Educators cited for excellence

— Educators from nine area school districts gathered Thursday to recognize top teachers and support staff.

The 29th Okanogan County Excellence Banquet honored certified and classified staff members from Brewster, Bridgeport, Methow Valley, Nespelem, Okanogan, Omak, Oroville, Pateros and Tonasket school districts.

Omak High School’s advanced choir provided entertainment.

Presenters, most of whom are administrators, said the recipients go the extra mile for their students. They’re full of grit and genuinely love the children.

Many take on extra duties, go to outside trainings and take the lead in dealing with ever-changing educational standards.

A few of the presenters had taught the recipients, who then went on to college and returned to their home districts.

“He eats lunch with his students every day” as a way of modeling good eating habits, Omak Superintendent Erik Swanson said of honoree Jordan Lesamiz, a physical education and physical fitness program coordinator. “He has revolutionized what PE looks like.”

Virginia Grainger Elementary Principal Dean Radke said elementary school honoree Patrice Caryl “is the definition of a dedicated professional educator.”

“Jeff is an off-the-charts teacher,” Bridgeport Superintendent Scott Sattler said of honoree Jeff Jackson, who teaches social studies, government and history.

Honorees, by district, were:

Brewster – Ellen Dezellem and Estella Martinez.

Bridgeport – Jeff Jackson, Maggie Ochoa and Karen Scheib.

Methow Valley – Barbara Wells and Babette Joslin.

Nespelem – Kaitlyn Reidt and Kim Iverson.

Okanogan – Patrice Caryl and Susan Brown.

Omak – Jordan Lesamiz and Synthia Edwards.

Oroville – Harold Jensen and D.J. Pooler-Rounds.

Pateros – Scotti Wiltse and Susie Bowles.

Tonasket – Kimberly Fitzthum and Sue Johnson.


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