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2022 Distinguished Educator Winners
The Distinguished Educator is CCSD93’s peer-driven award for which all CCSD93 staff members, regardless of position, are eligible. Colleagues are invited to nominate CCSD93 staff members by submitting thorough evidence of how their nominee demonstrates tremendous consideration for children and excellence in fulfillment of duties, has a positive effect on the school environment, inspires others, and generally goes above and beyond what is expected of their role.
In the 2021-22 school year, CCSD93 received 18 nomination submissions for 15 individuals. Senior leaders judged the submissions against a rubric, and the following five individuals were determined to meet the highest levels of the award’s criteria, being named CCSD93’s 2021-22 Distinguished Educators:
As a result of this designation, each Distinguished Educator will receive the following: recognition at the May 12, 2022 Board of Education; public recognition in CCSD93’s Enews, on its social media accounts, and via press release; a pin of recognition; an email tag graphic; and a Friday afternoon off this school year with building or district administration filling in for them.
You’re invited to view this video of our Distinguished Educators being surprised with their recognition and review the following profiles drawn from the nomination submissions for each winner. CCSD93 is grateful for all that they do each day, and we are so pleased to recognize them as 2021-22 Distinguished Educators!
Jay Stream Middle School head custodian Mel Bautista has been awarded for his excellence and unique ability to connect with students. Mr. Bautista is known for his dependability and trustworthiness in leading the Jay Stream custodial staff to maintain the school as an optimal learning environment for students and staff. He is extremely well organized, ensuring the school’s maintenance needs are addressed prior to becoming problematic and that setup for special events is always accurate. Mr. Bautista tackles unexpected issues that do arise expertly, efficiently and courteously. He communicates his high expectations clearly with his staff and devotes appropriate time to onboard new staff members so that they feel supported and prepared for their duties.
Mr. Bautista contributes to a positive school atmosphere in a manner above and beyond what would typically be expected of a head custodian by forming genuine connections with students. He greets them daily and converses with them in the lunchroom, actively listening and asking questions. When they share upcoming school events they are excited for, Mr. Bautista remembers to follow up and find out how they went. Thanks to his ability to forge relationships, he is able to respectfully guide students to follow school expectations.
As shared in the application written on his behalf, “You can always count on a friendly greeting when you see him, and he is respectful to students and staff alike. His enthusiasm and kindness is absolutely contagious.”
Julie Filice, who works as a paraprofessional in the specialized academic classroom at Heritage Lakes Elementary School, has been awarded for her devotion to meeting the needs of students. As a newcomer to the position in 2020-21, Mrs. Filice took the initiative to dive in and quickly understand the class’s students, including their unique disabilities and behaviors. On a daily basis, she works to ensure the students feel safe and respected, implementing best-practice strategies to successfully support their functional, behavioral and academic growth.
To further foster her students’ education, Mrs. Filice has undergone the rigorous process to become certified as a Registered Behavior Technician. This national accreditation enables her to analyze the behavior of students in her classroom from a research-based lens and help to implement approaches that facilitate improved learning opportunities.
As a colleague, Mrs. Filice is always ready to lend a helping hand, share ideas or provide support. Her impact as an educator was summed up through the Distinguished Educator application submitted on her behalf as follows, “It is tough to come by people like Julie, who is determined to provide her knowledge, wisdom, patience, and selflessness to students every single day. She ensures students start fresh and move forward even on challenging moments and days.”
Cloverdale music teacher Lesley Klappauf has been awarded for fostering a love of music among her students thanks to her own passionate devotion to music. In addition to her day job, Ms. Klappauf has started a drum club at Cloverdale, leads 2nd and 5th grade musicals, serves as a vocal worship leader for two churches, and consistently attends live music performances of all kinds ranging from orchestral to musical to operatic. She improves her teaching skills by participating in optional District-offered professional development, including independent study, LEAD courses, book studies, and earning a CCSD93 Personalized Learning Certificate. She also partakes in 3rd party music teaching professional development classes.
Ms. Klappauf thoroughly incorporates best practices like differentiation and goal setting into her instructional delivery and goes the extra mile for her students. Among her notable recent efforts were collecting donations and distributing hundreds of instrument kits to Cloverdale families during the 2020-21 school year so that students could have authentic instrument performance opportunities while learning remotely, and working to create a standardized process to help facilitate conversations between administrators and families wanting to opt out of music due to religious reasons.
Ms. Klappauf shares her knowledge by participating in a wide range of school and District committees and has played an integral role in the redesigning of the District’s music curriculum.
Her impact as an educator was summed up through the Distinguished Educator application submitted on her behalf as follows, “Ms. Klappauf has the ability to take a music concept and bring it to life in a way that every student in the classroom is engaged and excited about what they are learning.”
Jay Stream Middle School 6th grade English language arts teacher Ann Kolling has been awarded after earning a reputation as a revered and respected teacher who works to connect with and inspire her students, consistently hone her craft, and share her knowledge with colleagues.
Ms. Kolling jumps at the opportunity to help others, positively impacting her school environment and inspiring others to achieve.
Whether by mentoring students during her lunch, aiding students in receiving materials during remote learning, staying late to support students participating in musicals and sporting events, assisting the school with office work, volunteering at vaccine clinics, coaching Unified sports, or serving on countless school and District committees, she demonstrates leadership through her selfless actions.
She meets others with kindness, compassion and loyalty and is always willing to share insights about instruction with colleagues. Her impact as an educator was summed up through one of the Distinguished Educator applications submitted on her behalf as follows, “Her heart is with her students. Ann works with each and every student, meets them exactly where they are and helps them move forward.”
Roy DeShane paraprofessional Kerry Yuen has been awarded for giving her all to enable the school to run smoothly and help students maximize their potential.
The applications written on behalf of Mrs. Yuen highlight her unique ability to identify students' academic and social-emotional needs. She meets them with empathy and kindness, utilizing her mastery of content and curriculum and the appropriate implementation of supports to help students calmly and productively move forward in their educational experience. Employed as an EL paraprofessional to assist English learners, Mrs. Yuen takes on this role and more, pivoting to support classrooms in whatever way is most needed by the school. She stays current with research and best practices, taking optional CCSD93 professional development courses and participating in committee work.
Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Yuen does all of the “little things” to contribute to a positive school environment. She helps to prepare lists of bussed students to enable an orderly arrival and dismissal. She spends any spare moments she has helping to produce copies and other classroom materials or assisting in the school’s Innovation Center. She is known to write notes of encouragement and praise to colleagues and share homemade baked goods, contributing greatly to staff camaraderie. She gives her lunchtime to meet with students in CCSD93’s Mentor program. Mrs. Yuen even dons the costume of Spike, the school mascot, to boost morale and celebrate student achievement. No matter the circumstance, as one of the applications written on her behalf sums it up.
2021 Distinguished Educator WinnersPosted by CCSD93 on 5/7/2021
Due to the remote and hybrid nature of the 2020-21 school year, the Distinguished Educator program was put on hiatius for this school year.
2020 Distinguished Educator WinnersPosted by CCSD93 on 5/8/2020
Congratulations to CCSD93’s inaugural Distinguished Educator Award winners! While all nominees were very deserving, the applications written by the peers of these four individuals stood a step above in meeting the highest levels of the award’s stringent criteria. While each application explored the nominee’s impact on students and their school in great depth, here are just a few highlights. Distinguished Educators are presented in alphabetical order.
Alex Bargamian - Bilingual/EL Teacher, Jay Stream Middle School
The application written for Alex Bargamian highlights that he “exhibits humble and modest leadership across all of his responsibilities, including his role as a bilingual/EL teacher, athletic coach, Tier 3 wraparound facilitator for families, and team member.” Known for his consistency, reliability, and involvement in extracurriculars and activities throughout the school, Alex’s ability to establish rapport with his students and encourage them to explore their talents and abilities “creates a school environment that promotes taking risks, working hard, productively handling failure, and being a team player both on and off the court.” His student-centered approach throughout his interactions with colleagues and students fosters “an inclusive, collaborative, and encouraging school environment.”
Mary Cyr - Speech-Language Pathologist, Western Trails School
The application written for Mary Cyr focuses on her skills as a knowledgeable, compassionate, and empathetic practitioner who “is without a doubt the hardest working educator [the nominators] have ever met. Her dedication to supporting students is contagious and she is a supportive presence in every meeting she attends.” A consummate partner with her school’s teachers, Mary seamlessly “incorporate[s] classroom learning goals, behavior expectations, units of study, and classroom themes into her daily speech lessons with students.” Mary is a flexible and reliable colleague who, in addition to her SST duties, is deeply involved with the school’s PBIS tier celebration committee. The best interests of students are at the heart of everything Mary does.
Shaqir Kelmendi - Head Custodian, Elsie Johnson School
The application written for Shaqir Kelmendi highlights not only his dedication to maintaining the building as an optimal learning environment for all students and staff members but also in contributing positively to the school’s atmosphere through interpersonal skills and connections. “Responsive to all needs, big and small, that come up throughout the building on a day to day basis,” Shaqir works passionately and with dedication to keep Elsie Johnson’s building running smoothly. With students, Shaqir is known as a problem solver who is “always willing to lend a hand to students in need, coming up with creative and fun ways to motivate them through difficult situations.” As a prime example of his dedication to students that goes above and beyond the call of duty, Shaqir goes so far as to connect daily with a student who particularly needs movement breaks and bring him to the lunchroom to assist in cleanup.
Jessica McGill - 1st Grade Teacher, Carol Stream School
The application written for Jessica McGill focuses on her dedication to all students as a collaborative lifelong learner who takes on and shares professional development opportunities throughout her building and with the district. In addition to her team, Jessica works with her school’s Instructional Coach and Innovation Media Specialist, serves on numerous school and district-level committees, has participated in CCSD93’s Independent Study program, has worked with Discovery Education to pilot innovative learning opportunities, regularly is involved with book studies and LEAD courses, teaches at STEM/Innovation Camp, and volunteers to help students at summer programs. This involvement and constant commitment to PD, combined with her organization skills and creativity, enables Jessica to provide “student-centered education by allowing students to make choices, believing in their ability to learn, and making learning fun.” She maintains a pulse on her students’ social and emotional needs, effectively employing best practices to personalize and differentiate instruction and manage student behavior, truly keeping students at the center of all she does.