January 2023 Employee Excellence Awards

The following employees were selected to receive January 2023 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the January 10 school board meeting.

  • Teresa Arden, EL instructional lead, Hudson’s Bay High School
  • Mary Calame, paraeducator, Alki Middle School
  • Ariel Goldsworth, teacher and coach, Discovery Middle School and Brian Thomas, building operator and coach, Discovery Middle School
  • Renee Sutter, behavior interventionist, Harney Elementary School
  • Heather Robinson, paraeducator, Marshall Elementary School

The Excellence Award is given to five employees and/or small teams from October to June each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.

TERESA ARDEN, EL instructional lead
Hudson’s Bay High School

Teresa Arden, EL instructional lead at Hudson's Bay High SchoolTeresa Arden is passionate about supporting our multilingual learners and helping everyone feel like they belong in our schools. Although she is a long-time VPS employee, she is new to Hudson’s Bay and she wholeheartedly jumped into the work from the start. She is a compassionate advocate and educator, actively supporting the multilingual learners at Bay, ensuring that students do not slip through the cracks in a large high school. She also consistently supports teachers in their planning and lesson development, widely sharing her expertise with EL strategies positively impacting all students. Her contributions are noticed and we appreciate her!


MARY CALAME, paraeducator
Alki Middle School

Mary Calame, paraeducator at Alki Middle SchoolMary Calame is a patient, caring paraeducator who shares her knowledge and experience with others. She is known for offering support during school years when COVID interrupted routine operations, bringing ideas and solutions to other teachers who attribute their success to her guidance and help. Mary is also committed to her students and demonstrates empathy, kindness and appropriate consequences. Her students enjoy chatting and joking with her during their break times, and she can make any student smile with her jokes, even if they are having a hard day. Mary goes above and beyond for our students!



ARIEL GOLDSWORTH, teacher and coach
BRIAN THOMAS, building operator and coach

Discovery Middle School

Ariel Goldsworth, teach and coach, Discovery Middle School

Ariel Goldsworth

Brian Thomas

Ariel Goldsworth and Brian Thomas have created an amazing sports experience for the students at Discovery Middle School. Not only are they both talented when it comes to the sports they coach, they are also incredible leaders and role models. They encourage students to try new things and help students to be their very best. One nominator says, “They set a standard of sportsmanship that makes me proud to be part of Discovery Middle School.”  Ariel and Brian hold students accountable for working together, communicating, and supporting one another and negativity is not tolerated. They both have huge hearts and an extraordinary  passion for working with the Discovery kids. 




RENEE SUTTER, behavior interventionist
Harney Elementary School

Renee Sutter, Behavior Interventionist at Harney Elementary School Renee Sutter is an outstanding teacher who goes above and beyond her “regular” duties every day to make Harney an exceptional place for students to learn. She cares deeply about each and every student in the building. In addition to supporting students, she provides training on social emotional learning for staff members, sharing her great depth of knowledge on the topic. Renee started a Kindness Challenge, she coordinates the Legacy Club for 5th grade students, and she organized the school carnival for 900 students. Says one nominator, “I am privileged and honored to work with an amazing individual that gives so much to our school, students and community.”



HEATHER ROBINSON, paraeducator
Marshall Elementary School

Heather Robinson is a kind and thoughtful teacher and coworker, who has a positive impact on everyone with whom she interacts. She goes above and beyond for her Marshall community, sharing positive words of encouragement. Her commitment to the students reaches beyond the classroom. She recently took responsibility for the Junior Coaches program, and on her own time she mailed holiday cards to all Marshall kindergarten students. She also cares deeply about her community, sending over 1,000 cards to military and homebound people. One of her students shares, “I love her because she helps us so much!”