September 2021 Staff in the Spotlight

The district is pleased to announce the September 2021 Staff in the Spotlight recipients. Every month, each of our schools honors a staff member at their building for going above and beyond their regular duties or for doing something special. Join us in celebrating these outstanding employees!

Shawndine Jones PELC Shawndine Jones – for always being willing to take on new tasks and help where is needed. She steps up and does anything needed without being asked. Shawndine is always positive, kind, and thinking of others. She is amazing, and we are so lucky to have her.
Jesse Lantz McKay Jesse Lantz for going the extra step to help everyone and always being right there to help. He does a great job getting the school ready for a new year. He makes others feel welcome with his positive can-do attitude. He helps the staff do everything we ask anytime we ask it. We couldn’t do our jobs without him. He is amazing!
Nicole Kuza Sherwood Nikki Kuza has been working at Sherwood as an educational assistant for the last two years. She is an amazing team player, dedicated to students, helps wherever needed, and such a joy to work with. She is constantly on the go and great with both the teachers and students she works with.
Erica Schmidt Washington Erica Schmidt for her commitment to each child’s needs and support within her grade level team.
   Jennifer Henderer Sunridge Jennifer Henderer: What a score we got with this “new” employee. She may be new to us, but her skill and ability with students show that she is no novice. I super appreciate her ability to jump right in with a smile! You are making a difference. Thank you for your hard work and positively welcoming staff and students every morning. What a nice way to start our day!
Mike Somnis PHS Mike Somnis – Pendleton Athletic Director: High School athletics have been chaotic for the last 18 months, and Mike has been in the forefront working tirelessly to give our student athletes every opportunity to compete while also following the OSAA guidelines to keep the athletes and coaches safe. Mike is someone who understands the needs of the community and how athletic programs at PHS relate to a positive culture. He has done a remarkable job in adapting to changing situations and communicating them among all members of the school community so that our student athletes and coaches can compete with the least amount of distraction possible.
Michelle Van Pelt Nixya’awii Michelle Van Pelt for working with the leadership class and new media class to spark school spirit during these challenging times.
Michael Bittorf Hawthorne/ Homestead Michael Bittorf – for making classes interesting for our PBL students while engaging them to think critically about subject matter and getting them out of their comfort zone to see the other side of topics they are learning.
Karen Weber District Office/
Karen Weber for stepping up into a new position with little to no job description and doing an outstanding job. She is willing to learn and jump into any mess to help us clean it up and get it organized. She is a great addition to our team!