Elementary Teacher of the Year:

Yvette Duenas, 1st Grade Teacher

Yvette Duenas

Yvette has fully embodied what it means to 'walk in two worlds' with our students. She will always bring kids out to dance with her at Circle, and I have heard her speaking to students in Twulshootseed each day in her classroom. The students respect and look up to her as an amazing role model. On top of that, she has accomplished all of these things while expecting her first child.


Secondary Teacher of the Year:

Leanna Washington, Secondary Math Teacher

Leanna Washington holding her certificate.

Leanna always goes above and beyond. This year alone, she took on the role of AVID coordinator, Math Department Lead AND Data team member. She is always willing to pitch in and support a peer with anything from making copies to helping with emails at home. She works to build relationships with students and truly believes in their ability to succeed. This year she was selected to speak for the 8th grade graduation and has had a big hand in supporting the seniors in some fun events! She is always willing to try things that might be in the best interest of her students and I believe this is what makes her such a powerful teacher. Thank you for all you do, Leanna!


Honorable Mentions:

Jessica Kinne holding certificate.

Jessica Kinne, CTE Education Careers Teacher

Belinda Frederick holding certificate.

Belinda Frederick, SpEd Case Manager/Teacher

Marnie McManus holding certificate.

Marnie McManus, Secondary Math Teacher


Rookie of the Year:

Amy Nygard, Secondary Science Teacher

Amy Nygard holding certificate.

“'Rookie' is not a word I would use to describe Amy! She has shown skills in her classroom well beyond the scope of a first year teacher! She has done so many incredible things, like revamping her curriculum, hatching chickens and ducks and much more. She has made such an impact on our students' learning and will continue to make a difference in the future.


Honorable Mention:

Jessica Keehn holding certificate.

Jessica Keehn, 2nd Grade Teacher


Employee of the Year:

Taleena Ruiz-Black, Para Educator 

Taleena Ruiz-Black holding her certificate.

There is no task Taleena can't do. She covers all grades, assists all teachers, as well as helping with office/admin tasks. She is a second mom to all students, and even some staff. Her work ethic and compassion know no bounds.


Honorable Mention:

Kimberly Ward holding her certificate.

Kimberly Ward, Secondary Office Coordinator 


Inspirational Staff Member:

Christi Cragle-Kindt, Director of Transportation

Christi Cragle Kindt sits at her desk holding her award.

She always meets the needs of her employees in a cheerful manner and displays the heart of Chief Leschi in helping others.”


Honorable Mention:

La'Ghea Jackson holding her certificate.

La’Ghea Jackson, Secondary Counselor

Mimi Lampert holding her certificate.

Mimi Lampert, Instructional Coach


Making a Difference:

John Lee, Para Educator


John has worked so hard this year, and every year, to help support students in their academics. He engages with school events and cultural activities. He shows flexibility and adaptability in all his daily tasks. He helps fill the gaps when needed. He does all this with a smile and a positive attitude.


Honorable Mention:

Sheryl Bartels holding her certificate.

Sheryl Bartels, Para Educator

Shelley Rawley, LAP/Title Para Educator