November 2023 Employee Excellence Awards

The following employees were selected to receive November 2023 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the November 14 school board meeting.

Rachel Cason, education ombuds at Jim Parsley Center
Debbie Dickerson, assistant dispatcher, transportation department
Alia Eraky, teacher at Anderson Elementary School
Sarah Nelson, admin clerk at Hudson’s Bay High School
Mark Phelan, teacher at Discovery Middle School
Jill Taylor, speech language pathologist at Vancouver Early Childhood Education Center

Five employees are recognized between October and June of each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.

In addition to awardees chosen by the peer nomination and Excellence Awards committee voting process, the Board of Directors may recognize recipients who have been nominated by the Superintendent’s Cabinet for demonstrating exceptional leadership and dedication to VPS students and their families.

Rachel Cason, education ombuds

Jim Parsley Center

Rachel Cason, photoRachel Cason, the Education Ombuds, serves students and families across the district. Her unique gifts of incredible grace and kindness provide for solution-oriented conversations that focus on positive student outcomes. Rachel lifts up family voices and ensures they are heard while being laser-focused on productive conversations. She is truly a fierce advocate for the community and an effective leader within VPS. Thank you, Rachel.

Debbie Dickerson, assistant dispatcher

Transportation department

Debbie Dickerson, headshotDebbie Dickerson, assistant dispatcher in our transportation department, is a Super Star! She’s driven buses and trained drivers, so she understands the work and brings a helpful perspective to her role. She is well-respected and knowledgeable, and she’s a go-to person for questions on policies and procedures. Her thoughtfulness and support for team members make working with her a daily pleasure. Thank you, Debbie.

Alia Eraky, teacher

Anderson Elementary School

Alia Eraky, headshotAlia Eraky, a teacher at Anderson Elementary, puts her heart and soul into her work and would do anything for her students and families. Amid the challenges of virtual learning in 2020, she made the transition seamless, even making socially distanced home visits to support her students. Says one nominator, “Ms. Eraky is the kind of teacher you wish could stay with your child every year.” Thank you, Alia.

Sarah Nelson, fiscal clerk

Hudson’s Bay High School

Sarah Nelson, photoSarah Nelson is the ASB Fiscal Clerk at Hudson’s Bay and has been a dedicated VPS employee for 25 years. Sarah radiates positivity every day with her infectious happiness and she ensures that everyone feels welcome and supported. Sarah goes above and beyond to assist students and coaches and she embodies the Bay Way. She is an invaluable asset to our community. Thank you, Sarah.

Mark Phelan, teacher

Discovery Middle School

Mark Phelan, headshotMark Phelan, a teacher at Discovery Middle School is an incredibly positive colleague who supports others in his community. He always makes time to help others and is positive, always smiling and offering greetings. His commitment goes well beyond the classroom and he balances several additional responsibilities including coaching and mentoring students. Mark exemplifies excellence as a VPS employee. Thank you, Mark.

Jill Taylor, speech language pathologist

Vancouver Early Childhood Evaluation Center

Jill Taylor, headshotJill Taylor is a Speech Language Pathologist at the Vancouver Early Childhood Evaluation Center. In the midst of change at the center, she consistently supports the team, showcasing her natural leadership. Jill is humble, compassionate, and proactive, and goes above and beyond her role as an SLP, to problem-solve challenges. She also shares clinical knowledge with others, leaving lasting positive impressions on children, families, and the team. Thank you, Jill.