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Dysart Hero Awards 2019-2020

The Dysart Unified School District annually names staff members as Heroes to recognize outstanding service to the district and community. This year 54 extraordinary staff members received the honor of being named a Dysart Hero, after being selected through a peer nomination process. Below is a welcome from Dr. Kellis, photos of our recipients, and excerpts from their nomination letters.

he·ro /hirō/. Noun. hero; plural noun: heroes; 1. a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. 2. YOU!

What an incredible year this has been! Who would have ever guessed when we started in August, that it would be any different in April and May. And yet, 2020 will be the year remembered for decades or more as the year the world closed. Dysart was closed, but not closed, because of our Dysart Heroes. You stand out among your peers, who nominated you, as an extraordinary person. It is no doubt that you, who was selected for this award months ago, continue to be extraordinary during this Coronavirus emergency crisis. You represent many other employees just like you. But, YOU are celebrated as a person who is admired and idealized for your courage, outstanding achievements, and your noble qualities. You are very special indeed!

I wish you the very best in the years ahead of you here at Dysart. Thank you for being extraordinary and for providing an extraordinary experience for others. We are so fortunate and privileged to work with you here.

Quinn R. Kellis, Ed.D., Superintedent

Mary Anne Joy, ESS Teacher at Asante

Mrs. Joy is my son’s ESS teacher and I have watched their relationship and his transformation flourish this school year. My son looks forward to school and seeing her. Our lives are blessed because of Mrs. Joy, as are all the lives she touches everyday. She is the most deserving person for the Dysart Hero Award. Mary Anne Joy is an amazing educator and dedicated community member at Asante. She advocates for students, shares her knowledge with co-workers, volunteers her time, secures donations for students and has a positive attitude that is infectious. Mary Anne’s respect and love for the students does not stop in her class alone, it radiates across many of the students and grade levels at Asante Preparatory Academy. She consistently checks in with her students but also with many other students and even staff members. She genuinely cares for each student, takes time to get to know each student she comes in contact with, and always shows them respect and love.

Lon Shears, School Aide at Asante

Lon builds relationships with students, spending time with them, and he truly cares about each one whether they are 5 or 13. Lon officially spends time with the students as an aide but he does so much more. He coaches middle school sports nearly year-round and helps our students learn the skills needed for the sports, instilling valuable life lessons along the way. He is always there to help in any way he can and attends PTA and school events. He is an amazing member of our staff, and truly a hero!

Randy Maville, PE Teacher at Ashton Ranch

Coach Maville is an outstanding team leader and a great asset to our campus. He demonstrates great qualities of a physical education teacher and Coach to all our students in each grade level. Coach Maville is caring, helpful and always happy to offer support no matter the situation. He is always going above and beyond to do what is best for students and staff. Coach Maville organizes many events between staff and students. The enthusiasm that encourages many of us to participate is prideful. Thank you for being an exceptional person and teaching us all how to be team players.

Christina Banda, Crossing Guard at Ashton Ranch

Christina Banda's hard work and contribution shows the what an amazing person she is. Christina always has a positive tone. Her commitment to Ashton Ranch is tremendous. She holds many positions on our campus. She is a smile and a wave in the mornings to so many community members. Christina takes the time to learn who all students are on campus. She really sees each and every student as one of her own. You can see how dedicated she is to Ashton Ranch families. Christina, thank you for caring whole-heartedly.

Michelle Boehlert, 1st Grade Teacher at Canyon Ridge

Michelle has impacted the lives of our students for two decades. She makes a positive impact on her students - encouraging them to grow as learners and positive members of the school community. She lights up the hallway with her contagious laugh and smile. Her enthusiasm for teaching and her love for the students are the two things that are immediately evident when you meet her. Every child in her class feels loved and important. She is able to find the best in each of her students and nourish that bit until her students become confident learners. She truly listens to each of them and has an amazing way of communicating with them on their level. She represents the mission of Dysart in her professionalism and dedication to education. She is an asset to her school through her leadership and knowledge. She is a champion for her students and a teacher who instills lasting memories for them. She has a special way of speaking to students. They seem to always be interested in what she has to say. She makes the simplest things seem interesting and fun. She is always willing to help and she is quick to act when there is a need. As a teacher Mrs. Boehlert is engaging and dynamic. She has songs and rhymes to help students learn. The way she reads, and the way she speaks, takes students on an imaginative journey with her. She has been teaching young students for so long that it seems natural for her. It has been said around the school that she is magical! She can make a student's day better with a simple “Mrs. Boehlert hug.” She is tall in stature and wraps the students up and makes them feel safe and loved. She personally impacted my daughters life as she was a shy and quiet Kindergartner that had a hard time opening up. She worked so diligently to improve her confidence. To this day no teacher will ever be superior to Mrs. Boehlert in my daughters eyes. Mrs. Boehlert takes the time to invest in the life of every student in her classroom.

Amy Foote, School Aide at Canyon Ridge

“Mommy, that’s Cinderella!” You know it’s going to be a good day when Cinderella greets you at the crosswalk on the way to school. If you’ve been around Canyon Ridge for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed a tall redhead with a coffee cup waving and welcoming you to campus. That would be the one and only Amy Foote. This outstanding staff member has been part of the Canyon family for over five years. In that time, she has distinguished herself by her dedication to our learners and her ongoing efforts to promote school pride. Amy’s energy is contagious. Everything she does is with a little extra spirit. She comes to work with a smile, ready to meet the day and does her job at nothing less than 100%. She takes pride in her work and refuses to settle for anything less than the best. Amy supports the entire campus. She will stand in where needed, run errands, do tasks as requested, and everything with added flair. Amy knows the majority of our 900+ students by name. She is one of the first to notice if things are off with students and to advocate for those who are less likely to stand up for themselves. She has a unique talent in being able to connect with students of all ages. She brings countless smiles to students and staff as she owns Spirit Days. Her honest perspective and work ethic combined with her sense of humor and knack for finding the fun in any situation make her a great co-worker and a true Dysart Hero!

Alyssa Moon Dyke, Teaching and Learning Specialist at Cimarron Springs

Ms. Moon has always been a valuable member of the Cimarron Springs family, but this year she is making an even bigger impact at our school in her role as our Teaching and Learning Specialist. This is a new position for her and it has been amazing to watch her tackle a new challenge and use her skills and instructional expertise to benefit our staff and students. She has formed trusting relationships with staff members so they are comfortable discussing questions, new ideas, problems, and solutions with her. In addition, she is an extraordinary support to administration with school goals and the facilitation and planning of professional training and our monthly prep connects. Ms. Moon is seen by all of us as a great leader and communicator. She accepts all responsibilities with a smile and determination. Staff and students know she is committed to Cimarron Springs and for that we are so grateful. The impact she has on so many people each day allows us to grow and challenge ourselves to be better educators and learners.

Mitchell Spindler, Plant Manager at Cimarron Springs

Not only does he do the typical job of handling the opening of the campus on a daily basis, he does so with a smile and a song. He cleans the breezeway and parking lots, sidewalks and gutters, playgrounds and ball courts. He ensures that all is not only presentable to the community, but safe for the students and employees who are on campus all day. Mitch responds to emergencies with calm and haste. His disposition alone puts everyone at ease. I have seen him remove scorpions, clean up bio-waste, and assist with emergencies. He puts a smile on all of our faces. He laughs and sings, whistles and smiles as he does his job. It seems like he loves to work for our school. He jokes with the kids and staff as they pass in the courtyard. I admire him for his great attitude and hard work.

Jennifer Smith, 6th Grade Science Teacher at Countryside

Jennifer Smith is a master teacher who embodies the growth mindset. Two years ago, she requested to teach kindergarten. She taught 4th grade for many years at Countryside and wanted to try something new since we had to reduce our fourth grade by one teacher. She jumped right in with much enthusiasm in working with our newest Coyotes. Later in the year, she expressed that she wanted to teach Science. Jennifer took that great enthusiasm and put it to work over the summer looking for Science experiments and digging into the Science curriculum. The result was a lights out teacher with excellent, engaging student science labs that were creative and challenging. When one walks into her classroom during a lab, one sees inquiry, curiosity, excitement, laughter, and a productive student struggle. Jennifer’s smile this year is a mile longer than it was in the past. She also volunteered to start the STEM Club this year so our Coyotes can experience the district STEM competition for the first time. She has been putting in the extra time to make sure our Coyotes are successful with their projects and she participated in the Coyote Character Leadership Camp. Mrs. Smith has been a proud Dysart teacher for 17 years. She is a great role model for our students, our staff, and our community. She is patient, kind, and a very supportive teacher. Countryside is better because we have Jennifer Smith at our campus. She is a true Coyote and will always be a hero in our hearts.

Artis Miller, Administrative Secretary III at Countryside

When you want something done right, you need to go see Artis Miller. She is the queen of assisting teachers with planning field trips, and is meticulous with our budget and financial activities. She makes sure that her principal always stays in compliance with everything finance and has been a key staff member at Countryside for the past 7 years. Over the years, she has taken on more responsibilities and has cross-trained in all areas on campus. She anticipates everything and works tirelessly to make sure everything runs smoothly! She knows where to find answers, knows who to call with questions, and holds staff and students accountable. In planning our Coyote Character Leadership Camp, she made sure all the details were covered, which resulted in an incredible experience for our students. Lastly, Artis is a hard worker and is dedicated to the Countryside Community. She cares about all our students, teachers and staff and is a great listener.

Amanda Gowans, 4th Grade Teacher at Dysart Elementary

Amanda Gowans is an amazing asset of Dysart Elementary School. Ms. Gowans is a phenomenal teacher who encourages her students to do their best in academics and also in life. Ms. Gowans is also the sponsor of the Dysart Elementary Kindness Crew and with her guidance, the students complete special projects for the staff at our school. She serves as a mentor for new staff members, coordinates grading, and she serves as site coordinator for many of our athletic activities. She is always thinking of positive ways to encourage our students and families and make our school and community the best around. With the assistance of the Kindness Crew, Ms. Gowans organizes our Student of the Month assemblies and she has done this for the last several years. This is a HUGE undertaking and she does so with grace and determination. Her leadership with the Kindness Crew has created a group of kids who are committed to making a difference. She is willing to try new things and she is constantly reflecting on her teaching. Ms. Gowans is an incredible co-worker who will help others in whatever way she can. Amanda Gowans is an essential part of our campus and she absolutely deserves to be recognized as a Dysart Hero. Her passion for doing what’s best for kids, teachers and staff members is obvious to everyone who knows her.

Arnold Sanchez, Plant Manager at Dysart Elementary

We have a set of walkies for emergency communication on campus. I happen to have one of the walkies. All day long I hear, “Arnold, we have an emergency clean up in room ____.” Or “Arnold, room ____, needs paper towels or a light bulb replaced.” Or the old, “Arnold, the toilet is flooding in the ____ pod.” Mr. Arnold would always reply with, “Okay then, I’ll get right on that.” We have been blessed with wonderful plant managers at our school. They are always positive, hard-working and willing to lend a helping hand. They have the very important job of keeping the school up and running so the rest of us can do our jobs. Mr. Arnold and his crew have done a great job of doing just that.

Tammy Neese, Reading Interventionist at El Mirage

Tammy Neese personifies the characteristics of a Dysart Hero. Ms. Neese contributes to a positive staff morale by being welcoming and helpful to students, parents, and staff. She celebrates successes and helps others, students and staff alike, improve upon areas where they are struggling. Ms. Neese displays genuine concerns for students, staff, and community through her professionalism and the exemplary execution of her job-related responsibilities. She plans fun and engaging lessons for her students that keep them moving and happy to be in her class. She models for teachers and proactively provides information to those teachers on what she is working on within her class and provides regular updates as to the progress of their shared students. Ms. Neese is a highly valued, collaborative team player. She leads the planning of our week long Read Across America literacy event that is always a well-attended, literacy-rich, and engaging night for students and their families. Ms. Neese displays the characteristics of being a life-long learner by regularly changing up her practice based on the newest research based methods. She recognizes student growth and effort and helps develop those expectations within her students. Her classroom runs like a well-oiled machine that is in place to grow 60+ struggling readers. She truly is in this for the kids, and her concern for the child is always front and center. Tammy is a strong, dedicated, hardworking employee that comes to work to give it her 110% every day. She communicates with us on a regular basis on the progress of our students and collaborates closely with us through our grade level PLC as well. This truly shows what an amazing team player she is and that all she strives for is working with our struggling readers and watching them blossom into fluent readers. Tammy is an asset to our school. She is a team player and has positive rapport with students and staff members. She truly exemplifies all of the characteristics of a Dysart Hero.

Dell Clark, Data Records Technician at El Mirage

Ms Clark has been at ELMES for several years. I have worked with her in the classroom as well as in the front office. She is always kind and helpful for anything you may need help with. During her time in my classroom with me, she carefully took notes while I was teaching to make sure that while she was helping the students, she was using the same process and terminology so as not to confuse them. When Ms. Clark moved to the front office, I was sad to see her leave the classroom. However, I knew that the front office gained a huge asset. In the years she has been in the front office, she has been a calming presence. Her demeanor makes every situation seem less stressful. She is always there to help. Ms. Clark is professional in all she does. She has a way of making everyone feel comfortable whether they are new to our school or even to our community. Those of us who have known her for a while, know we can count on her for help or guidance or even just reassurance

Amber Brink, Teaching and Learning Specialist at Freedom

Amber is truly passionate about seeing students progress and supporting classroom teachers in any way she can. I can’t adequately express in words how valuable this is to me as a classroom teacher and I know my team feels the same! Amber is always available to support us by sharing or creating teaching materials, coaching, modeling lessons, and even making copies for us. She cheerfully steps in when assessing or progress-monitoring assistance is needed. She reads and interprets data with us and then helps us form a best practice game plan to improve as much as possible. She is always ready with a supportive word and checks in regularly just to see how everyone is doing and find out if we need anything. Amber goes out of her way to support and lift up the teachers in our school. Amber is also very careful to recognize and celebrate successes. She makes teachers want to keep going even in difficult situations because she notices, recognizes, and values the work that we are doing. Amber is always ready to help support students as well. She meets with groups of students for remediation. She steps in to cover classrooms and picks up wherever and whatever they are doing without a hitch or a second thought. I can’t overstate it: Amber is ready and willing to do whatever is needed to support and bring about teaching and learning success!

Manuel Nunez, Plant Manager at Freedom

Manny has been with Dysart for 13 years. This year he became Freedom Traditional Academy’s Plant Manager, transferring from Dysart High School. Freedom opened its doors in August of 2019 and Manny had the great task of preparing the school for its first day. He worked tirelessly to ensure that FTA was prepared for the transition and, as always, our staff were supported through the process. Manny attacks each day with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. Regardless of the request, he always responds with “No problem, I’ll be right there”. The moment I realized Manny is a true Dysart Hero was during our Thanksgiving lunch. He was there all day, supporting FTA, greeting parents and ensuring it was an extraordinary experience for our community. I witnessed a truly special moment when I saw Manny buying lunch for a family after the parent realized she left her wallet at home. He did not hesitate to pull out his wallet and pay for their lunch. Later that day, I saw Manny sitting with one of our 5th grade students whose parents could not take the time off to join him for lunch. Manny sat with the student and talked baseball with him so he would not have to eat alone. Another great moment, first grade was walking down the hall in line. Manny was carrying a hand full of supplies when he noticed a student’s shoes untied. Without saying a word, he put his supplies down, tied the first graders' shoes, then collected his things and went about his business.

Alicia McEvoy, 3rd Grade Teacher at Kingswood Elementary

Alicia has taught in the Dysart District more than 15 years, all of them here at Kingswood. She plans purposely for every student, and differentiates to meet all of their needs. Many times, she comes into Kingswood on Sundays to fully prepare for the upcoming week. Next, Alicia McEvoy contributes to positive staff morale. She is always there to lend a helping hand, or giving feedback when asked. One of her strengths is math, and she often provides strategies during PLCs so that all teachers in our grade level can flourish. She undoubtedly displays life-long learning characteristics by always searching for new methods and new technologies that will help every student succeed. She always displays a genuine concern for students, staff, and community. She communicates with families daily and/or weekly to provide information on classroom happenings and upcoming events. Alicia is also quick to contact parents with any concerns that arise, whether behaviorally or educationally. Her rapport with parents goes above and beyond. Above all, Alicia demonstrates a high standard of professionalism in all aspects of her responsibilities.

Alix Nicolosi, Paraprofessional at Kingswood Elementary

Miss Alix is a paraprofessional in one of our ASPIRE classrooms at Kingswood Elementary School. She has been a Dysart School District employee for 5 years and is one of the best and hardest working paraprofessionals I know! Her dedication to the students is outstanding and she is always taking the initiative to improve our student’s learning abilities. To improve her knowledge on how to better serve our students, she takes online classes through the National Center on Deaf Blindness. Miss Alix is multi-talented and goes above and beyond her responsibilities! She is always the first one to volunteer in one of our structured teaching classrooms when they’re short-handed and in need of help. She uses her creativity to design crafts for our letter of the week. She loves to do orientations for paraprofessionals who are new to the school. Miss Alix demonstrates a high standard of professionalism in everything she does. She is a great team player and collaborates with her team outstandingly! She maintains great rapport with parents who then share family details that allow her to better serve the students. With her outgoing, funny and sparkling personality, Miss Alix makes friends with staff and students alike wherever she goes on campus. Students always greet her with a happy “Hi Miss Alix”, hi-fives or hugs in the hallway. With her positive attitude and encouraging words for staff, she contributes to a positive staff morale. She genuinely cares for everyone and is well-known on campus.

Jessica Haug, Data Improvement Specialist at Luke

Jessica Haug is a dynamic teacher, mentor, and leader. As a teacher, Jessica taught across grade levels and content areas with a passion to increase the proficiency of her students through vigorous strategies and activities. She constantly challenges her students to exceed their expectations and soar to success. Jessica is a team player and advocates for the success of every student. Jessica excels at her role as a mentor, providing support for all teachers. She takes a hands-on approach to all tasks by modeling instructional strategies and classroom management techniques. Working one-on-one with mentees, she provides guidance and instruction with developing year-long Scope and Sequence plans, daily lesson plans, and grading practices. As a Data Specialist, Jessica analyzes school-wide data in order to provide appropriate levels of support and professional development for staff. She is always willing to seize opportunities for the better of those of which she is working. Her willingness to take initiative to help families and her co-workers serve our students is commendable. Jessica’s positive attitude is always present through her commitment to excellence through collaboration and diligence.

Annette Jackson, Paraprofessional at Luke

Annette is truly an amazing person to work with and she goes above and beyond to help our kids every single day. Annette is often seen walking briskly through the hallways and assisting all kids on campus with any need they may have. As a resource paraprofessional, Annette jumps in to assist our behavior students with their challenges with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. She goes into the classroom and helps students with their academic needs, bringing smiles to their faces. She has truly made a huge impact on so many of our students' lives in the time she’s been at Luke. Along with making a difference daily on campus, she also incorporates herself into the community and attends all of the sports events - every single one! She also helps out at after-school events, developing connections with students and supporting them in their extracurriculars. She’s such a great role model inside and outside the classroom for our students. Annette deserves this award more than my words can express. She has made such a positive difference in my life and my students’ lives.

Lauren Setola, Kindergarten Teacher at Marley Park

Lauren works hard day in and day out to meet the needs of the students in her classroom. Lauren asked for support regarding a challenging new student in her class and was open to all suggestions and worked hard to meet the needs of the student in her class. As she was faced with this challenge, Lauren did not forget about the other 28 students in her room. Lauren worked hard to create a classroom environment that was open and inviting to all students and learners. The classroom community that has been created with this group of 5 and 6 year olds is something that is astonishing. Although the student is no longer at Marley, Lauren takes time to stay in contact with the family. She has invited the student back multiple times. The culture that Lauren created within her classroom instantly has welcomed back this student. They embrace the student, create cards, and take time to still include the student as if they had never left. Although things were difficult, Lauren faced each challenge with a positive and open attitude. Not only has she taught each one of her students social skills and academics that will impact them for the rest of their education, she has made a lasting impact on a child that struggles. The relationship that Lauren created with this student and family is one that will be everlasting. Lauren is an excellent teacher, and takes time to meet the social emotional needs of her learners as the academic piece that is so very important for our youngest Mavericks.

Sylvia Quinones, Paraprofessional at Marley Park

Sylvia goes above and beyond as a classroom paraprofessional. Sylvia is here each day with a positive attitude and a desire to help each kid. Sylvia is well-trained and offers a skill set that is hard to find. She cares about the kids in her class and takes time to get to know each one. She builds relationships that are strong with the students in her room, she knows the individual needs of each of the kids and is able to support them in any way. Sylvia is a self-starter and seeks professional growth opportunities. Sylvia is a great asset to the Marley Park campus, and has a huge heart! She helps students day in and day out and always does so with a smile on her face! Sylvia ensures that each one of our kiddos receives the extraordinary educational experience that they deserve.

Roxanne Lopez, iExplore Teacher at Mountain View

Roxanne Lopez can be described as an influential teacher and leader who exemplifies this in the work she does for students and teachers and does what it takes to carry out the vision of our school and the overall mission of our school district. Roxanne Lopez is one of the most motivated, dedicated, and committed teachers I have had the opportunity to learn from and now work with. Mrs. Lopez makes learning happen. In her iEXPLORE classes, the level of performance her students attain is inspiring. She has created a classroom environment where her students know success is always possible and that she will do whatever is necessary to see each of them succeed. They know that Mrs. Lopez makes it her most important priority to know them as individuals, know their full potential, and motivate them to rise to it. Mrs. Lopez creates a classroom system that makes it possible for all students to work individually and collaboratively to design, construct, and engineer in her class on a daily basis. All of her students, kindergarten through eighth grade, take pride in their accomplishments and are true believers that they can do anything. Mrs. Lopez communicates with families and has made connections with her families, providing a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment. She is a dedicated team member, and a strong advocate for student success. She is a teacher who supports teachers-in-training. She successfully coaches new to the district/profession teachers by being a model of what clear routines, classroom management, knowledge of students, on-going assessment, and high expectations should look like as well as how it can be accomplished. As a mentor, she helps teachers to successfully use the strategies she has modeled and shared to continue to improve her instruction. Whether she is giving her time in other classrooms, communicating with families, supporting students, or giving her time to her colleagues providing guidance, Mrs. Lopez constantly gives of herself to provide support school wide that only helps make our vision for our school a reality. Mrs. Lopez is a true champion for kids. She is committed to their success and does whatever she can to make sure each of her students leave her classroom as confident, motivated learners. Her leadership as a teacher; her dedication to teaching; her passion and love for education only scrape the surface of what she does every day. Roxanne Lopez is a Champion in Education and I am proud to acknowledge all of the work she does for kids and teachers at Mountain View and the Dysart School District.

Amy Pitard, School Aide at Mountain View

Amy Pitard has shown herself to be a Dysart Hero over many years of service at Mountain View School. Amy demonstrates consistent dedication to our students, community, and staff. Amy helps teach students about our behavioral expectations at lunch and recess, helping our youngest students learn key social skills that will carry them throughout their day. She also serves as a confidant for our middle school students, who often confide in her about situations because she is such a constant, loving, trustworthy presence in their lives. As a coworker, Amy is always flexible, offering to help cover other duties when the school is short-staffed, assisting with organization, lamination, copying, delivering supplies, or even supporting the school health office with a helping hand. Amy is always willing to learn, and truly exemplifies the attitude that “We Are Dysart.” We know that we can always count on Amy to be honest, fair, and compassionate. When supporting our office by working at the front desk, every person who enters is greeted with a smile, a genuine desire to assist them, and the ability to make every person’s day EXTRAORDINARY. We are so blessed to have Amy on our team, because she makes MVS a better place.

Duane Kelso, 8th Grade Teacher at Rancho Gabriela

I was always so impressed with Mr. Kelso’s knowledge of effective pedagogy and I admired his professionalism and positive attitude. His love for teaching was transparent. Five years ago, I had the opportunity of becoming the K-3 Reading Coach at Rancho Gabriela. Although I was not working with Mr. Kelso directly because he had moved to teach 8th grade, I couldn’t help notice the way he was involved in making Rancho Gabriela a positive environment for all the staff and most importantly the students. The character he displayed when walking through the hallways was exemplary and served as an excellent role model for his colleagues as well as the students. Mr. Kelso has played several roles to impact our Rancho family; primary teacher, middle school teacher, football coach, volleyball coach, and PLC lead are just to name a few. When chaperoning a field trip this year, I asked students about their experiences with middle school and the subjects they preferred, their responses spoke volumes and made me proud to know we had a teacher like Mr. Kelso on our campus. The 8th grade students gloated about how Mr. Kelso was their favorite teacher. When I asked why he was their favorite teacher, the students began talking over one another with excitement commenting on his great qualities. They said he always encourages them to do their best, he makes learning fun, he treats all the students with respect, and even though his class can be challenging, he is always there to support them when they need it. The students unanimously agreed that they will miss him when they move onto high school next year and that Mr. Kelso is one of the best parts of their day. It is always a joy to observe in Mr. Kelso’s classroom. It is evident he is always well-planned, makes learning relevant, engaging and purposeful for his students. The environment he has established for his students allows them to feel comfortable to make mistakes as well as learn and grow from each other. In an era where there are so many that talk the talk, it is refreshing to see such an amazing example of a teacher that walks the walk each and every day, not only because he loves what he does but because he knows that everyday makes the difference in his students’ lives.

Heather Maxwell, Data Records Technician at Rancho Gabriela

Heather is someone who provides great customer service. She works hard to please each parent, student, and Rancho staff member. She is pleasant with everyone and has really grown in her position and is doing an excellent job. She is a team player who solves and overcomes problems with professionalism and a smile. She makes a difference by positively supporting several staff members and Rancho’s culture. Recently, Heather had a chance to help another school who was missing their DRT. The principal’s comment after a half a day of help was she was going to keep her. Not a chance. Great Job Heather!

Jeffrey Wiley, Eighth Grade Teacher at Riverview

Mathematics is a subject you either love or hate. Most people find themselves in the latter group. Mr. Wiley is the type of teacher who has the ability to instill a love of math into his students. Upon his arrival at Riverview, so many of his 8th grade students voluntarily share stories of their new found interest in mathematics with me. You can now hear students say things like “I never really liked math, but Mr. Wiley helped me and now I do!” or “I feel good about math, I used to not understand it, but Mr. Wiley is a good teacher-it’s still not my favorite, but at least I get it.” These types of comments are music to an educator’s ear. Mr. Wiley’s passion for math, his commitment to Riverview students, his desire to ensure all his students are successful make him a Dysart Hero.

Patricia Flanagan, Speech Language Pathologist Assistant at Riverview

Many staff members have come and gone, but Ms. Pat has been a constant presence on our campus. I think what amazes me most about her is that she has worked with many different speech leads, ESS teachers, and classroom teachers, and has always adapted with a joyful attitude. Ms. Pat serves my students each year and they enjoy going with her for their time together and look forward to seeing her each day. She makes working on speech goals fun and entertaining through the use of games. When students are excited from speech services, they are genuinely sad to no longer be seeing Ms. Pat. When I have a student concern, I know I can ask Ms. Pat what she thinks, and she will give me supportive ideas. When we see each other in the hallway or workroom, she never hesitates to ask how I am doing or what has been going on in my life. She adds to the positive atmosphere of our campus, and I feel fortunate that I have been able to work with her for the last several years.

Sarah Monnet, 4th Grade Teacher at Sonoran Heights

In working with Ms. Monnet I have had the pleasure of seeing first-hand her passion for her students, our school, and this community. I can state with full confidence that she is motivated, responsible, and a complete team player. Ms. Monnet has stepped up in a number of different leadership positions this year and this campus is that much better because of all her hard work. Ms. Monnet has been entrusted with being team lead and a mentor teacher and she has helped many of us on this campus become better educators with all of her insight and support. Sarah has personally supported me while on maternity leave this school year. She worked hard with my long-term substitute to ensure my students were continuing to get rich instruction and have the best materials and personally designed lessons to support their personalized learning. I will forever be grateful for her love and support that she was so willing to share without any hesitation. Ms. Monnet is a huge asset to this school and any student who is lucky enough to have her will have their lives forever changed in the best way possible. Her dedication and fantastic teaching abilities shine bright in her classroom and in her students’ hearts. In Ms. Monnet’s classroom, she not only shares an interest in student academic growth, but an interest in the growth of the whole child. Ms. Monnet instructs with enthusiasm and intention to ensure she is giving her students an extraordinary experience. Students have described Ms. Monnet as one of the most caring teachers they've ever had. A parent of a student that is in Ms. Monnet’s homeroom this year stated, “She's nurturing. Willing to go the extra mile and always has the best interests of her students in mind. If I could choose any teacher for her to have every year, I’d choose her every time.” She goes above and beyond to support all around her with a sincere care for their professional and personal life. She is an encourager with a positive attitude that her teammates can rely on. Ms. Monnet has been heavily involved with the planning, implementation, and sustaining of our signature program, Active Mind and Body. Ms. Monnet has empowered students by creating a student leadership system that allows students to apply, interview, and actively participate in jobs that are leadership roles on our campus. Ms. Monnet has taken the lead role in preparing students on our campus for implementation of the Jane Schaffer Writing Program including professional development for staff and lessons for students. Ms. Monnet offers after school tutoring to support any student that is struggling academically. She ensures that parents are informed of students’ progress through persistent communication. Ms. Monnet is solutions oriented and has contributed to the success of our school year at Sonoran Heights Elementary. She leads by example and action. Ms. Monnet embodies the values of Sonoran Heights Elementary and the Dysart Unified School District.

Lindsay Smith, Paraprofessional at Sonoran Heights

Lindsay Smith is a paraprofessional in the developmental preschool at Sonoran Heights Elementary School. She is new to the campus this year but quickly made a positive impression with fellow staff members showing her positive attitude and willingness to be a team player, helping in multiple areas of the school. Lindsay has taken on a large role in helping with lesson plans, implementing behavior management plans, and focusing on student growth and engagement. Lindsay has been extremely flexible with her responsibility in the classroom as the preschool class has navigated teacher changes this year. She always puts the student's needs first and is always open for suggestions on how to make the classroom run more efficiently. Lindsay is solutions-oriented and works closely with related services, such as the SLP and the Motor team to find creative ways to help the students in her classroom find success. Lindsay is a vital part of the preschool team and comes to work every day with a smile on her face. The staff and parents at Sonoran are lucky to have her.

Tracy Sacher, 3rd Grade Teacher at Sunset Hills Elementary School

It is my privilege to nominate my very dear friend Tracy Sacher. Tracy and I have been working collectively on the same team together for 6 years. In that short amount of time, I have learned more about myself not only professionally but personally as well. Tracy is one of the best mentor teachers I have had the privilege to work with. Tracy provided not only guidance but was a confidant, mentor, and a professional advisor. As a teacher, we face many challenges on a daily basis. Tracy has taught me how to handle those challenges in a positive way which I am able to take away a life lesson from them. Mrs. Sacher is a teacher that you come upon once in a lifetime. She expects the best from her students. Her students know that she will be there for them in a loving and mentoring way. I have personally seen her reach out and help parents and students who are in need, using her own resources. Students adore her because she is kind, loving, and cares about them deeply. In the classroom the students have a saying, they are “ohana”, which means family and family means nobody gets left behind. Tracy has taken on the role of our schools PBIS ambassador. She spent a week this summer in a conference and has brought that knowledge back to our campus to ensure that we all learn how to reinforce positive behaviors in our students. Our roll out has been very successful in part to the many hours that she has spent in preparing for and actually training the rest of the staff. My team is better because of Tracy. I am better because of Tracy. She is a true and valuable resource to Sunset Hills and the Dysart district. I deeply value her opinion and advice. I would not be as good of a teacher without her. Mrs. Sacher is a true blessing.

Ashley Walkenbach, Administrative Secretary III at Sunset Hills

Ashley Walkenbach is one of the first faces you meet upon entering our school. She is one of the first people to greet students, parents, substitutes, and staff members and she does this each day with energy, enthusiasm, and a smile. At times she may have several teachers needing assistance, be answering a phone call, and trying to help a student all at the same time but never wavers from her committed desire to help all. Ashley is sure to help each person with what they need and does so with kindness and effective competency. She is very supportive through her phone calls, emails, or interactions she might have. She shares a friendly laugh, a sweet memory, or a kind thought when she has conversations with others and remains positive and dedicated to our school and our students. Ashley is an asset to our campus. She sets a positive, professional tone right away that she carries with her as she continues from her first step on campus until the time that she leaves. Outside of the school day, Ashley contributes to our school district by supporting events such as the school dance, the Dysart Dash, and other PTO sponsored events. Sunset Hills is very fortunate to have her as a part of our Bobcat Family and we are grateful to be able to work with her.

Heather Polk, 6th Grade Teacher at Surprise Elementary

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Mrs. Heather Polk for consideration for the Dysart Hero Award. In addition to performing her teaching responsibilities at an exemplary level, Mrs. Polk demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the students, staff, and community of Surprise Elementary School. Heather takes it upon herself to make sure that the morale is high here at Surprise. Every staff member that she encounters is always welcomed with a ‘’Hello’’ and a smile. I can always count on Heather to be a positive influence and to turn my days into better ones. Heather is also a positive influence here on our students. Whenever a student needs to talk or is having a bad day, they always request to talk to Mrs. Polk. She develops deep and meaningful relationships with our kids that positively affects them. Mrs. Polk is also known as a team player. She is always ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that the students in sixth grade are receiving the highest level of instruction possible. She is intentional when it comes to integrating reading and writing standards into her science curriculum. In addition to providing high levels of instruction in the classroom, she also is the sponsor for our Science Olympiad team. Heather dedicates multiple hours of her time and energy towards the students on the team. Mrs. Polk volunteered to host a Science Olympiad Invitational at Surprise. Heather not only serves the staff and students here at Surprise, she also serves the community of El Mirage. Heather started the Food Bank at Reveal Church to serve the families of the community. The first Saturday of every month, Mrs. Polk dedicates her time to make sure that families in our area are well fed and taken care of. No matter the challenge, the task, or the amount of time and effort it takes, Mrs. Heather Polk goes above and beyond for the students, staff, and community members of Surprise Elementary.

Kimberly Corallo, Gifted Technology Instructional Assistant at Surprise Elementary

Kimberly is a very dependable and hardworking person. She is always there for her students. She spends a lot of her personal time helping students with their education, sports, and their well-being. Kim has been a Gifted Technology Instructional Assistant with the district for six years. She has spent many hours learning her job, helping the teachers and students with STEM projects. She is always willing to help wherever needed for the betterment of the school. I have enjoyed coaching with Kim over the years. She cares about her players and wants the best for and from them. Kim makes the staff and students feel welcomed and at ease. She loves to have fun with the students and they respond well to her. She constantly seeks out opportunities to learn new tasks as they relate to the school and her job. Kim is often in communication with the teachers she works with and helps them get projects she knows the students would be interested in. She also participates in other school activities like Science Olympiad and dances. Kim never hesitates to help out in any capacity the school may need, whether in other classes or getting materials ready for teachers.

Yelena Fischer, 3rd Grade Teacher at Thompson Ranch

Mrs. Yelena Fischer is an amazing teacher that goes above and beyond each and every day for her students. She holds her students to a high level of expectations and works with each student to help them attain that level. Mrs. Fischer is a true Thompson Ranch Hero because she always puts everyone ahead of herself and takes great pride in her work. She goes to great lengths and will find new strategies to educate them all while keeping them interested and engaged. She will always be there to help anyone at any time and to find a positive resolution. Mrs. Fischer makes a substantial contribution to our school by serving as a grade level representative on the school’s Instructional Cabinet, peer mentoring new teachers at Thompson Ranch, serving as the Family Engagement Coordinator for our 21st Century Learning Program, and is a critical member of our school-wide Climate/Culture Committee.

Kathleen Dombrowski, School Aide at Thompson Ranch

Mrs. Kathy Dombrowski is an important part of our Thompson Ranch Team. In her role of working in the front office and crossing guard, she is highly professional with a bright smile on her face, as she greets students, families, and staff. Mrs. Dombrowski is very organized and is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Mrs. Dombrowski is dependable and reliable, a pleasant and courteous person to all the staff members and has the willingness to help whenever help is needed. Kathy is consistently friendly, warm, welcoming, caring, and helpful to all parents, visitors, staff, and students! Mrs. Dombrowski goes above and beyond each day in order to ensure that Thompson Ranch is a positive and welcoming place to all students, staff, and the community. Mrs. Dombrowski is a true gem to have here at TRES, we hope to continue to have such a valuable asset throughout the years.

Lisa Silva, Special Education Resource Teacher at West Point

Mrs. Lisa Silva is more than deserving of nomination and selection as a Dysart Unified School District Hero. Her day begins well before the ringing of the school bell signifying the start of a learning day. She can be seen throughout the campus assisting others and providing sage, sound advice to members of the Exceptional Student Services staff, and fellow teaching professionals. She never shies away from responsibility and is known as a “go to” motivator who can be seen leading small group instruction one minute and responding to the personal and emotional needs of students in distress or just needing an ear to listen and or sometimes a shoulder to cry upon. Because of these qualities and demonstrated professionalism and love for not only her fellow man, but students, and faculty alike that she has become a change agent whose kind heart and ready smile make a positive difference to our school and community on a daily basis. Her efforts in positively shaping behaviors and getting the most out of her students is evident by the love expressed by them to their parents and fellow staff. When she walks down hallways you can always hear student’s excited voices announcing her very presence with smiles, waves and hugs. In the classroom, her lessons are challenging, fun and really appreciated by not only students but parents who have placed their trust in her outstanding abilities to get the most out of her students in a safe, nurturing and positive environment. Her contributions to West Point Elementary extends far beyond the confines of the school. She volunteers to support afterhours student and community events at West Point that promote unity, community and pride. Additionally, she develops, mentors and trains future academic leaders and athletes as a winning West Point Wildcat Softball and Soccer Coach. In addition, she can be seen supporting student extracurricular activities to ensure they see a familiar, smiling face cheering them on. Lisa Silva represents the best qualities associated with being a true teaching professional, mentor, and role model to both students and staff alike.

George Laborin, Plant Manager at West Point

Mr. George works tirelessly for all of the students and staff at West Point. Not only does he keep our campus up and running, but he also coaches the boys basketball team. He works hard to make our campus something we can be proud of. His positive attitude and genuine caring is always such a breath of fresh air. He works so hard, and I believe he deserves to be recognized for his service to West Point.

Curtis Jones, 7th/8th Grade Teacher at Western Peaks

Curtis Jones: a natural leader and Dysart Hero at heart. He embodies all of the characteristics of Dysart employees such as building positive morale within our team, genuinely caring for each person he meets, and creating a line of strong communication between the staff and students. Curtis has high standards for both our staff team and the students. His standards are clear and push us to become better versions of ourselves. Curtis embodies each of the Dysart characteristics to extraordinary degrees, but his greatest gift is delegating others so that they too may become great heroes such as himself. This year, our staff were met with two major challenges and Curtis stepped up to assist and was our calm in the middle of the storm. Curtis Jones--you can try, but it is nearly impossible to know this man and not become a better version of yourself. Whether you are inspired by the way he teaches, leads, or delegates. Whether you are part of his class or team where he will undoubtedly take you under his wings and push you with his high expectations and standards. Curtis Jones is the Dysart Hero that we should all be ever so lucky to someday become for ourselves.

Olga Vera, Exceptional Student Services Behavior Technician at Western Peaks

It is said that a hero is someone who gives of himself, often putting his own life at great risk, for the greater good of others. When we think of fictional heroes, we think of those characters who come out of nowhere to save the day of someone in peril. Well, Western Peaks is lucky to have many heroes among our Falcon family, but our own particular superhero is ESS Behavior Tech, Olga Vera. Just like Wonder Woman, Olga swoops onto campus when we are in the midst of our greatest time of need. Over the last few years she provided support for some of our most challenging students. With each student she supports, she runs the student’s behavior plan to teach him/her how to use effective replacement behaviors and strategies to deal with their emotions. She also models for the staff how to run the plans in a highly effective manner. She continues to persevere and push forward in an effort to help the student become more successful. She maintains a calm during the most severe storm, and I am constantly in awe at what a peaceful, calm presence she brings to any situation. Just knowing that Olga is being sent to our campus to support a student sets our minds at ease, as she is what we like to call a miracle worker. Olga may not be assigned to the Western Peaks campus permanently, but she will forever be part of our #FalconFamily and always our hero!

Maryssa Siegle, English Teacher at Dysart High School

This is my 4th year working with Maryssa. We have been able to successfully implement a true co-teaching model in the classroom. Every day she demonstrates so much knowledge, creativity, and ingenuity. Maryssa puts a great deal of thought and time into planning lessons and activities that keep students engaged. She tutors students and they know that they can count on her. Maryssa has easily and consistently differentiated instruction to accommodation, not only students with IEPs, but also the different levels, and strengths and weaknesses of all of her students. The students also love her. Students who don’t even have her as a teacher seek her out for instructional support and difficulties that they may be experiencing in their own English class. The English Department (district-wide) depends on her for assistance with curriculum, planning, and creating assessments. Even with her many roles, Maryssa did not hesitate to take on the newly added Contemporary Literature class. In the middle of the 2017-18 school year, Maryssa took on the role of PLC lead and has continued in that role, despite all of her other commitments. Her organizational skills have made it possible for our team to plan, collaborate, analyze data, and complete expectations required by our administration, without adding undue stress. During the winter of the 2017-18 school year, Maryssa became the sponsor for the Junior Class and became the Student Council Advisor this year. Between Student Council and teaching, she practically lives at school. She is there supporting so many events and making sure that activities run smoothly. In the Fall of 2017, Maryssa helped me with co-founding a new student club for our campus. PETAL (Promoting Equality Tolerance Acceptance & Love) is an LGBTQS alliance and diversity club. At the time, our high school was the only one in the district without such an organization. With her help, we remedied that and are doing what we can to grow and expand. Maryssa gives 100% in all that she does. This school and our students are her number one priority. Her dedication and work ethic are beyond admirable. The students look forward to seeing her every day and are very disappointed on the rare occasion that she is absent. Several students have said that they do not like English, the subject, but love her class. Maryssa works with struggling students to make sure they are successful and don’t lose hope nor belief in themselves.

Cristina Cisneros, Administrative Secretary I at Dysart High School

Cristina is an Admin 1 for Curriculum and Instruction. She assists in all things related to her area as well as the counseling team. She has made quite the difference in the efficiency of the position and takes on extra tasks when asked to do so. She is professional in her dealings with businesses such as Grads and Balfour as well as our Military contacts. She is a team player who often goes above and beyond to assist others to ensure a task is completed and does not look for credit. Cristina is the gatekeeper for the counseling side of the office and is able to prioritize students to be seen and by whom. She is compassionate with students. She asks follow-up questions to ensure she has the whole picture before offering assistance to students and staff. She oversees our office helpers and holds them accountable while teaching them valuable skills. She also provides assistance to new students who enroll, offering a kind smile and positive interactions on their first day at DHS. She even bought bicycle lights for one of our TA's so he could ride safely in the evenings. Cristina is always willing to step in to assist our staff with translating with parents when needed. Our Spanish speaking parents appreciate her providing information to them in a quick and efficient manner. She works almost all of our home sporting events and has become a fixture at the ticket gate. She knows our parents and students and welcomes them with a smile. She directs students to the appropriate support or resource by triaging their needs. This allows us, as counselors, to use our time most efficiently. Whether you need a translator, editor, coordinator, sounding board, etc., Cristina is the go-to person. She is an integral part of our team and we are more effective because of the incredible work that she does each and every day. A true hero brings out the best in all those surrounding them, and Cristina makes us better every day. Cristina always provides exceptional customer service with students, parents, business partners as well as the community members. She has become a well-respected member of the DHS team. She is an invaluable member of the office staff as she is a positive morale leader.

Theron Frazer, Physical Education Teacher at Shadow Ridge High School

Theron Frazer is a prime example of what a teacher/coach should be. His selfless dedication to teaching is apparent on a daily basis. Coach Frazer encourages and supports his students and he sets high expectations for all of the students he teaches. His students are successful because of his guidance and values. Coach Frazer motivates in a positive and encouraging way and his athletes respond with great results. Coach Frazer’s constant presence in the athletic area on campus shows all of our Shadow Ridge athletes what dedication and commitment mean. He stresses values to our athletes that include: integrity, hard work, great effort and positive attitude. Coach Frazer understands how athletics can cross over and help students in the classroom and in life. His athletes have a great amount of respect for him because they know he works tirelessly on their behalf. Coach Frazer is a leader on campus among all of our staff. He is there when anyone is in need of help or support and this includes administration, teachers and classified workers. The time Coach Frazer puts in on our campus is second to none and this includes giving up his own time on the weekends and during school vacation times. Coach is always here trying to better our campus. Here at Shadow Ridge we have adopted the slogan “Stallion Strong”. Theron Frazer is the true definition of “Stallion Strong”.

Jeanette Landis, Bookstore Manager at Shadow Ridge High School

Jeanette Landis is our bookstore manager and this can be a very stressful and thankless job. She is in the bookstore all by herself and the only people that usually visit need something from her. She greets everyone – staff, students, and parents – with a smile and positive attitude every day. She has to handle everything from all the deposits (from sporting events, club fundraisers, students’ fees and so much more) as well as the physical supplies (textbooks, paper, pencils, etc.) for our entire campus. She also handles all of the many students each day who need a new ID card. As a school we have tripled in size which has added three times the amount of work for her but she still gets it all done and done with a smile. She is a vital part to keeping our club advisors and coaches in compliance with all the rules. She is there whether you need paperclips or help finding a t-shirt company. She buys items the kids are selling for fundraisers and donates towards charity. She does all of this with genuine love for our school and all of us. I really could not do all that I do without her. She is a shining example of what a Dysart Hero is.

Lori Luzier, Counselor at Valley Vista High School

Lori has been a vital member of the Valley Vista “Vamily” since its inception in 2006. Lori has served as a school counselor and is now the lead counselor at Valley. Under this hat she sets the standard for providing superior service to our students’ socio-emotional and academic needs and does so with compassion. She is a true advocate for doing what is “right for kids” so students can achieve their goals - sometimes when they don’t even believe they can. She works tirelessly for the community - families, students, and staff. She leads a team that is held the same level of excellence in all they do and she is the matriarch of a tight knit band who exemplifies excellence in customer service. Lori’s talents and dedication are recognized outside of Valley Vista. She is a former Association for Career and Technical Education of Arizona (ACTE Az) fellow and continues to serve at the state level for their organization. She routinely shares her expertise with other teachers by presenting at local and national conferences. Most recently Lori was honored to be awarded state and region V counselor of the year. Mrs. Luzier is the epitome of The Valley Way. Mrs. Luzier is extraordinary. Mrs. Luzier is a Dysart Hero.

Britney Huddleston, Athletic Trainer at Valley Vista High School

I can think of no one who is a hero more than Britney Huddleston. Ms. Huddleston holds a position that is often overlooked in our school, some may not even know her position exists. She serves as Valley Vista’s Athletic Trainer. She wraps sprained ankles in a minute, rubs out cramps in legs with a single swish and moves students' state of mind to what they can do, not what they can’t. She is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty regarding the care for our athletes. She takes the time to get to know the student-athlete and develop a healthy positive relationship. Ms. Huddleston is willing to work to insure that each athlete is taken care of by creating individual specific work-outs for rehab to finding the right medical physician to treat our athletes. She is very thorough in making sure that all the athletes are fully able and ready to come back and compete. This season, I have had several of my student-athletes coming off serious knee surgeries and head injuries. She was there with the student-athlete every step of the way to make sure they are healthy and able to compete at the level they left from. I have seen her work out kids after hours and or support families through difficult times of injuries. She has such a great personality and positive attitude that our community embraces her and are willing to help our student-athletes in time of need. Ms. Huddleston does so much more than treating students injuries; she works with students on preventing their injuries too. She teaches them that prior planning (and action) ensure they are healthy. She is the one who motivates them to do the pre-hab exercises, no matter how boring, because their well being comes first in her mind. Ms. Huddleston is compassionate, values school and community, possesses a tremendous work ethic, and she loves seeing student-athletes be successful. Ms. Huddleston is our everyday Hero!

Kimberly Warnas, Career and Technical Education Teacher at Willow Canyon High School

Kim is a tremendous asset to the Willow Canyon campus. She really represents what it means to have a Winning Culture at Willow Canyon. Her cheery disposition and engaging learning environment has helped grow the Sports Medicine program on our campus. She constantly works to improve her craft and try new things. For example, this year she partnered with GCU to do a livestream tutorial to teach students how to perform sutures. This kind of real-world application is commonplace in her classroom and a major reason our CTE program is thriving. Aside from her performance as an educator, she also advises the National Honors Society (NHS) and Key Club. She not only encourages students to serve their community, but also models these efforts with optimism. All of the students really enjoy her and you can see that she makes an impact on them as well as them to her. In the classroom she is always building connections. She has a motivational Monday where she checks in with the students and motivates them to be better for themselves. She is always positive and open. She is never negative towards students or other teachers. She is always checking in on students and making sure that they are ok, when they are having a rough day. Ms. Warnas is a true Wildcat who cares deeply about kids and is passionate about making Willow Canyon the place to be.

Juan Izaguirre, Maintenance at Willow Canyon High School

Juan is a Wildcat through and through. He is an alumni of Willow Canyon and has worked at his Alma Mater as a security guard and maintenance worker. Due to his strong ties to the school, he is the first to sign up for extracurricular events. It is common to see him taking tickets at shows for the arts and assisting with school dances. Juan is also a strong member of the maintenance team who have worked tirelessly to improve the athletic fields and overall aesthetics of the campus. His work ethic is second to none and it’s hard to imagine WCHS without him. He is a tribute to what makes Willow Canyon a great place and is a shining example of the school’s “Winning Culture”.

Melissa England, Social Studies Teacher at Sundown Mountain

Melissa England is a team player and contributes to positive staff morale. During our working relationship with Ms. England, we have experienced an individual who shows up early, works hard, and carries themselves in a polite, respectable manner. In addition, Ms. England is extremely gifted at making students feel comfortable and always maintaining a positive atmosphere.

Heidi Lindemann, Administrative Secretary II at Sundown Mountain

Heidi Lindemann has a unique position in the district as the frontline for all the staff and every single student and parent. She greets all of us every morning with a smile and you would never know if she was having a bad day. As the day progresses and things begin to stir on the campus she is our lifeline to our every whim. It can be as simple as we need tissues and hand sanitizer sent down to our rooms or the wifi has gone out and we can’t take attendance, or it can be about a problem with a student in class or advice on how to handle a disagreement with a peer or even administration. She is there answering the phone, mediating issues and making things run smoothly everyday. She wears so many different hats and will step in for everyone every time. Heidi is such an asset to our staff and honestly couldn’t imagine Sundown without her. As much as she impacts us every day with her positive attitude, I know there are many more responsibilities that she handles without complaint, without exception. Coming to work everyday is more enjoyable because her smile is the first thing we see when we get in and the last thing we see when we leave and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jessica Robbins, Student Information Systems Analyst, Business Services Department

Jessica Robbins has been a member of the Dysart Unified School District family for 15 years. Her compassion and dedication to Dysart is extraordinary! Jessica supports District Office staff by providing valuable training and assistance with Infinite Campus. She provides the same dedicated support to every school. This year Jessica has stepped in to assist Asante Preparatory Academy, Cimarron Springs Elementary and Kingswood during periods of front office staffing shortages. Jessica also works independently with each school site offering exceptional support with master scheduling. When new principals were appointed to Luke Elementary and Freedom Traditional schools this year, Jessica shared her expertise to ensure both schools effectively scheduled their teachers and students. Jessica fosters positive morale by ensuring staff members feel empowered to ask questions or to request support. Because Jessica stays abreast of state reporting requirement changes, she is able to adapt procedures accordingly. She is frequently contacted by other districts for guidance and support in translating changes in AzEDS. With the recent staffing changes in the SIS Team, Jessica has taken on more of a leadership role, contributing as a team player to ensure the new SIS Specialists were fully supported as they grew into their new positions. Jessica is a dedicated Dysart staff member who cares about our students, parents, her co-workers, and Dysart. With her extraordinary knowledge, professionalism and excellence in her field, Jessica IS a Dysart Hero.

Mary Thomas, District Volunteer at Canyon Ridge

Ms. Thomas has been volunteering with us for 5 years and counting! She is committed to coming 3 days a week and has volunteered over 1,500 hours of service--1,568 to be exact! Ms. Thomas has a generous heart and volunteers because she loves working with children, wants to give back to our Surprise community, and supports the Dysart Unified School District. Ms. Thomas is a professional volunteer who applies her personal skills to anything we ask her to do. She does everything from working with small groups of students, working one-on-one with students, making copies, grading papers, filing papers, organizing the classroom and office… The list could go on and on. She takes the time to get to know each student, building trust and confidence within students. Not only does Ms. Thomas serve our students, she also supports our staff and the school district. She includes all 4 kindergarten teachers when she asks us how she can help or when she presents us with thoughtful gifts to show her appreciation of educators. She is a very special and wonderful addition to the Canyon Ridge family. Ms. Thomas is a blessing to Canyon Ridge, our community, and school district. Without her, I don’t know what I would do. She is truly a blessing to everyone at Canyon Ridge. She is by far the best!

Stephanie Lawrence, Administrator at Riverview

Stephanie Lawrence cares deeply for the staff and students of Riverview. In the two and a half years that Stephanie has been principal at Riverview she has turned the culture of our school into a positive environment. She has also created an environment in which teachers feel supported by the administration, creating a positive work place. In addition, Stephanie has implemented a leadership program, Leader In Me, which stimulates leaders not only in the staff of Riverview but also the students. Stephanie saw the Leader In Me program as the perfect fit for her vision for our school and community. Mrs. Lawrence has given us the leadership needed to move Riverview forward. She puts a tremendous amount of effort into the staff, students, and families of our school. She puts in many hours beyond the school day, making sure that all members of the Riverview team feel supported, encouraged, and cared for.

Rick Haney, Administrator at El Mirage

Rick Haney is the most amazing counterpart that makes me grateful every day that I work with him. He can be counted on to make decisions in my stead that are consistent with our school vision. He has been instrumental in implementing new programs such as PBIS, AVID, and our Health and Wellness Academy. He has helped start up an increased number of intramurals and after school activities, ESBN our El Mirage Sports Broadcasting Network, bringing professional sports opportunities to school, college trips, and other leadership opportunities for our students. His enthusiasm, smile, and a positive outlook helps to increase our morale at school.

Congratulations to all of our 2019-2020 Dysart Heroes. A special thanks to our sponsors including: The Dysart Education Foundation, Chasse, 1GPA, Valley Schools, Core Construction, Wholesale Floors, Dell, CHWP Expos, Symetra Life, Jorgeson Brooks, Delta Dental, Teledoc, Troxell and Turboscape.