To Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Joe Howard, the beauty of this district boils down to one thing: people.
On Tuesday night, the district presented its annual Going the Extra Mile Awards to 10 district employees, both teachers and support staff. All earned accolades for making a difference in the lives of students and their colleagues.
The nomination superlatives suggested these men and women regularly go above the call; they showcase calm amid chaos and always have a positive attitude. They hold students to the highest standards with encouragement and patience; they capture children’s hearts.
A Taylor Hicks kindergarten teacher, Shelley Soifer, is described by her Principal Kelsey Secor as someone who offers her students a “treasure trove of awesomeness.”
The 10 teachers and staff honored for their accomplishments, and the winners of some $150 worth of prize money and gift certificates, are as follows:
Darryl Allen: A facilities maintenance technician and bus driver. He is heralded for work he did in renovating the boy’s high school gymnasium, described as “nose to the grindstone” individual who “epitomizes making the world a better place.”
Alyson Anderson: A Mile High Middle School seventh-grade science teacher: She is credited for doing more than teaching from text or technology; rather she has taught children the love of playing in the dirt. She has inspired students to grow and nurture their own garden.
Sheryl Blosel: District office, Powerschool administrator: Even in stressful times, Blosel is credited with keeping a smile on her face, and sharing her knowledge so that others can learn and always “goes the extra mile.”
Rachel Cox: A Granite Mountain School sixth-grade math and science teacher: She is credited with an innate ability to make connections with students through engaging technology and real time assessments. She trains her peers in state-of-the-art technology, a true team player who goes “above and beyond to help her students and her colleagues.”
Gracie Farley: an Abia Judd paraprofessional: She is an integral support to teachers in the classroom, assisting with small group instruction and monitoring cafeteria and playground time. She calls all teachers and students by their first names. She “spreads sunshine” wherever she goes. Principal Clark Tenney said, “Kids love Gracie.”
Kathy Herrell: Lincoln Elementary School playground supervisor: She is called the school’s “Yes” lady, always willing to help wherever she is needed. She takes on extra duties without complaint and has a smile for everyone. “Her happiness is contagious.” She is thought of as one of Lincoln’s “gems.”
Sandra Lindberg: Prescott High School speech and language pathologist: She is known as a role model for students, helping stretch children’s imagination. She has a strong rapport with parents; she is both efficient and innovative. She always has a positive and engaging attitude.
Molly Littrell: Mile High Middle School Life Skills teacher: She embodies the school’s mission of giving back, and always works to do what’s best for students. She has been instrumental in the implementation of the “Capturing Kids Hearts” program. She holds her students to high standards as she encourages them to do their best. Principal Mark Goligoski described her as playing a lead role in the school; she is “one of the most respected teacher among her peers.”
Barbara Ouderkirk: Granite Mountain School office clerk: Though she is not a teacher, she is a huge support to teachers. She arrives early, and stays late. She is something of a second mother to students who come to her when they need advice of some comfort in their day. She is “one of a kind.”
Shelley Soifer: A Taylor Hicks kindergarten teacher: Principal Kelsey Secor described her as someone who loves her students and her colleagues, taking an active role in many school committees and involvement in the school PTA. She has an understanding spirit and is a “fierce advocate for children.”
All of these individuals are “why great things happen in PUSD,” Howard said.