Kent School District announces Employees of the Year

This week the Kent School District announced their Employees of the Year – congrats to them all!

We selected outstanding Employees of the Year who exemplify the Kent School District mission of successfully preparing all students for their futures. Thank you for going above and beyond to support our students!

They were also honored during our school board meeting on May 22.

2018-19 Employees of the Year:

Irene Aguilar
Office Manager, Daniel Elementary School, Kent Association of Educational Office Professionals (KAEOP)

No job is too big or too small for Ms. Aguilar. She goes above and beyond to support students and makes sure they see role models in the community. When Daniel hosted a Multicultural Night last year, she arranged for Ms. Claudia Kauffman, the first Native American woman ever elected to the Washington State Senate, to come share stories about her culture and her personal journey. Students, staff, and families say they are lucky to have her at Daniel.

Elisa Aguayo Munoz
Student Achievement Specialist, Kent-Meridian High School, Central Office and School Based Non-Administrative/Non-Supervisory Staff (Non-Rep)

Elisa demonstrates her passion for college and career readiness every day. She turns obstacles into opportunities to serve students better and she doesn’t take no for an answer. She creates plans for students who need extra support and develops connections with our college access partners to make sure all students have an advocate in their corner.

Carol Cleveland
Principal, iGrad Academy, Kent Principals Association (KPA)

No matter how busy her schedule, Principal Cleveland makes time to meet with students, find out how they’re doing, what their future plans are, and how she can help them prepare for their futures. She shows students how to appropriately respond to the challenges they face in their daily lives and how to give back. She celebrates students’ victories and works to make a difference in their lives.

Dustin Foster
Track and Field Coach, Mattson Middle School, Coaches

Dustin helps students beyond the field, he sets high expectations and supports student athletes in reaching those expectations. He’s committed to his students and makes sure he helps them prepare for their futures.

Laura Guevara-Contreras
Cook Manager, Millennium Elementary School, Nutrition Services (KSFSA)

Laura has a positive, caring attitude and always helps others. She is involved with many programs at the school and is always willing to help parents, especially when there are language barriers. She also ensures families understand different programs and resources available to them.

Trisha Hurt
Counselor, Emerald Park Elementary, Non-Classroom Certificated Staff (KEA)

Trisha is always there to support students, families, and staff in many ways. She continually has a smile on her face and everyone can see she loves the work she does. Trisha is making a huge difference in the community at our schools and treats every student as if they were her own.

Gary Newsom
Head Custodian, Kentlake High School, AFT

Gary has been on Team KSD for almost 40 years and works to ensure classrooms and facilities are clean, safe, and ready for students to learn. Earlier this year, he worked during the snow days to prepare schools and ensure they were safe and ready for students and staff. Gary is dependable and takes pride in his work, his commitment to the staff, students and community always comes first!

Melissa Olney
Bus Driver, Transportation, Teamsters

Melissa’s cheerful personality and smile make her a pleasure to work with. Earlier this year, her defensive driving skills, quick thinking, and care for her passengers prevented a potentially awful situation when an erratic driver pulled out in front of her bus.

David VanHoomissen
Sixth Grade Teacher and Teacher of the Year, Emerald Park Elementary School, Kent Education Association (KEA)

Mr. VanHoomissen is an exceptional teacher, he really wants what is best for each child. He builds relationships with all of his students and welcomes them into the classroom every morning. He asks his students to learn like champions, work on improving their intelligence and talents, challenge themselves, overcome obstacles, view mistakes as opportunities to learn, believe effort equals success, and revel in their own and each other’s accomplishments.

Susan Whitehall
Central Office Administrator, The Outreach Program (TOP), Central Office Administrators (Non-Rep)

Sue sees potential in every student, no matter what their disability or life circumstances. She looks for ways to help the student see and develop their own potential. She makes anyone who talks with her feel important. Sue is known to use a collaborative, team approach to her leadership and listens to input from others.

Cynthia Wright
Paraeducator, The Outreach Program (TOP), Paraeducators (KAP)

Cindy has a quick sense of humor and has high expectations for her students. She never lets their disabilities tell her what they are capable of. Cindy has a heart of gold. She is always looking for ways she can support students. This year she has lined up multiple guest speakers for students, has served as a mentor to a student with a progressive terminal illness, and has arranged for supplies to be donated for the students’ graduation. Cindy is always willing to jump in and help out.



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