The announcements came as a surprise, and each one was filled with emotion ranging from tears and cheers, to standing ovations and hugs.
The Olympia School District recently announced this year’s Classified School Employees of the Year.
- Michell Orwig (top photo), paraeducator at Garfield Elementary School. She has worked as a paraeducator at Garfield Elementary since 2005.
- Carolyn Poage (center photo), head custodian at Olympia High School. She has worked in the Olympia School District since 2003. In those 14 years, she has been a substitute custodian, a swing custodian, and a Head Custodian.
- Marilyn Dye (bottom photo), delivery driver with Child Nutrition Services. She has worked for the Olympia School District since 1990, when she was hired as a bus driver. In the 2008-09 school year, she held some temporary positions as custodial, grounds (warehouse distribution) and mail delivery in between her bus driving. In 2009, she became the food service delivery driver and has held that role ever since.
All three will be honored at a special recognition ceremony during the November 20, 2017 Olympia School Board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA), 2400 15th Ave. S.E., Olympia.
The award recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration.
In September, the Olympia School District opened nominations for Classified School Employee of the Year. The district invited staff, students, parents and community members to submit nominations.
The district received nearly 40 nominations from throughout the district. A screening committee made up of OSD employees and community members reviewed the submissions and recommended the three names to Superintendent Patrick Murphy.
Murphy, School Board President Eileen Thomson, and school leaders announced the winners and presented them with flowers during impromptu staff meetings.
Classified School Employee of the Year is an annual statewide awards program through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It begins with local nominations from school districts throughout Washington. Those individuals have a chance of then being named a regional Classified School Employee of the Year, which allows them to advance to the state competition.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction recognizes the regional finalists and announces the state Classified School Employee of the Year at the annual spring award ceremony at the Old Capitol Building in Olympia.
The state award winner and regional finalists are invited to several annual recognition events including the Governor’s Reception for Exceptional Educators.