Warsaw Community Schools hosted the 2014-2015 annual welcome back to school and employee of the year recognition program Monday morning in the Warsaw Community High School Performing Arts Center.
While students slept during their last day of summer vacation, teachers and staff members took a moment to reflect upon the importance of the school corporation’s mission and the effect each WCS staff member can have in a student’s life.
Speakers included WCS staff member Lorinda Kline and student Mason Metzger; a welcome from Dr. David Hoffert, superintendent of WCS; an introduction of board members given by WCS Chief Technology Officer Brad Hagg and a few words from WCS School Board President Jennifer Tandy.
At the close of rallying and moving speeches, Wendy Long, director of communications and language programs Dani Barkey, chief accountability officer and David Robertson, chief academics officer presented the announcement and recognition of the employees of the year.
The recipients of the Employee of the Year Awards were Wendy Harges of Harrison Elementary, who was named the 2014 Support Employee of the Year; Brenda Linky, secondary special education coordinator was named the Special Services Employee of the Year; and Betsey Vastbinder of Lakeview Middle School who was named the Teacher of the Year. The three will be featured on billboards throughout the community courtesy of the Warsaw Education Foundation.
Nominees for the support employee of the year included Rebecca Triggs-Denzer, Madison Elementary School librarian; Sherry Fancil, Lakeview Middle School cafeteria manager; Bonnie Fox, Claypool Elementary School kindergarten assistant; Erika Groninger, Washington Elementary School; Wendy Harges, Harrison Elementary School secretary; Geri Heagy, Warsaw Area Career Center registrar; Jil Lowrance, Eisenhower Elementary School instructional assistant; Bertha Mantey, Leesburg Elementary; Miriam Fabiola Nunez, ESC level 1 technician; Mary Jane Prater, transportation department driver and trainer; Kari Rumple, Gateway Education Center administrative assistant; Peggy Sellers, Maintenance administrative assistant; Christine Smith, Warsaw Community High School, administrative assistant; Amy Sutter, Jefferson Elementary School secretary; Julie Turner, Edgewood Middle School receptionist; and Ladeen Zielasko, Lincoln Elementary School instructional assistant.
The 2014 WCS Special Services employee of the year nominees included Amy Grill, Jefferson Elementary School nurse; Brenda Linky, WCHS/WACC secondary special education coordinator; Angie Madeford, Washington Elementary speech/language pathologist; Joni Moore, Edgewood Middle School mental health therapist; Jill Poynter, Gateway Education Center nurse; Jim Thompson, Harrison Elementary mental health therapist; and Laurel Whetstone, Claypool Elementary speech/language pathologist.
Teacher of the year nominees included Jay Bolduc, Madison Elementary music teacher; Sandy Carmichael, WACC FACS instructor; Sharon Gallagher, Lincoln Elementary Title 1 instructor; Daniel Graney, Harrison Elementary, sixth grade teacher; Christopher Hindsley, WCHS french teacher; Valerie Hutton, Washington Elementary kindergarten teacher; Teresa Jordan, Leesburg Elementary sixth grade teacher; Robin Merrick, Eisenhower Elementary music teacher; Sandra Monce, Jefferson Elementary PE teacher; Joseph Peloza, Edgewood, band instructor; Jennifer Phillips, GEC, special education; John Shively, Claypool sixth grade teacher; and Betsey Vastbinder, Lakeview Middle School social studies seventh grade instructor.
The event was closed by an emotional speech provided by WCHS 2014 graduate Vanessa Malagon who described her experience from elementary to high school at Warsaw Community High School. Malagon encouraged teachers to try and make a difference in each of their student’s lives, moving many in the crowd to tears.
The first official student day is today, Aug. 12.