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School Board celebrates 2019 Outstanding Employee Award winners

March 13, 2019—Renton School Board members tonight recognized winners of this year’s Outstanding Employee Awards. The Board has presented the awards for more than 35 years to recognize staff who demonstrate an extraordinary level of job performance, support of students, professionalism and dedication.


Board members joined family, coworkers and others in honoring recipients of this year’s awards. Guests came to offer personal anecdotes and professional praise for the outstanding staff members.


More than 160 teachers and school and district staff members were nominated for this year’s awards in the four categories: Outstanding Elementary Teacher, Outstanding Secondary Teacher, Outstanding School Support Person, and Outstanding District Support Person. A selection committee evaluated each nominee based on information presented on applications and accompanying letters of support. All the nominees proved to be impressive, exceptional members of the district family. This year’s recipients are consummate professionals, with a high level of skill, competence and character.


Outstanding Elementary Teacher

Alex Castro-Wilson, 5th-grade Teacher, Benson Hill Elementary School

Alex has been valued staff member in the Renton School District for many years. He first served students as a paraeducator at Bryn Mawr Elementary, and now as a teacher at Benson Hill. But Alex will say he’s been an educator for more than a decade, starting in 2008 when he was a student at Renton High School in the Renton Teacher Academy, a program that helps high school students connect to the teaching profession through college-level course work and in-class internships. Alex attended Renton Schools as a child and graduated from Renton High School. He has worked as a tutor with middle school students to help strengthen their academic outcomes and helped elementary students become better at reading and mathematics.

At Benson Hill, Alex generously offers his time beyond his own classroom to support students and other educators by managing the after-school STEM program, Lego Robotics/Coding Club, talent show, and many other programs. He works tirelessly to build relationships with his students, his families and his coworkers.

 Alex Castro-Wilson, 5th-grade Teacher, Benson Hill Elementary School

Outstanding Elementary Teacher

Danny Vuong, 4th-grade Teacher, Benson Hill Elementary School

Danny grew up in Renton and attended Benson Hill Elementary, Nelsen Middle School and graduated from Lindbergh High School. He has worked in the Renton School District for five years; three of those as a 4th-grade teacher at Benson Hill. Before teaching, while working on his master’s degree and teaching credentials, Danny also worked as a Vietnamese interpreter and classroom volunteer.

Beyond his own classroom responsibilities, Danny helps lead Benson Hill educators in their SIOP’ work to improve education for students learning English; he is the school’s teacher liaison for the PTA, and he helps young writers and photographers as the school’s yearbook coordinator. Before becoming a teacher, Danny worked as a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home and is well-known as a singer in the Vietnamese community. He is proficient in five languages: English, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Hakka. And in 2013, Danny competed in the Vietnamese version of the Voice.

    Danny Vuong, 4th-grade Teacher, Benson Hill Elementary School

Outstanding Secondary Teacher

Tom Walker, Health Sciences Teacher, Hazen High School

Tom has been an educator for more than two decades. He has taught in the Renton School District since 2002, much of that time serving students at Hazen High School. He also serves Hazen students helping connect them to future health professions. He has served as a district Athletic Trainer and was instrumental in initiating the district’s contract with Children’s Hospital to provide building-level athletic training services at all high schools. Tom is praised for his work to establish, maintain and train staff in the district-wide lifesaving Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program, a device used to save the lives of those having heart troubles.

Other jobs that Tom currently holds include volunteer Emergency Medical Technician and Fire Fighter (structural and wildland; a position he’s held for over 25 years); Athletic Training services provider for colleges in the PAC-12 Conference for Swim & Dive Championships; an American Red Cross instructor in First Aid/CPR; lifeguard; emergency responder; and is his school’s union representative with the Renton Education Association. In 2018, Tom was named the state’s Educator of the Year by the Health Science Career & Technical Educators.

 Tom Walker, Health Sciences Teacher, Hazen High School

Outstanding Building Support Person

Madelene Matthews, Registrar, Hazen High School

Madelene has worked in the Renton School District for more than a decade; all those years serving the students, families and staff at Hazen High. She’s dedicated more than two decades to education, also working at Grays Harbor Community College, the Texas Dept. of Education, and the Plano Texas School District.

Madelene’s principal, Kate O’Brien, says Madelene’s value and impact on the school is immeasurable, and unknown to most. She is a data analyst, researcher, problem-solver and grade-technician specialist. Her skills as a communicator each day help students, teachers and support staff navigate through a complicated day at high school; and her ability to handle problems with technical precision provides the entire Hazen High family with piece of mind.

Sports and fitness are a passion in Madelene’s family; she is a yoga instructor and her husband Ken has served as the Hazen High Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer coach for a decade.  Madelene will retire after this school year.

 Madelene Matthews, Registrar, Hazen High School

Outstanding District Support Person

Brian Goddard, Data Analyst, Student Information Services Department

Brian has worked as a data analyst in the district for four years. He is the primary creator and implementor of the district’s data dashboards which are used by educators and school staff to better understand and use data to improve classroom instruction. He creates, analyzes and customizes data that is used by educators, school groups, district departments and community-based organizations to better understand the education and social-emotional needs of individual students. His work is instrumental in creating the district’s Highly Capable student identification model that helps equitably identify under-represented students to provide them access to high-level education.

Before coming to the Renton School District, Brian worked with a small tech company in Seattle. Beyond work, Brian is involved in the local theatre community, working as an actor and stage manager for about a dozen shows over the past few years.

 Brian Goddard, Data Analyst, Student Information Services Department



Nominees for 2019 Outstanding Employee Awards

Outstanding Elementary Teachers

Oliver Taylor, Talbot Hill Elementary

Yumi Sunday, Sierra Heights Elementary

Kathy Birley, Renton Park Elementary

Alyx Chamberlain, Renton Park Elementary

Abigail Person, Honey Dew Elementary

Greg Johnson, Lakeridge Elementary

Karlyn Clark, Highlands Elementary

Gregory Golliver, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Kaitlin Jackson, Renton Park Elementary

Johnathan Hoeschen, Cascade Elementary

Cara McGough, Renton Park Elementary

Theresa Tse, Lakeridge Elementary

Alejandro Castro-Wilson, Benson Hill Elementary

Danny Voung, Benson Hill Elementary

James Noddings, Kennydale Elementary

Michaela Lorang (Stevens), Hazelwood Elementary

Andrea Vacca, Bryn Mawr Elementary

Kristin Hesselgesser, Kennydale Elementary

Taylor Seth, Bryn Mawr Elementary

Cassie Thompson, Hazelwood Elementary

Dana Vose, Hazelwood Elementary

Kristen Severud, Sierra Heights Elementary

Rosemarie Chartier, Lakeridge Elementary

Vivek Strivastava, Kennydale Elementary

Tracy Dyson, Hazelwood Elementary

Megan Haack, Honey Dew Elementary

Katie Donovan, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Sharon Skillon, Highlands Elementary

Gretchen Greutman, Kennydale Elementary

Andie Ahlfors, Hazelwood Elementary

Mary Teppner, Talbot Hill Elementary

Neal Hanson, Talbot Hill Elementary

John Paul, Tiffany Park Elementary

Sarah Slack, Talbot Hill Elementary

Margaret Strong, Hazelwood Elementary

Kristen Brenneman, Sierra Heights Elementary

Kathryn Smith, Campbell Hill Elementary

Haley Bergman, Kennydale Elementary

Amanda Tenerelli, Hazelwood Elementary

Rebecca Bland, Benson Hill Elementary

Rica Rogel, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Bryce Thompson, Tiffany Park Elementary

Kate Ingalls, Hazelwood Elementary

Tammy Rayburn, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Rozlynn Dance, Sartori Elementary

Diane Funai, Hazelwood Elementary

Rachel Lauter, Renton Park Elementary

Kaci Aguilar, Renton Park Elementary

Tracy Lane, Sierra Heights Elementary

Molly Dundon, Meadow Crest Elementary

Jeremy Dupea, Bryn Mawr Elementary

Kaia Tomokiyo, Sartori Elementary

Marcie Hutt, Talbot Hill Elementary

Amy Newmeyer, Meadow Crest Elementary

Sara Barbee, Renton Park Elementary

Zelda Wear, Cascade Elementary

Evan Perkiss, Campbell Hill Elementary

Megan Arsvold, Sartori Elementary

Molly Senkowsky, Cascade Elementary

Patricia LaFleur, Bryn Mawr Elementary

Briana Unti, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Blake Cazsandra, Talbot Hill Elementary

Alisa Vinson-Ames, Sartori Elementary

Carolyn Hudson, Sierra Heights Elementary

Jane Lambert, Tiffany Park Elementary

Tami Dunlap, Sierra Heights Elementary

Emily Piutau, Tiffany Park Elementary

Maria Wolcott, Sierra Heights Elementary

Ashley Serra, Tiffany Park Elementary

Gail Cochrane, Sierra Heights Elementary

Kristyn Strauss, Hazelwood Elementary

Hannah Jorgensen, Hazelwood Elementary

Angela Coleman, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Ann Poetker, Talbot Hill Elementary

Sara Dahmen, Talbot Hill Elementary

Benjamin Crandall, Talbot Hill Elementary

Mary Peterson, Sierra Heights Elementary


Outstanding Secondary Teachers

Elizabeth Laux, McKnight Middle School

Roger Miron, Lindbergh High School

Alyssa Sheway, Lindbergh High School

Ryann Reagan, Risdon Middle School

Benjamin Nutu, Risdon Middle School

Natalia Schroeder, Hazen High

Breanne Lawson, Renton High School

Yekaterina Tereshina, Nelsen Middle School

Christina Neuschwander, Renton High School

David Niimi, McKnight Middle School

Kyle Willis. McKnight Middle School

Christopher Dubois, Renton High School

Damion Heintschel, Lindbergh High School

Mario Pilapil, Dimmitt Middle School

Lori McEwen, Talley High School

Sharon Olsen, McKnight Middle School

Terri Barlow, Renton High School

David Keniston, Risdon Middle School

Gayle Swannack, Dimmitt Middle School

Cindi Samsel, Hazen High School

Brian Hoskins, Lindbergh High School

Wendell Ellis, McKnight Middle School

Penelopy Perkins, Lindbergh High School

Helen Fugich-Thompson, Nelsen Middle School

Katherine Magat, Nelsen Middle School

Karan Mahna, Hazen High School

Josh Willecke, Renton High School

Michael King, Renton High School

Joseph Bento, Renton High School

Michelle Verity, Nelsen Middle School

Jedidiah Micheal, Renton High School

Mikaela Southern, Risdon Middle School

Yantra Bertelli, Renton Academy

Jared Detamore, McKnight Middle School

Teresa Hundelt, Risdon Middle School

Tom Walker, Hazen High School

Christopher Coy, Hazen High School

Melissa Gollegly, Hazen High School

Outstanding Building Support

Adam Swinney, Dimmitt Middle School

Rafael Robinson, Tiffany Park Elementary

Lisa Roberson, Renton High School

Gary Stallman, Kennydale Elementary

David Nelson, Lindbergh High School

Dominique Smith, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Julie Faulkner, Tiffany Park Elementary

Tracey Tymczyszyn, Hazelwood Elementary

Sara Kamla, Lakeridge Elementary

Keira Edwards, McKnight Middle School

Terri Woodrow, Cascade Elementary

Lawrence Williams, Cascade Elementary

Joseph Nawar, Lindbergh High

Rekeda Rountree, Sartori Elementary

Gazalle Willecke, Nelsen Middle School

Shawnez Graham, Campbell Hill Elementary

Jeffray Mitchell, Lakeridge Elementary

Steve Kempf, Maplewood Heights Elementary

Stephen Rencher, Lindbergh High

Madelene Matthews, Hazen High School

Nina Munoz, Sierra Heights Elementary

Susan Fish, Benson Hill Elementary

Glisenys Heyward, Renton High

Dilcia Miller, Benson Hill Elementary

Donelle Tyler, Meadow Crest Early Learning Center

Tiffany Smith, Renton High School

Natalie Riley, Nelsen Middle School

Rashad Medley, Dimmitt Middle School

Outstanding District Support

Brian Goddard, Student Information Services

Rita Baccus, Athletics Dept.

Cheri Eckstein, Dept. Learning & Teaching

Kevin Smith, Career Technical Education

Audita Brockett, Categorical Programs

Shirley Macey, Transportation