April 2023 Employee Excellence Awards

The following employees were selected to receive April 2023 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the April 11 school board meeting.

  • Stephanie MacDonald, teacher at Fruit Valley Elementary School
  • Stephanie Ortquist, special education paraeducator at Eisenhower Elementary School
  • Kayla Richardson, special education teacher at Ogden Elementary School
  • Kevin Thomas, building operator at Thomas Jefferson Middle School
  • Poonam Vaswani, application specialist, Information Technology Unified Services (ITUS)

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

Fruit Valley Elementary School

Stephanie MacDonald, second-grade teacher at Fruit Valley Elementary SchoolStephanie is an amazing second-grade teacher at Fruit Valley Elementary School. She has a bright, outgoing personality and is an inspiration to others. At the heart of her work are her students, and she develops a strong bond and relationship with each child to support them in their school work and social interactions. Her kind and loving approach helps the children manage any situation. One nominator shares, “My words don’t even start to describe how amazing she really is.”

STEPHANIE ORTQUIST, special education paraeducator
Eisenhower Elementary School

Stephanie Ortquist, SPED paraeducator, Eisenhower Elementary SchoolStephanie is a very important member of the Eisenhower Developmental Skills classroom team. She is always positive and shares so much love with her students. Her extremely gentle, thoughtful and caring approach, creates a very happy classroom space. Besides her commitment to students, Stephanie is supportive of staff members and serves as a helpful mentor, offering her colleagues guidance and support. Her confidence and love for the work are evident in all of her kind words and actions. Thank you, Stephanie.

KAYLA RICHARDSON, special education teacher
Ogden Elementary School

Kayla Richardson, special education teacher, Ogden Elementary SchoolKayla is an incredible asset to special education at Ogden Elementary School. She has a positive impact on students in her class with her calm, steady, and happy presence, even in stressful situations. There is a lot to manage in her classroom of students who have individualized needs, and she does a wonderful job of communicating with parents, to share concerns and celebrate progress. One nominator shares, “Kayla is exactly the kind of teacher we need!”

KEVIN THOMAS, building operator
Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Kevin Thomas, building operator at Jefferson Middle SchoolKevin is a friendly, supportive building operator, who has an amazing attitude and is always ready to help with a smile. No project is too big and he promptly addresses the needs of the building. Kevin also serves as a role model who builds community in the school, and he has a wonderful relationship with students and staff, knowing almost everyone by name. In addition to his duties as a building operator, he serves as a coach for flag football, basketball and track. One nominator shares, “Kevin Thomas is one of the gems of Thomas Jefferson Middle School.”

POONAM VASWANI, application specialist
Information Technology Unified Services (ITUS)

Poonam Vaswani, ITS team member, district officePoonam is an important member of the ITUS team who is committed to excellence in her work. She manages complex, intricate operations with great attention to detail and she approaches the work in a thoughtful, caring way. Besides her skill and accuracy, one nominator shares, “she is a hidden hero,” someone who is humble and gives of herself to serve students without expecting anything in return. She is also a trusted team member, checking in with others and offering a comforting ear. Thank you, Poonam.