The following employees were selected to receive October 2023 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the October 10 school board meeting.
Kelsey Andrewjeski, teacher librarian at Minnehaha Elementary School
Marisol Garcia, FCRC coordinator at McLoughlin Middle School
Hilda Lail, bilingual family & community partnerships coordinator at the Jim Parsley Center
Jackie Sacks, teacher at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
Rainther Sancher, student engagement specialist, Student Welfare and Attendance
Sara Williams, special education teacher at Truman Elementary School
Five employees are recognized between October and June of each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.
In addition to awardees chosen by the peer nomination and Excellence Awards committee voting process, the Board of Directors may recognize recipients who have been nominated by the Superintendent’s Cabinet for demonstrating exceptional leadership and dedication to VPS students and their families.
Kelsey Andrewjeski is an exemplary teacher and librarian who has been part of the Minnehaha Elementary community for 17 years. She is dedicated to our students, creating engaging literacy activities and events and her kindness, passion, and love for reading enrich our students and staff. Her outstanding family engagement events, like the Camp-out with a Good Book! program, are eagerly anticipated, allowing families to create lasting memories with their students at our school. One nominator aptly describes her as “the best,” supporting teachers, nurturing a love for books, and orchestrating remarkable family gatherings.
Marisol Garcia, FCRC coordinator
McLoughlin Middle School
Marisol Garcia, the FCRC coordinator at McLoughlin Middle School, has a profound impact on student life, fostering a sense of belonging. Her commitment to inclusivity is evident through initiatives like International Night, Latin Dance, and Pacific Islander Cultural Night. Marisol actively engages students in these programs, nurturing their confidence as valuable contributors. Her kindness and patience inspire students who eagerly assist her. As one nominator shares, “Marisol enriches Mac with her presence.”
Hilda Lail, bilingual family & community partnerships coordinator
Jim Parsley Center
Hilda Lail, the Bilingual Family and Community Partnerships Coordinator makes a difference in the lives of our families and students. She creates a lasting impact in our VPS community through programs like The Plaze and VPS En Español. Her passion and commitment to families inspires others and is contagious. One nominator shares, “All VPS employees could learn from her what it means to provide for others.” Hilda’s contributions to VPS were recognized by ESD 112 as well, who selected her as Regional Classified School Employee of the Year and by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) who named her Washington State’s Classified School Employee of the Year.
Jackie Sacks, teacher
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
Jackie Sacks is a dedicated educator at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. She has worked at the school since 1998, bringing creativity and professional artistry to her classes in Language Arts, Marketing, and Dance. She has collaborated with renowned artists to enrich her students’ experiences and secured a grant to provide free dance education to VPS elementary students. Her passion for arts education earned her the prestigious 2023 National High School Dance Festival “Outstanding Service Award.” Her students, past and present, proudly witnessed her receive this honor at the recent festival in Pittsburgh. We are privileged to have her as a teacher.
Rainther Sancher, student engagement specialist
Student Welfare and Attendance
Rainther Sancher joined the Student Welfare and Attendance team in 2022 and immediately made an extraordinary impact in his role as a Student Engagement Specialist. Just this year, he has been instrumental in finding opportunities to better connect our diverse communities with resources to help them thrive. A dedicated problem solver, Rainther works tirelessly to identify and remove the barriers that keep our students from learning and reaching their full potential. Families and staff alike take notice of the kindness, empathy and warmth Rainther brings to every conversation. One nominator shares, “[Rainther] is an example of the many unsung heroes in VPS that make students’ lives better.”
Sara Williams, special education teacher
Truman Elementary School
Sara Williams, a SPED Teacher at Truman Elementary, exudes compassion that creates a lasting impression on elementary students. Her infinite patience benefits not only students but colleagues as well. She forges strong connections, providing solace to stressed students. Sara’s creativity assists students with specialized educational needs, simplifying complex concepts. She’s skilled at setting clear goals and communicating them effectively in IEP meetings and she efficiently utilizes resources and serves as a model for implementing new Special Education policies and procedures. Sara empowers others to realize their potential, both as colleagues and students, fostering growth and collaboration.