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: 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

    Comments (-1)
  • 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

    Comments (-1)
  • 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

    Comments (-1)
  • 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

    Comments (-1)
  • 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

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Because of You Awards: January 15, 2019

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 1/16/2019 10:30:00 AM

    Katie McEachern

    We would like to recognize Katie McEachern, grades 4/5 Highly Capable teacher at Mark Twain Elementary.

    One scholar shared she learns more because Ms. McEachern makes her feel welcome and lessons are fun. A second scholar said he is getting better grades in reading thanks to Ms. McEachern. Another scholar stated she is very happy and Ms. McEachern helped her love math. Ms. McEachern helps a fourth scholar feel comfortable in class, and she is getting smarter every day. Because of you, these scholars are excited about learning at school.

    McEachern  


    Dianne Harlow

    We would like to recognize Dianne Harlow, fourth grade teacher at Woodmont K-8. 

    A scholar shared Ms. Harlow believes in him, helps him have a fresh start every day, and helps him build confidence. This student used to find reasons not to come to school, but now he wants to learn more from Ms. Harlow. Because of you, a scholar looks forward to going to school EVERY DAY!

    Dianne Harlow


    CJ Green

    We would like to recognize CJ Green, teacher at Federal Way High School.

    One scholar shared Mr. Green welcomed her and made her comfortable and confident as a new student. The student shared Mr. Green checks in on him, talks to him about his future, and works with him to make sure he succeeds. Because of you, these scholars are thriving at school!

    CJ Green


    Diony Victorin

    We would like to recognize Diony Victorin, math teacher at Federal Way High School.

    A student shared Mr. Victorin is very respectful and friendly. Because he makes learning fun, she is proud to have an amazing grade in math. Another scholar shared Mr. Victorin motivates him every day, and now when he takes a test his mind is relaxed. Because of you, these scholars are engaged in math!

     Victorin


    Eric Filler

    We would like to recognize Eric Filler, science teacher at Federal Way Public Academy.

    One student shared Mr. Filler brings out their school’s motto: Dare to be Wise. Also, this student shared that Mr. Filler gives scholars many opportunities to challenge themselves in class. Because of you, a scholar said he will be prepared for the challenges of the IB program and college!  

    Filler

    Comments (-1)
  • Because of You Awards: December 11, 2018

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 12/12/2018 10:20:00 AM

    Donte Green

    We would like to recognize Donte Green, 5th grade teacher at Brigadoon Elementary.

    A scholar shared that Mr. Green taught him to keep trying to play new sports, even if there are obstacles. A different scholar stated Mr. Green made learning new things fun and encourages him to keep getting better. Because of you, scholars enjoy learning, and will never give up on themselves!

     Donte Green


    Oksana Chmil

    We would like to recognize Oksana Chmil, physical education teacher at Lakota Middle School.

    A student shared Ms. Chmil was a really good teacher because she explained everything well and was always positive. Because of you, this student has improved in many subjects including reading, math, and science!

     Oksana


    Sabine Watson

    We would like to recognize Sabine Watson, 4th grade teacher at Lake Grove Elementary.

    One scholar shared Ms. Watson was encouraging, and told her she could do anything if she put her mind to it. The scholar stated if she had a problem, Ms. Watson would help her solve it. Because of you, this scholar knows she can do anything, and she can be herself!

     Sabine


    Cinda Rousseau

    We would like to recognize Cinda Rousseau, 3rd grade teacher at Wildwood Elementary.

    One scholar shared Ms. Rousseau made an impact by being helpful to children. Another scholar said Ms. Rousseau cared about her students, and challenges them. A third scholar shared Ms. Rousseau was helpful, caring and funny. Because of you, these scholars had a great 3rd grade year!

     Cindy


    Amy Rapada

    We would like to recognize Amy Rapada, Assistant Principal at Rainier View Elementary

    A student shared Ms. Rapada cared about all students, and was willing to help in every possible way. She always saw Ms. Rapada helping others with a big smile. The scholar stated last year, Ms. Rapada went above-and-beyond to protect her from bullying. Because of you, this scholar feels safe at school!

    amy rapada

    Comments (-1)
  • Because of You Awards: November 13, 2018

    Posted by Ashley Rickard on 11/14/2018 9:00:00 AM

    Eula McMillian Williams

    We would like to recognize Eula McMillian Williams, 4th grade teacher at Mark Twain Elementary.

    A scholar shared that Ms. McMillian Williams is one of the reasons why Mark Twain is the best school she has ever attended. The sholar believes she is an amazing teacher, and is always positive and motivating. Because of you, scholars are inspired to follow their dreams and won’t let anyone stop them!

     BOY


    Clay Williams

    We would like to recognize Clay Williams, teacher at Lakota Middle School.

    Scholars shared Mr. Williams has pushed them to work hard. One scholar is proud to have earned all A’s in Mr. Williams’ class because of her strong effort. Another sholar shared Mr. Williams has helped her enjoy books and reading. A student stated Mr. Williams taught him to write better. Because of you, these scholars enjoy books and reading!

    BOY

    Comments (-1)