Highline Schools Foundation honors 2018 Gold Star Award Winners


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The Highline Schools Foundation announced the winners of the 2018 Gold Star Awards at the annual Gold Star Awards BASH at the lovely Beach Park Event Center in Des Moines on March 8, 2018.

District teachers, administrators and community supporters were in attendance, many rooting on their friends and fellow co-workers who were award nominees.

2018 Gold Star Award Winners (pictured from left to right):

  • Outstanding Teacher – Reid Sundblad, Chinook Middle School, Physical Education
  • Outstanding Volunteer – Long Phan, Evergreen High School
  • Outstanding Administrator – Kisa Hendrickson, Chief Engagement & Partnerships Officer
  • Gold Star Rookie Teacher of the Year – Isel Betancourt Sanchez, Madrona Elementary School, Grade 3 – Dual Language
  • Outstanding Classified Staff – Maureen Roe, Parkside Elementary School, Paraeducator (not pictured)
  • Outstanding Alumnus – John Requa, Highline High School, Class of 1985/Screenwriter (not pictured)

The 2018 Highline Schools Foundation Gold Star Award Winners are:

Outstanding Teacher
Reid Sundblad, Chinook Middle School, Physical Education

The Outstanding Teacher award recognizes an individual who demonstrates exemplary work performance, outstanding teaching abilities, and a positive impact on students. The Outstanding Teacher will not only be recognized by the Highline Schools Foundation but will be submitted to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Regional Teacher of the Year competition.

Reid’s nominee uses the following words to describe him, “committed”, “passionate”, “School Dad”, “Mentor”, and “a man of integrity”. Reid approaches his work as a Physical Education Teacher with clear focus to make a difference for students and staff every day. His students thrive in an environment where routines, structures, positive feedback, personal goal setting, and celebration are a part of every class period. In addition to teaching physical education at Chinook, Reid also founded the group “Los Siete” with seven boys. This program has morphed into one designed to promote academic and social accountability. This group has weekly tutoring sessions, monthly “Guys Nights”, quarterly dinner, and philanthropic acts throughout the year.

Outstanding Volunteer
Long Phan, Evergreen High School

The Outstanding Volunteer award recognizes the amazing work that is being done in the district by parents, grandparents, friends, and community members.

Long Phan graduated from Evergreen High School in 2002 and recently founded and runs “Friends of Evergreen” with the sole intention of supporting the staff and students of Evergreen High School. His nominator described him as a “tireless supporter of the newly reunited Evergreen High School. He has volunteered his time to organize an alumni summit, spend time with student leaders to help shape student government, and speak to community groups of the needs of Evergreen. Long embodies Wolverine spirit and wants the present generation of Wolverines to know of the bond we share.”

Outstanding Administrator
Kisa Hendrickson, Chief Engagement & Partnerships Officer

The Outstanding Administrator award recognizes an individual who demonstrates exemplary work performance, outstanding leadership abilities, cooperative spirit, and a positive impact on students who has established an extraordinary record of contributions to supporting Highline Public Schools.

Kisa is described as a “consummate, intelligent, passionate, and visionary educator, change-maker, and a truly powerful advocate for our students.” Her nominator shared, “Kisa collaborates with, centers, inspires, challenges, guides, and connects her staff to their shared work, our various central office departments, and gives us all key insights on how to better connect with and serve schools, students, families, and the community at large. She supports her department to be a truly dynamic and powerful team – and is at the center of developing, informing, and sustaining the structures that support racial equity and innovation in Highline Public Schools.”

Rookie Teacher of the Year
Isel Betancourt Sanchez, Madrona Elementary School, Grade 3 – Dual Language

The Rookie Teacher of the Year award recognizes a teacher in Highline Public Schools with three years or less of total teaching experience in Highline or any other district, and who demonstrates outstanding abilities in their field early in their career.

Isel joined the Madrona staff last year as a long-term sub and became a Spanish teacher in their 3rd-grade dual language program this fall. Words used to describe her included “genuine”, “positive”, “advocate for students”, and “inviting”. Her nominator shared, “Isel challenges her students who are already proficient to push themselves higher while carefully selecting materials to work with small groups of students in order to build their confidence and their language skills. Isel is a very genuine person who has contributed to our school climate. Our third-grade students love being in Ms. Sanchez’s class, the families appreciate her advocacy for their children, and the Madrona staff love the fact that she has brought her talents here.”

Outstanding Classified Staff
Maureen Roe, Parkside Elementary School, Paraeducator

The Outstanding Professional/Classified Staff Member award recognizes an individual who has established an extraordinary record of work performance, outstanding service to Highline Public Schools, and special achievements or contribution to the district.

Maureen wears multiple hats at Parkside Elementary and balances them all eloquently. Her nominator shared, “Maureen is the definition of Highline School’s promise – knowing every student by name, strength and need. She works mostly with our Tier 3 behavior kids and is their support person. However, all students at Parkside know ‘Mrs. Roe’ and will rapidly approach her open arms for a hug anytime they need it. She consistently believes in all our students and verbally expresses her adoration for all our kids. Maureen always goes above and beyond for the kids who truly need her most.”

Outstanding Alumnus
John Requa, Highline High School, Class of 1985/Screenwriter

The Outstanding Alumnus award recognizes an individual who maintains a strong tie with the local community and is a strong supporter of Highline Schools.

John Requa is a 1985 graduate of Highline High School. Classmate Lori Box shared, “John was incredibly funny and smart in high school. I think he probably wrote all of the scripts for the school assemblies. All of us who knew him knew that someday we would see his name in lights. We’re incredibly proud of his accomplishments.”

While John was not able to join us for the Gold Star BASH, he will be at the upcoming Gold Star Fundraising Breakfast.

The Gold Star Award winners will be honored at the Foundation’s annual Gold Star Awards Fundraising Breakfast on April 20, 2018 at Cedarbrook Lodge. The theme this year is “This is Highline”. Together we will celebrate the bold initiatives and leaders that are making a difference in the lives of our students.

The Gold Star Awards Breakfast is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser supporting the exciting, bold work being done to benefit all students in Highline Public Schools. Each year, Highline Schools Foundation invites civic, community and corporate leaders to a lively celebration to benefit Highline’s 20,000 students.

All of the funds raised by Highline Schools Foundation help students and teachers in Highline Public Schools get the resources they need to be successful. The Foundation funds a myriad of needs in Highline—including scholarships, district athletic needs, technology, college and career readiness, early learning initiatives and support for our neediest students and families.

At this year’s breakfast, we will celebrate our Gold Star Award winners, our students and Highline with inspiring examples of how the collective focus of our community can make an enormous and meaningful impact on our students, more than we can imagine as individuals!

For information on registration, please visit www.highlineschoolsfoundation.org.

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