Because of You Award

  • Scholars in grades 3–12 have a chance to nominate any Federal Way Public Schools staff member in the district they believe has positively influenced them, their school, and/or their community with the Because of You award.

    The Superintendent’s Scholar Advisory team reviews these nominations, and each month selects recipients to be recognized at a board meeting.

    After reviewing multiple nominations, the following staff members have been selected to receive the Because of You Award to recognize the incredible things they do for our scholars every day, and making a difference in our scholars' lives!

Award Recipients

  • Because of You Awards: February 11, 2020

    Posted by Nicole Soto on 2/12/2020 10:00:00 AM

    We would like to recognize LeAnn Garrett, teacher at Lakota Middle School. 

    She was nominated by a few scholars. One scholar shares that Ms. Garrett challenges and encourages her, is funny, and makes her school day better. Another scholar says Ms. Garrett helped him to reach higher levels in reading. One scholar shares Ms. Garrett challenges her and shows kindness. Another states that Ms. Garrett is understanding and helps her make good choices. Because of you, these scholars say they feel encouraged, challenged and cared for, and they enjoy going to school!

    Photo of LeAnn Garrett


    We would like to recognize Susan Clark, teacher at Federal Way High School.

    She was nominated by a scholar who shares that Ms. Clark is always there to encourage her and make her feel better. She expresses her appreciation that Ms. Clark genuinely cares and wants her to succeed. Because of you, this scholar says she enjoys going to school and is motivated to never give up, no matter what obstacle she faces! 

    Photo of Susan Clark


    We would like to recognize Kristi Kinzner teacher at Kilo Middle School.

    She was nominated by a scholar who shares Ms. Kinzner positively impacted him and made sure he was giving his best in every class. He expresses appreciation for her challenging him, which resulted in him improving in reading. Because of you, this sholar says he has achieved every goal in his classes, and always gives his best!

    Photo of Kristi Kinzner


    We would like to recognize Guy Mann, Campus Security Officer at Kilo Middle School.

    He was nominated by a few scholars. One scholar shares that Officer Mann makes him laugh, offers good advice, and pushes him to do better. One scholar shares that Officer Mann was there to support her. Another scholar shares that Officer Mann is always ready to help in any way and is funny and unforgettable. Another says she appreciates that Officer Mann is kind and genuine, and he always remembers her name. Another scholar shares Officer Mann is kind and helped her when she was feeling down. Because of you, all of these scholars say they feel encouraged, empowered, happy and safe!

     Photo of Guy Mann


    We would like to call JoAnne Morganfield, teacher at Valhalla Elementary School.

    She was nominated bya scholar who states he loves being in Ms. Morganfield’s class. He shares Ms. Morganfield does a good job talking him through things. He also said his favorite memory was when Ms. Morganfield gave him the Respect Award. Because of you, this scholar says he has better grades and feels clearer about what he is supposed to do!

    Picture of JoAnn Morganfield


    We would like to recognize Matt Garcia, teacher at Star Lake Elementary School.

    He was nominated by a scholar who shares that Mr. Garcia is organized, caring and a friend who is also kind to her family. She states that Mr. Garcia listens to her, encourages her to grow, and be the best person she can be. Because of you, Isabel says she is inspired to be a singer who performs in front of an audience! 

    Photo of Matt Garcia

     

     

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  • Because of You Awards: January 28, 2020

    Posted by Anthony Carrillo on 1/29/2020 8:00:00 AM

    Carly Markey

    We would like to recognize Carly Markey, teacher at Illahee Middle School.

    She was nominated by a scholar who stated Ms. Markey helped her through tough challenges. She shares that Ms. Markey has genuine interest in her success, and how she makes learning engaging and challenging. Because of you, this scholar says she can get back up from difficult times and keep moving toward her goals!

    because of you


    April O’Brien

    We would like to recognize April O’Brien, teacher at Lakota Middle School.

    She was nominated by a student who shared Ms. O’Brien inspires him to keep trying until he reaches his goal. Another student says Ms. O’Brien makes her want to go to school, and makes it fun. Because of you, these scholars say they love learning!

    because of you


    Alex Mikler

    We would like to recognize Alex Mikler, teacher at TAF@Saghalie.

    She was nominated by a student who stated that Ms. Mikler is one of his favorite teachers ever. He shares Ms. Mikler works hard at everything she does including supporting him at all-day Saturday speech and debate competitions. Because of you, this student feels respected and inspired!

    because of you


    Lisabeth O’Neil

    We would like to recognize Lisabeth O’Neil, teacher at Lake Grove Elementary.

    A scholar shares Ms. O’Neil makes each day better and motivates her to want to go to school. She states Ms. O’Neil is funny, kind and caring. Because of you, she tries her best at school so she can make you proud!

    because of you


    Jessica Lee

    We would like to recognize Jessica Lee, teacher at Todd Beamer High School.

    A scholar shared that Ms. Lee makes him smile and laugh every time he is in her class. He expresses appreciation for how she helps him learn no matter what mood he is in. Because of you, he enjoys going to math class!

    because of you


    Kara Sandelin

    We would like to recognize Kara Sandelin, teacher at Woodmont K-8, forward to be recognized.

    A student stated that Ms. Sandelin helped her have a great first day at Woodmont, walking her to class and introducing her to other students. She appreciates that Ms. Sandelin always asks how she is doing. Because of you, she says she will have a great year at her new school!

    because of you


    Carly Slaght

    We would like to recognize Carly Slaght, teacher at Sunnycrest Elementary School.

    She was recognized by a scholar who stated Ms. Slaght, her favorite teacher, is kindhearted, funny, nice, awesome and thankful. She shares she appreciates Ms. Slaght has taught her a lot about math, reading and writing and she is excited to learn more. Because of you, she is especially doing great in math!

    because of you


    Michelle Choi

    We would like to recognize Michelle Choi, teacher at Decatur High School.

    She was recognized by a scholar who expressed his appreciation for Ms. Choi’s positive attitude, and how she genuinely cares. Another scholar shared how Ms. Choi is supportive and encouraging and makes him feel positive about his future. Because of you, these scholars say they are aiming higher and looking forward to giving back to the community!

    because of you

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  • Because of You Awards: December 10, 2019

    Posted by Amanda Dassoff on 12/10/2019 8:00:00 AM

    Tiffany Williams

    We would like to recognize Tiffany Williams, counselor at Star Lake Elementary.

    She was nominated by a scholar who stated Ms. Williams helps her to feel happy. One of her favorite memories is doing activities and sharing stories in girls’ group. Another student says Ms. Williams helped her in many ways from conflict-solving to making friends. Because of you, these scholars feel heard, encouraged and cared for at school!

    because of you  


    Connie Dolezal

    We would like to recognize Connie Dolezal, teacher at Adelaide Elementary.

    She was nominated by a scholar who shared Ms. Dolezal helped him grow into a stronger reader. He also expressed appreciation for her help in math, and for making him feel good about himself. Because of you, the student says he can be more successful in middle school, high school and college!

    because of you  


    Kit Rutter

    We would like to recognize Kit Rutter, teacher at Sunnycrest Elementary.

    She was nominated by a student who stated Ms. Rutter teaches math thoroughly, and she makes it fun. He shares his appreciation for her positive outlook and how she made a warm welcome for his family at orientation night. Because of you, this scholar says he is happier going to school each day and looks forward to learning!

     because of you


    Jessica Lex

    We would like to recognize Jessica Lex, teacher at the Employment & Transition Program.

    She was nominated by a scholar who states Ms. Lex helps her do her job. She shares appreciation for Ms. Lex guiding her all the way and teaching her how to do many things. Because of you, this student feels confident and has learned a lot!

     because of you


    Mark Klumpenhower

    We would like to recognize Mark Klumpenhower, teacher at Federal Way Public Academy.

    He was nominated by a student who stated Mr. Klumpenhower always made his day by making class fun, while being serious and helping him learn. He shares he always looked forward to class, and by the end of the year had straight A’s. Because of you, this student says his grades went up dramatically and he has a different view of his educational career!

     because of you

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  • Because of You Awards: November 12, 2019

    Posted by Amanda Dassoff on 11/13/2019 8:00:00 AM

    Caty Saathoff

    We would like to recognize Caty Saathoff, teacher at Illahee Middle School.

    A scholar states Ms. Saathoff is one of the most caring teachers she’s ever had, and geometry class was always the highlight of her day. She shares it was reassuring to know she could always talk to Ms. Saathoff. Because of you, this student says she has managed to overcome many life challenges.

     teacher


    Jason Weichert

    We would like to recognize Jason Weichert, teacher at Olympic View Elementary School.

    He was nominated by a scholar that says Mr. Weichert is approachable and has helped him to overcome the fear of asking for help in class. Because of you, this student states he is confident he is going to be successful, and he does all of his homework every day!

     teacher


    Bert Nelson

    We would like to recognize Bert Nelson, teacher at Meredith Hill Elementary School.

    A student shares Mr. Nelson coordinates traffic at his school no matter what, in every type of weather. He expresses appreciation for Mr. Nelson taking care of students, parents, cars and buses every day, in his words, “for many, many years.” Because of you, this scholar says he feels safe and well cared for!

     teacher


    Amy Nelson

    We would like to recognize Amy Nelson, teacher at Star Lake Elementary School. She was nominated by a scholar that shares Ms. Nelson was kind, always prepared and organized, and made learning fun and enjoyable. She expresses appreciation for Ms. Nelson’s support whenever she needed help with school work, and states Ms. Nelson was a very dedicated person. This student said because of you she feels her school community is a better place!

     teacher


    Angela Heigh

    We would like to recognize Angela Heigh, teacher at Valhalla Elementary School. A scholar shares Ms. Heigh was her kindergarten teacher, and in her words, “my safe place is still with Ms. Heigh.” She states Ms. Heigh was supportive and that she always helped her with school. The scholar says because of you she is smart, safe, kind and productive — and you make her feel loved!

     teacher

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  • Because of You Awards: July 23, 2019

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 7/24/2019 8:00:00 AM

    George Larsen

    We would like to recognize George Larsen, custodian at Lakeland Elementary.

    A scholar shared Mr. Larsen provides a clean environment at Lakeland every day. She said while she wishes to help him, Mr. Larsen stays strong and cleans on his own. Because of you, a scholar shared she appreciates her clean classroom!

    george larsen

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  • Because of You Awards: June 11, 2019

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 6/12/2019

    Brad Smith

    We would like to recognize Brad Smith, counselor at Federal Way High School.

    A scholar shares Mr. Smith has been there for him his whole freshman year. He states when he had sports injuries and was in a wheelchair Mr. Smith gave him the support he needed. Because of you, this student says he was able to overcome obstacles that seemed impossible!

    brad smith


    Bryan Hamilton

    We would like to recognize Bryan Hamilton, teacher and coach at Federal Way High School.

    Nine scholars shared Mr. Hamilton is helpful, kind and caring. They expressed appreciation for how he opens their minds to new perspectives, challenges them to look through multiple lenses and increases their understanding of subject matter. Because of you, these scholars say they enjoy school and feel successful, strong and confident!

    bryan hamilton


    Pamela Jerome

    We would like to recognize Pamela Jerome, teacher at Lake Grove Elementary School.

    A scholar states Ms. Jerome was her fifth-grade teacher at Lake Grove. She states Ms. Jerome always helped her no matter the question. This student shares Ms. Jerome helped her when she was going through a hard time, gave her a safe environment and made her smile. Because of you, a student says she is a smart and strong student-athlete!

    pamela jerome


    Andrew Clark

    We would like to recognize Andrew Clark, teacher at Sacajawea Middle School.

    A student shares Mr. Clark taught him the rules and properties of geometry while having a fun time. He states Mr. Clark’s class was incredibly memorable, and the environment was friendly and awesome. Because of you, this student says he is inspired to become an educator who teaches class while having a good time!

    andrew clark


    Debbie Miller

    We would like to recognize Debbie Miller, teacher at Woodmont K-8.

    In a student's words, “Ms. Miller is a rock star teacher.” The student shares Ms. Miller helps him with math, and her favorite quote, “Ready, set, pickle juice,” always brings a smile to his face. He says because of you, he loves mathematics, has improved in reading, and feels safe, loved and important!

    debbie miller

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  • Because of You Awards: May 14, 2019

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 5/15/2019 12:00:00 PM

    Kylie Bertram

    We would like to recognize Kylie Bertram, science teacher at Federal Way High School.

    Twelve scholars shared Ms. Bertram creates a welcome and fun environment to learn and pushes them to reach their fullest potential. The scholars shared she is a great science teacher who goes the extra mile to help them learn. Because of you, these scholars say they are excited about science!


    kylie bertram

     


     

    Brian Brockmueller

    We would like to recognize Brian Brockmueller, teacher at Panther Lake Elementary.

    One student shared Mr. Brockmueller is really kind. He feels Mr. Brockmueller truly cares about him and shared he even asks about how this student's grandmother is doing. Because of you, this student proudly states he reads well!

    brian brockmueller

     


    Tommy Decker

    We would like to recognize Tommy Decker, teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School.

    In one student's words, “Mr. Decker radiates sunshine and happiness, he lifts the mood in any room he enters.” She expresses appreciation that Mr. Decker is available when she needs help. She has too many favorite memories, so it was a challenge for her to single one out. Because of you, this student feels like she has a second family at school!

    tommy decker


    Liz Amos

    We would like to recognize Liz Amos, teacher at Totem Middle School.

    One student shared Ms. Amos is the best teacher. A second student shared Ms. Amos always has interesting projects to make class fun. Another student shared Ms. Amos has an amazing gift to connect with him. A fourth shared Ms. Amos made her smile when she was having a tough day. Because of you, these scholars say they enjoy school!

    liz amos

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  • Because of You Awards: April 23, 2019

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 4/24/2019 10:00:00 AM

    Stacy Kidd

    We would like to recognize Stacy Kidd, special education teacher at Federal Way Public Academy.

    One scholar shared Ms. Kidd has helped her in many ways, including school and life. She says Ms. Kidd took her under her wing, and her grades have improved because of Ms. Kidd’s weekly tutoring. Because of you, this scholar said she is more successful in school, and feels she is a better person!

    stacy kidd


     

    Catherine Roller

    We would like to recognize Catherine Roller, orchestra teacher at Lakota Middle School.

    A scholar shared Ms. Roller is one of his favorite teachers because she has made school an enjoyable experience for him. He explains Ms. Roller established a connection starting the first day of school, which makes learning in her class fun. Because of you, this scholar said he enjoys being at school!

    catherine roller

    Comments (-1)
  • Because of You Awards: March 12, 2019

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 3/13/2019 11:00:00 AM

    Corey Albrecht

    We would like to recognize Corey Albrecht, science teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School.

    A scholar shared Mr. Albrecht creates a warm and fun environment to learn and pushes his students to reach their fullest potential. A second student shared Mr. Albrecht always finds a way to make the class laugh while teaching one of the hardest courses at school. A third student shared Mr. Albrecht makes class enjoyable while helping him to overcome challenges and succeed in biology. Because of you, these scholars said they are inspired to pursue their career goals in the medical field!

    corey albrecht


    Shawn Roller

    We would like to recognize Shawn Roller, band teacher at Lakota Middle School

    A scholar shared Mr. Roller not only teaches band, but also encourages him to succeed, to go to college and to do great things. This student says he doesn’t have just one favorite educational memory of Mr. Roller because he has done too many great things to count. Because of you, a scholar said he is prepared for life and inspired to do great things!


    shawn roller



    Zachary Liedtke

    We would like to recognize Zachary Liedtke, third grade teacher at Enterprise Elementary.

    A scholar shared Mr. Liedtke is very firm but funny at the same time which motivates her to overcome learning challenges. This student said Mr. Liedtke encourages her to work harder to become an even stronger learner. Because of you, a scholar shares she has become a happier and better learner!

    zachary liedtke

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Because of You Awards: February 26, 2019

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 2/27/2019 10:30:00 AM

    Caitlin Boline

    We would like to recognize Caitlin Boline, principal at Totem Middle School.

    A student said one of her favorite memories is from leadership camp. When the group had to create a play Ms. Boline suggested restorative practices as a theme, and the scholars recreated the “Lean on Me” song. Because of you, a scholar says she is learning how to become a great leader!

    Caitlin Boline


    Jeff Chang

    We would like to recognize Jeff Chang, Band Director at Decatur High School.

    A student shared Mr. Chang has involved the band in many musical and cultural experiences. She said her favorite memory is when Mr. Chang took a group to Central Washington University’s Wind Festival, where they performed with some of the best high school bands in Washington. Because of you, a scholar says her life is enriched with music of high caliber and opportunities to excel!

    Jeff Chang


    Chelsea Vacanti

    We would like to recognize Chelsea Vacanti, teacher at Federal Way High School.

    One student shared Ms. Vacanti helped him learn to like reading. Another student shared Ms. Vacanti helps him want to improve in school. A third student shared Ms. Vacanti never gave up on him, which helped him to succeed in all of his classes. Because of you, these scholars say they are excited about learning at school!

    chelsea vacanti


    Pam Ashe

    We would like to recognize Pam Ashe, teacher at Federal Way High School.

    One student shared his appreciation for Ms. Ashe teaching him life lessons like how to pay bills, rent, and handle money and checks. Another student shared Ms. Ashe creates a great learning environment, and as a result his grades have improved. A third student shared Ms. Ashe is welcoming as well as serious, and she feels respected. Because of you, these scholars say they are thriving at school!

    pam ashe


    Ryan McKenna

    We would like to recognize Ryan McKenna, Security Officer at Federal Way High School.

    A scholar shared when she first arrived at Federal Way High School, she didn’t know anyone. Mr. McKenna helped her to feel welcomed, and now she is glad she gets to talks to him every day, about anything. Because of you, this student says she feels safe and cared about at school!

    Ryan McKenna


    Will Smith

    We would like to recognize Will Smith, AFJROTC Instructor at Federal Way High School.

    A scholar shared Sgt. Smith is very dedicated, and takes time out of his day to give the class many opportunities to learn and grow. She states that Sgt. Smith has taught them to be good leaders and to have discipline. This scholar appreciates that Sgt. Smith gives the class a place to laugh and a family to love. Because of you, a student says she has found a place to belong!

    Will Smith

     

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