Des Moines Elementary School
23801 16th Avenue South Des Moines, WA 98198

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Thanking our Amazing Education Support Professionals

Thanking our Amazing Education Support Professionals

Education Support Professionals Week is March 11-15, and we're shining a light on the backbone of Highline—our support staff. We want to celebrate and thank all our paraeducators, custodians, bus drivers and monitors, nutrition services staff, office staff, interpreters, school nurses, facilities and grounds crews, maintenance and operations staff, recess monitors, technology staff, and safety and security staff for all their hard work and impact they have on our students and schools.

We're also excited to highlight nominees for Outstanding Support Staff in this year's Gold Star Awards. This Gold Star Award, given by the Highline Schools Foundation, recognizes those who've gone above and beyond. Check out the nominated staff below and join us in celebrating their outstanding contributions. 

Support Staff Gold Star Nominees

Brandi Schnell, Evergreen High School, Paraeducator

Brandi Schnell, Evergreen High School, Paraeducator

“Brandi is a fierce advocate for equity. She recognizes when there are inconsistencies in consequences for general education and special education and advocates to keep our students on campus so they don't miss educational opportunities.” - Chris Reynaga, Teacher 


Lisa Lay, Hilltop Elementary, Office Manager 


“In the hectic elementary school front office, Lisa remains a calm presence managing countless responsibilities simultaneously. She builds rapport with staff, students and families, taking time to listen and empathize. Lisa's influence shows through the enrichment, engagement, and empowerment felt by the entire school community.” - Corbin Busby, Principal 

Rebecca Schriener McMicken Heights Office Assistant

Rebecca Schreiner, McMicken Heights Elementary, Office Assistant 

“Becky is phenomenal at supporting our new families when they are joining the McMicken community, helping set them up for success. Her kind words support families, returning and new, to feel comfortable and safe from first glance, and then continues to grow and develop strong partnerships through collaboration.” - Nancy Shi, Instructional Coach

Amanda Gean Bow Lake Para

Amanda Gean, Bow Lake Elementary, Paraeducator 

“Amanda knows all of our kids' names and special qualities, such as their strengths, their  challenges, and their interests. She gets to know them on a mentor-student level. She is motivated and inspired in her work and takes her job very personally and seriously. She cares deeply about the students and the future students of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (D/HH) program.” - Kaitlyn Rogers, Teacher

Audris Pettit Bow Lake Elementary Paraeducator

Audris Pettit, Bow Lake Elementary, Paraeducator

“Audris cares deeply for each student as a whole person. She keeps track of the details for what each student needs and is meticulous in making sure they are cared for. Audris never doubts that students are able to continue learning and pushes them to grow academically, emotionally, and socially.” - Jessie Wittekind, Teacher

Amlesset Legese Early Learning

Amleset Legesse, Central Office, Early Learning Liaison

“Amleset engages with our families as if they were her own. She has an innate ability to connect and provide a pathway for access to those who need it most. She is a staunch advocate for students and is relentless at pursuing their needs.” - Jana Parker, Executive Director of Teaching, Learning and Leadership 

Birdie Rocha McMicken Heights Family Liaison

Birdie Rocha, McMicken Heights Elementary, Family Engagement Liaison & Bilingual Paraeducator

“Birdie works to ensure that students have the tools they need to be successful at school, and that parents know how they can support them at home. She makes all students and families feel like they belong and are appreciated, which leads to a reduction in the barriers to their learning and growth. They feel safe reaching out to her for support, and it's because of her ability to create long-lasting and reliable relationships with our community.” - Nancy Shi, Instructional Coach 

Brandy Nelli - Gregory Heights Para

Brandy Nelli, Gregory Heights Elementary, Paraeducator

Ms. Brandy is amazing at always looking for extra ways to help in the classroom. She supports [our students] with positive reinforcement during work time, handing out our "PAW Prides" and complimenting students who are focusing. She is also another caring adult in the room that students who need a little extra attention can seek out. - Tory Walker, Teacher 

Charleisha Cox McMicken Heights Office Manager

Charleisha Cox, McMicken Heights Elementary, Office Manager

“Charleisha truly wants our staff and our students to be as successful as they can be, and will do whatever she can to make sure that it happens. She is often the first point of contact for many families. She is always calm and respectful, making families feel heard in whatever their situation may be at that time.” - Wesley Smith, Teacher

Christy Birch Bow Lake Para

Christy Birch, Bow Lake Elementary, Paraeducator

“Christy has our student’s best interests at heart. She is a huge asset to our school, going well beyond what is asked of her—solving problems, assisting staff, helping the kids. Christy makes coming to school a safe place for families and students.” - Christine Cass, Cafeteria Cashier

Christofer Rothrock Midway Student Success Coach

Christofer Rothrock, Midway Elementary, Student Success Coach

“Mr. Rothrock always tells me how awesome my kid is, and how great they think they are doing, despite their many challenges. I can't tell you how welcoming and reassured I have felt by having Mr. Rothrock on staff. He is respected by students and that is because he gives respect.” - Andrea Pardo, Parent

Deloris McConnell Bow Lake

Deloris McConnell, Bow Lake Elementary, Paraeducator

“The students love Deloris and gravitate towards her warm compassionate heart. She works in many capacities as recess monitor, small group teacher and kindergarten helper. She is loved by all who come in her contact. She is…committed, compassionate, hard working employees.” - Tamela DeRosso, Teacher 

Sherri McIntyre Parkside Para

Sherrie McIntyre, Parkside Elementary, Paraeducator

“Sherrie knows her staff and students by name, strength and need. She shows up daily with a smile and is ready to serve. She is a team player and Parkside is fortunate to have such a conscientious educator.” - Tamela DeRosso, Teacher 

teresa christensen with student

Teresa Christensen, Parkside Elementary, Paraeducator

Teresa is a positive light to the students she serves. She is calm and patient with their needs and treats these children just like her own children. Teresa shows up everyday with a smile on her face, a kind word to share and makes sure these children get the best education they can.” - Tamela DeRosso, Teacher 

Denise Dagley Bow Lake Office Manager

Denise Dagley, Bow Lake Elementary, Office Manager

Denise is a golden asset to Highline and is an amazing office manager. She believes that all students are expected to learn and grow. All students should demonstrate high achievement, character, and teamwork in our diverse community and she holds our students and staff to that standard.” - Christy Birch, Office Assistant

Bilingual paraeducator talks on the school phone.

Denise Avitia, Cedarhurst Elementary, Bilingual Paraeducator

“Denise goes above and beyond to connect with students. She checks in with them throughout the hallways, in class, during recess, before and after school, during transition times and at home to build relationships and make sure they know she cares. She also has an uncanny ability to make people feel comfortable being just who they are and is able to help solve problems and understand situations deeply.” - Carissa Bedell, Specialist 

Renee Stanton Bow Lake Registrar

Renee Stanton, Bow Lake Elementary, Registrar

Renee is new to the position of registrar but she has taken on this role as if she has done it forever, welcoming families and guests to our school. She makes all feel welcome and comfortable. Renee is always happy to help any and all throughout the building including families, teachers and other staff.” - Christy Birch, Office Assistant

Eduwiges Prieto, Madrona Elementary, Office Manager

Eduwiges Prieto, Madrona Elementary, Office Manager

“Eduwiges is an exceptional colleague, always striving to ensure that everyone who walks through the doors at Madrona is acknowledged and greeted warmly. She carries out her duties with grace, maintaining the expectation of delivering top-tier customer service to all new families, as well as current staff and families.” - Claudia Magana Del Toro, Office Manager

Elizabeth Mijal North Hill Elementary Para

Elizabeth Mijal, North Hill Elementary, Paraeducator

“Ms. Elizabeth takes time to know the children that she comes across and is always smiling. She is compassionate, open minded and a team leader.” - Elsie Kalebu, Paraeducator 

Komiko Lozan North Hill Para

Kimiko Lozan, North Hill Elementary, Paraeducator

Ms. Lozan works with students at different grade levels and supports them to achieve both academically and socially. She is a team player, with good communication skills and is willing to share her bank of knowledge with everyone.” - Elsie Kalebu, Paraeducator 

Fawn Rinker- Midway Elementary Office Manager

Fawn Rinker, Midway Elementary, Office Manager

“I feel our office at Midway is one of the biggest strengths at our school. No matter how challenging the day, Fawn is kind, welcoming, and willing to answer questions and concerns in a timely manner. She lovingly welcomes and knows all students, staff members, and families at Midway by name and a smile. She supports our families by answering their questions and concerns in a timely and kind manner.” - Stephen Dziadosz, Teacher 

Isabel Leveron Chinook Middle School Custodian

Isabel Leveron, Chinook Middle School, Custodian

“Isabel works hard every day and night to keep our building clean. On sunny days, you can see her cleaning windows to make sure the sun shines through. She takes great pride in her work and really makes sure classrooms, offices, and hallways are clean. She notices and pays attention to the small things, which make a big impact on our school community.” - Taylor Blue, Assistant Principal 

Jocee Whisner PSSC

Jocee Whisner, Puget Sound Skills Center, Finance Tech

“Jocee goes above and beyond to make sure all students and teachers get exactly what they need. No matter how complicated the paperwork or the process, she remains committed and works tirelessly. She is also always there for students. Students know they can come in and ask for anything and Jocee will drop what she is doing to support them. Students come into the office just to see her and talk about their lives.” - Anna Mora, Teacher 

Jaimee Shaug Tyee Attendance Specialist

Jaimee Shaug, Tyee High School, Attendance Specialist

“Jaimee goes well above and beyond.  She clearly loves the students at Tyee and works hard to help all of them have a positive experience there.” - Stephanie Knox Nichols, Alumni 

Taresa Herrman Office Manager PSSC

Taresa Herrmann, Puget Sound Skills Center, Office Assistant

“Taresa creates a feeling of peace and comfort for all who enter and is always happy to stop anything she is doing to help. Whether it's a parent or student, everyone's needs are important to her. She knows our students as her own. She is the epitome of a growth mindset and knows that our students' needs and strengths are ever changing.”  - Anna Mora, Teacher 

Susan Hope Evergreen Office Manager

Susan Hope, Evergreen High School, Office Manager

Susan not only knows every single student by name, strength and need, she goes well beyond our Highline Promise and makes sure that every student feels seen, loved and respected. She also goes above and beyond for the staff. Susan is an incredible problem solver when issues come up, and she does it all with immense empathy and compassion.” - Stephanie Kuborssy, Teacher

Scott Villa McMicken Heights Para

Scott Villa, McMicken Heights Elementary, Bilingual Paraeducator

“Scott values student growth and independence and works to do all he can to be a positive role model. He advocates for student needs, whether it be socially, behaviorally, or academically. He partners with families to ensure that they feel supported, and is always welcoming students and staff to our school with a kind smile.” - Nancy Shi, Instructional Coach

Jeri Rickard North Hill Elementary Librarian Assistant

Jeri Rickard, North Hill Elementary, Librarian Assistant

“Jeri takes her time to greet and chat with students to make them feel included and part of the North Hill community. She has made it her mission to know all students by name, strength and need and has a constant desire to put a smile on a student’s face.” - Cathy Reinsel Torres, Teacher

Nicole Arguello Pacific Middle School Attendance Specialist

Nicole Arguello, Pacific Middle School, Attendance Specialist

“Ms. Arguello promotes educational equity by removing barriers for students to get to school and to classes. She holds all of our students to high expectations and makes sure our students know that they are capable of being successful. While Nicole is making connections with our students she takes the time to learn about them and help them to see the strength they possess. Nicole then helps the young people lean into their strengths.” - Kathy Onorati, Dean of Students