The Mercer Island School District recently announced the winners of multiple annual staff awards.
Creighton Laughary, High School Teacher of Year
Creighton has taught English for 18 years at the Mercer Island High School and is currently co-department chair. He also served as head wrestling coach for 11 years.
Principal Vicki Puckett praised Creighton as a humble professional who works with his students and all of their individual needs. She said she appreciates most the care Creighton has for others, his leadership among staff, and his approachable professional demeanor to all who come into contact with him.
Students love Creighton for his high energy, his passion for teaching English, and his sense of humor.
Jessica Steinle, Middle School Teacher of the Year
Jessica Steinle has taught math at Islander Middle School since 2004. Co-principals Mary Jo Budzius and Aaron Miller say she has high expectation of all her students and provides ample opportunities for students to come in and get extra help.
She is sensitive to kids and what is happening in their lives both in and out of school. She is concerned and reflective about her teaching and learning. She is creative, humorous, forward thinking and good for kids.
Stacy Smedberg, Elementary Teacher of the Year
Stacy Smedberg has taught in the district since 2009 and is the physical education teacher at Northwood Elementary. She is described by Principal Aimee Batliner-Gillette as a caring, warm, welcoming, and inclusive educator.
She is diligent in her efforts to get to know each child’s needs, adjusting and adapting her P.E. instruction and activities to make learning accessible and to engage each child’s body and mind.
Tony Ham, custodian, Northwood Elementary, Support Staff of the Year
Tony Ham is a critical part of the Northwood community. He maintains very high standards to keep the school safe, clean, and high-functioning for students, staff, and parents.
He connects positively with students throughout the school day, getting to know them and engaging with them at lunches and across the campus. He has built a cadre of helpers, enlisting students to help clean up the Commons and instilling in them the sense of pride he feels in caring for our building and the people within it.
Kathleen Long, Human Resources Coordinator, Support Staff of the Year
Kathleen is amazing, say Erin Battersby, senior director and Rosie Burns, director of HR. She wears many hats and juggles many responsibilities in her role.
When District staff and job candidates contact HR, Kathleen is always very helpful and kind to whomever needs assistance. Her detail orientation is unparalleled. She can be counted on to do what needs to be done and she adds special touches that enhance the culture of our central office.
Jessie Ong, paraprofessional, Island Park Elementary, Support Staff of the Year
Jessie Ong is a professional, talented and hard-working member of the Island Park Staff.
During the year, Jessie has performed a myriad of duties that included working one to one with children who need assistance, remedial teaching, or catching up from being absent.
Positivity, kindness and patience radiates from her smiling face as she greets students in the morning and throughout the day she makes their day better as they silently slide next to her for a hug.