Bellingham Public Schools names Promise Award winners


Bellingham Public Schools leaders and community partners recently honored 19 individuals as 2013 Districtwide Promise Award recipients, according to a press release.

"We want to thank all of the staff members and volunteers being recognized for the valuable work they do every day to support our students," said Superintendent Greg Baker. "These awards represent the collective commitment and promise to our students."

Here's what the release said about the winners:

2013 Districtwide Certificated Staff Member of the Year: Kevin Johnson, social studies and leadership teacher has served in our district and at Sehome High School since January 2001. He is recognized for being a model of great teaching, positive attitude, hard work and leadership.

He is a motivating and creative history teacher, department chair, ASB and Leadership advisor, AVID instructor, co-coordinator of Bring Joy to a Child, master of ceremonies at school assemblies, and the voice of athletic events. He has influenced staff and students alike with his endless energy and enthusiasm.

2013 Districtwide Classified Staff Member of the Year: Laura Davis, has worked for seven years at Fairhaven Middle School and 11 years total in the district. Laura has been likened to the oil in an engine. She is someone you don't always know is helping, but everything would soon stop functioning without her.

As a school registrar, Laura is organized, professional and adaptable, quickly learning the ins and outs of any new program like Skyward or the newly implemented Response to Intervention program in the school. Her excellent communication skills and knowledge-base reassures students, families and staff alike.

2013 Districtwide Team of the Year: Kulshan Middle School Eighth Grade Team - Julie Bennett, Emily Dickinson, Kathy Dooley, Rob Hendricks, Helen Hollister, Behr Ibarra, Pete Lupo, Grace Meloy, Annie Racicot, Kevin Terpstra, Jeff Thran, Tara Vaughn, Ronni Weston and Joe Wooding.

With the understanding that "together we achieve more than alone," this eighth-grade team has taken monumental strides to make the Bellingham Promise a reality this year. Among so many initiatives, this team promoted student voice and leadership by creating a Student Congress; they established an early Wednesday morning "Coffee House" environment for students to access technology, receive extra help and connect with peers and staff.

For students needing incentives to take personal responsibility, they developed a teen-led Kulshan Court and they also implemented extended learning classes to meet the needs of 240-plus students. They have cultivated family partnerships by maintaining an amazing website.

2013 Districtwide Volunteers of the Year: Gene Myers and Mardi Solomon, parents at Columbia Elementary School. Gene's and Mardi's countless hours of volunteer work have had a positive impact on students both at Columbia Elementary and districtwide.

Their work encompasses school grounds enhancements, art projects, school gardens and harvests of the month. Their work is indicative of a whole-child approach to learning, supporting our district staff with innovative health and environmental initiatives.

2013 Leader of the Year: Stephanie Korn, has served as principal at Alderwood Elementary School since 2007. Her leadership is exemplified by the fact that Alderwood is the recipient of the Washington Achievement Award for Overall Excellence in both 2011 and 2012.

In addition, community and family engagement is found throughout the school. Monthly English Language Learner parent nights and the newly revitalized PTA are just two examples of her efforts on this front. Membership to the PTA has tripled from 30 members in spring 2012 to more than 100 members in spring 2013.

The Promise Awards are sponsored by the Bellingham Public School Foundation. Students, staff and community members selected the winners. Leader of the Year nominations are reviewed by colleagues.


The Bellingham Bay Rotary gave local nonprofit Blue Skies for Children $1,000 toward its Little Wishes Program, according to Blue Skies for Children Executive Director Julie Guay.

The program provides support for local homeless, low-income and foster children who need help with school sports fees, school trip fees, summer camp, special needs equipment and music lessons, as well a martial arts, dance and art lessons. The program focuses on raising hope and self-esteem in children who need it most.

Blue Skies raised more than $10,000 at its casino night fundraiser April 19. Sponsors included Trans-Ocean Products Inc., Bramble Berry Inc., The Bellingham Herald, The Little Red Wagon, Intalco-Alcoa, McEvoy Oil, Laserpoint Awards, Barkley & Associates and Gladys Hyatt, CPA.


Industrial Credit Union is helping the Bellingham Bells baseball team recruit bat kids for this summer's games. The first home game is June 12 at Joe Martin Field.

Girls and boys age 11 to 14 can register at any Industrial Credit Union branch. Those selected as bat kids will get their own jersey and spend time with the team in the dugout during the game.


Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods is giving thousands of Breakfast Cookie Minis to Skagit County through its Help Feed 1 Million Kids program, according to a company press release:

Erin Baker, owner and founder, is passionate about teaching children the foundation of proper nutrition and having them experience the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast.

After seeing the success of giving over 100,000 Breakfast Cookie Minis to the Whatcom County Boys & Girls Clubs for the past seven years, Erin wanted to expand her donations to Skagit County Boys & Girls Clubs as well.

"It's simple and powerful at the same time," she said. "A consumer purchases a bag of our Endurance granola and we give a deserving child a breakfast in the form of a nutritious Breakfast Cookie. This allows our customer to partner with us to solve challenges within our communities, which is a beautiful thing."

Erin worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State to determine that Skagit County was the next area in need. Clubs in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley will now be receiving Breakfast Cookie Minis.


Milton From, who teaches at Western Washington University's physics and astronomy department, sent me this report:

Roughly 40 elementary and middle school students from Bellingham were among more than 500 presenters at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair held in Bremerton on April 5-6. Of these students, more than 20 won first prizes or other special awards. A few of the special awards going to Bellingham students were:

- The Gwen Croswaithe Student of the Year award was won by Catherine Michelutti, a sixth-grader from St. Paul's Academy, for the project Aerodynamic E-FISH-IENCY;

- The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Outstanding Interdisciplinary Award went to Henry From, a Larrabee Elementary third-grader, for the project Generating Electricity from My Car's Waste Heat;

- Ohio Wesleyan University Outstanding Achievement in Science Scholarship was awarded to Muhammad Umar Nadeem, a seventh-grader in the Bellingham Highly Capable Learners Program, for the project: Splitting Water to Power Fuel Cells: Phase 2.

The Bellingham Highly Capable Learners program also received an Excellence in Scientific and Engineering School Achievement School Award.


The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association will use its $13,900 award from the Whatcom Community Foundation to support two programs in 2013; the River Stewards Program and an environmental internship program.

According to an association press release, the grant will help conduct outreach and education to more than 2,000 recreational users and visitors to the north fork of the Nooksack River about salmon and their habitat requirements. Funding will support the group's effort to educate people through an outreach booth, rafting presentations, campfire talks, and river walks through the fall of 2013. Additional funds will support an environmental internship program.

Reach JULIE SHIRLEY at or call 715-2261.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service