Golden Pride Award Winners
2015-2016 School Year
A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.
William Thomas Middle School Teacher
Diane Hernandez and
Teacher Assistant Anitra Neibaur
were awarded the Golden Pride Award for “above and beyond” service for the month of April during the regular board meeting held on April 19, 2016.
Diane Hernandez has been a teacher for 30 years. She has taught in Aberdeen, Pocatello and
American Falls. She currently is a
special education teacher with math as her emphasis area.
Diane is an outstanding teacher that put her entire heart
and soul into her job. She is always
available to help kids before and after school.
You almost always find her eating lunch in her room helping kids. She has also worked with students in the
after school program for many years. She
also teaches in the summer school program.
Diane is always working to improve her teaching
abilities. She is eager to attend
workshops and conferences. It is not
uncommon for her to attend ten or more days a summer at trainings.
Diane is a great team member. She contributes greatly to the success of the
teams that she is on. She is always one
of the first to volunteer when a job needs done. She often brings great food to meetings.
Most importantly though is that she is a strong advocate for
the children she teaches. Her depth of
knowledge on how to help and support kids is second to none. She advocates very effectively for her
special education students. Anitra Neibaur is a teaching assistant at the middle school. She also serves as the WTMS Athletic Director and one of the lead testing coordinators.
Anita is an outstanding assistant. She had never met a student that she didn’t love working with. She is a huge asset to the teachers that she assists.
Anitra is patient and caring with the kids. She spends hours explaining and re-teaching and never gets frustrated. Her students are not always regular education kids so she faces multiple learning disabilities and often attitudes too. The reason she keeps her patience so well is because she truly cares about the kids. She spends time talking to them and sharing with them. She wants them to do well and finds out as much as she can about each child's life because so much of students’ lives can be hidden from school and affect the students deeply. Most important is that her students know how much she really cares about them.
Anitra is eager to help anywhere she can. She is a great asset to our school. She plays an important role in the success of our school.
March 2016The American Falls Intermediate School was highlighted for the Golden Pride Award during the March board meeting of the American Falls School District. Nominated were Emily Cade, fourth grade teacher and Sandra Bowman, Intermediate School Secretary. The Golden Pride Award is given monthly to school district employees who exemplify “above and beyond” effort in their assignments of service for the students in the American Falls School District.
Emily Cade's nominator wrote:
In her first year at our school she has taken on the challenge of
teaching some of our students who struggle the most in math. Mrs. Cade shows great patience with her
students and spends the time that it takes to prepare and present well thought out
lessons to meet her students’ needs.
Mrs. Cade works well with her peers and is willing to help
out with school activities. I feel that
Mrs. Cade possess two of the most important traits for an Elementary Teacher;
patience and flexibility. Mrs. Cade is a
great fit for our staff and we are happy that she is on our team.
Sandra Bowman's nominator wrote:
Sandra has taken on the challenge of running the office at the
Intermediate School for a couple of years now.
She is a person that the children feel comfortable with in the office of
the school. Mrs. Bowman takes her job as
nurse, confidant, office manager, and parent/school liaison very seriously.
Mrs. Bowman, is able to put out fires, multi task, and still
have parents, teachers, and students feel that they are important. Mrs. Bowman is able to accomplish all of her
assigned tasks as the school secretary in a timely manner. Her patience, flexibility, and sense of humor
make her a valuable asset to serve as a front office representative for the
Hillcrest Elementary School was highlighted for the Golden
Pride Award during the February board meeting of the American Falls School
District. Nominated were 2nd
grade teacher Aneatra Walker, Special Design Teacher JoAnn Dulley, and teacher assistants
Denise Miller and Wanda Martineau.
Aneatra Walker's nominator wrote:
Aneatra Walker is in her fourth year of teaching 2nd grade at
Hillcrest. She has, however, had a
positive presence in our school for much longer. Mrs. Walker is a local “grow your own
teacher” success story who started working with children as a paraprofessional
at Hillcrest some years back. During
this time, many others saw teaching potential in her. With a little nudging by the right people and
a lot of hard work on Mrs. Walker’s part, she has become an excellent and
valuable teacher. She provides an
exceptional classroom experience for her students and is always well prepared
and keeps her students engaged in a positive learning atmosphere. Students enjoy her classroom yet they know
she holds them to high expectations and presses each one to learn at their
Mrs. Walker also works as the 2nd grade teacher
in the afterschool program. She gives
extra support to selected students and serves collaboratively as the conduit
between the 2nd grade team and the afterschool program. With her help, the impact of the afterschool
program is definitely maximized for our 2nd graders.
It is my pleasure to recognize Aneatra Walker as the Golden
Pride Award recipient from Hillcrest.
She deserves this award for the many things she does to help the
students in our district. She is one of
JoAnn Dulley’s nominator wrote: JoAnn has been in the district for over 19
years. She is the Special Design teacher
at Hillcrest. This program is
challenging but JoAnn does a great job to see that each child’s challenges are
met. She meets with parents so they can
be aware of their child’s learning.
JoAnn goes above and beyond helping our students be successful. She teaches students from pre-school to third
grade and that exemplifies the knowledge she has for each age group and their
special needs. She is always willing to
do whatever it takes to plan meetings and be there for others
.Wanda Martineau has been with the American Falls School
District for the past 11 years. Her
nominator wrote: Wanda goes above and
beyond by taking time to meet each student at their abilities. Many times Wanda brings something from home
to enhance a lesson she is working on with the students. She is able to differentiate instruction
while meeting the goals of three different levels and varying degrees of
ability. Wanda takes classes whenever
possible to increase her teaching knowledge.
Wanda is very calm, pleasant and caring.
Our special design classroom would be at a loss without Mrs. Martineau.
Denise Miller’s nominator wrote: I would like to nominate Denise Miller for
the Golden Pride Award. She has worked
in the classroom as a para-pro at Hillcrest for three years and began this year
as a part-time clinician in our Reading Clinic program. As a reading clinician her job is not easy
and she jumped in with both feet. She
works with groups of our most academically and often behaviorally challenged
students. She has to press kids every day to gain the reading skills needed to
survive in school and life. She gives
her best and does it well.
Denise is always willing and ready to do what is asked of
her. She is competent and efficient in
her duties as a clinician in Reading Clinic.
She is not afraid to do what is asked with students and Reading
Intervention Programs. Her students know
they are truly cared about when they come to one of her groups.
I appreciate her for her undaunting passion and commitment
to kids. She truly makes a difference in
many young lives. Denise is a great
asset for our school!
The American Falls High School and the American Falls Academy were highlighted for the Golden Pride Award on Monday, January 25, 2016 at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees. The Golden Pride Award is given monthly to employees who go “above and beyond” in service to the students of the American Falls School District.
Tony Cade is a new teacher at American Falls High School. His nominator wrote: Mr. Cade has been an excellent addition to the staff at American Falls High School; and we are extremely excited to have him as part of the family. He is teaching freshman English; a content area that is new to him. He as transitioned from middle school History to high school English flawlessly. He has the unique ability to develop a great rapport with his students. He creates a positive and productive classroom environment where students have high expectations for completing work. He takes an interest in all students at the high school not just his English students or his football players. He attends many extracurricular activities both home and away in support of the students. He has a tireless work ethic; this work ethic has enabled him to teach himself how to be very effective in teaching his students to become better writers at the same time he has generated a great deal of excitement for both our football and track programs. I couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient of the Golden Pride award than Mr. Cade.
David Halverson has been employed at the American Falls School District for the past 36 years.
David has worn many hats for the district during this time. David currently works in Technology for the district. His nominator wrote: David is one of the most helpful people in the district. Every time I call David he is so cheerful and eager to do whatever is asked of him. He always fixes, sets up or creates exactly what we need; always on time and with a smile. He does an amazing job with the school websites and helps me often with presentations. When he has completed a task he always leaves with a smile and says just call me anytime you need anything. I wish we were fortunate enough to have a clone of David at every school instead of just one for the district. David’s eagerness to help and the manner in which he does his work makes him very deserving of the Golden Pride award and I am honored to be able to nominate him.
JoAnn Kopp has been with the American Falls School District for the past 9 years. She is currently the secretary at the American Falls Academy: Her nominator wrote: This is an easy choice for our staff to make about honoring Ms. JoAnn Kopp with this award. She exemplifies all of the traits and characteristics needed to become a valuable member at the Academy and for the Special Education program. Ms. Kopp’s duties are numerous and she does them all extremely well.
The staff has commented many times that JoAnn has made the difference in the lives of our students by her encouragement to do their best, and her friendly approach in working with all individuals who call or visit are school. Every member of our staff has witness these skills in action on several occasions during the course of the school year with positive outcomes. She is greatly appreciated by all and is one of the big reasons for the success of our school.
It is with great honor that we submit Ms. JoAnn Kopp for the Secretary Golden Pride award for the month of January.
William Thomas Middle School was highlighted for the Golden Pride Award during the regular board meeting on December 15, 2015. Nominated were Counselor Patty Bolinger and, Transportation Center Secretary Valerie Schmidtgall. The Golden Pride Award is given monthly to school district employees who go “above and beyond” in their service to the students of the American Falls School District.
Patty Bolinger is currently in her 38th year at William Thomas Middle School. She is the best! As the counselor we can say that Patty truly is the heart and soul of our school. She does so much to help our students be successful in school and in life. Patty is the leader of our school PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) team. She is a critical member of our school multi-disciplinary team. She works with parents and teachers in developing student’s 504 plans.
In addition to personal counseling she holds many group counseling sessions for students with a variety of needs.
She is the key organizer of our school vocational career fair every fall. She goes above and beyond in organizing, sending and receiving (often includes personal deliveries) of our Flat Stanley Project. She directs the writing of 8th grade four-year plans and organizing job shadowing experiences. She has written many grants that help fund school programs and trips, like the 8th grade trip to Boise.
She is an outstanding homeroom teacher. Students who are lucky enough to get her as their homeroom teacher know that she will take care of their every need at school. This includes lots of TLC and firm follow through when needed. Parents know that she is always there to help them when they need it.
Patty is always willing to do whatever she is asked to do. During skill exploration she teaches cross-country skiing or tennis depending on the year. She coordinates our schools Red Ribbon Week activities. During lunch she hosts friendship groups playing games. She is also an asset to the 7th grade team.
In addition to working at WTMS she spends her afternoons working at the Intermediate School teaching classes to 5th grade students.
Patty is a state leader for school counselors. She has served as President of the State Association and has received the Idaho State Counselor of the Year Award. She organized regional and state events for school counselors. She normally trains a couple of counselor interns from ISU every year. She also teaches counseling classes at ISU.
It is impossible to list all that Patty does for our school. Most importantly the students at WTMS know how much she cares about them and that she will do anything for them. Thank you Patty for all of your years of service to our school.
Valerie Schmidtgall has worked as part of school transportation system for the past 20 years. She helps coordinate requests and routes. She does an outstanding job of providing the best possible “Customer Service” to our schools. She is always a step ahead of us in meeting our busing needs. Valerie is always happy. This time of year we have extra appreciation for her as she organizes all of the routes for our Skill Exploration activities. She is always calm no matter how soon you need a bus, make a change or have a problem. Skill Exploration can get pretty complicated transporting and transferring students to so many places. Valerie is also the driver of the special needs bus. The staff at WTMS really appreciates all that Valerie does to serve our students and help our school succeed.
The Intermediate School staff was highlighted during the November board meeting on November 16, 2015. Nominated were substitute teacher Lachele Wheeler and teacher assistant, Chelsea Kavanaugh. The Golden Pride Award is given monthly to school district employees who exemplify ‘above and beyond” effort in their assignment of service for students in the American Falls School District.
Lachele Wheeler has been a substitute teacher for the American Falls School District for several years. Her nominator wrote: I would like to nominate Lachele Wheeler as a Golden Pride recipient. In the absence of Hannah Luna who was out on Maternity leave, Lachele took on an often difficult position as a long term substitute teacher for Hannah. Lachele assimilated into our staff quickly and took on her role as ESL Math, Language and Science teacher. Mrs. Wheeler did an outstanding job preparing thoughtful lessons, organizing successful classroom routines, and creating a positive learning environment for her students. I feel that Mrs. Luna’s students had the best care and education possible in her absence as a result of the hard work and dedication of Mrs. Wheeler.
Chelsea Kavanaugh has been a teacher assistant for the American Falls School District for the past two years, first at Hillcrest Elementary and now at the Intermediate School. Her nominator wrote: I would like to nominate Chelsea Kavanaugh for the Golden Pride Award. Chelsea joined the staff at the Intermediate School this fall. She works as a paraprofessional for Marla Egbert in the fourth grade and for Sarah Anderson in the fifth grade. Ms. Kavanaugh has met the challenge of learning the workings of the Intermediate School. She works well with the staff and has been involved with students in the classroom, lunch room, and at recess. Ms. Kavanaugh instructs students individually and in small groups with a friendly, calm, and positive manner. She has done a good job assisting the students with the new Chrome Books during Science and Idaho History. We appreciate her consistent, reliable, and dedicated performance with our students.