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EMS PTSA Awards

Each year, Evergreen PTSA seeks community input for recognizing outstanding volunteers, staff and community members at Evergreen for their contributions. We received many nominations for each category. Some nominees received multiple nominations. We thank all the nominees for their service towards our school community. Each of you are a winner in our eyes. Following are the award categories the EMS PTSA grants. We have included excerpts from the nominations for each winner. 

WALTER J. FERGUSON AWARD

When Evergreen Jr. High (now Evergreen Middle School) opened its doors in the fall of 1982, Mr. Ferguson was the principal who had been chosen to lead the new staff and students. He began teaching at Kirkland Jr. High in 1956 after receiving a degree in history from Western Washington University. After earning a Master’s Degree he became a vice principal, then principal of KJH. In 1972 he moved to Rose Hill Jr. High to serve as their principal, where he remained until he was chosen to be Evergreen’s planning principal. Not only was Mr. Ferguson admired and respected within our school district, but he also provided leadership at the state level as president of the Washington Jr. High and Middle School Principals Association.

The Walter J. Ferguson Service Award is given in recognition of the vision he had for Evergreen. It is to be awarded to a teacher or staff member who exemplifies the high standards he set. He believed that learning should be enjoyable and that Evergreen students should receive the very best educational opportunity possible.

OUTSTANDING ADVOCATE AWARD

The Outstanding Advocate Award was established in 2004 to recognize an individual for their advocacy and commitment in helping to create strong policies relating to the health, welfare, safety and education of children and youth. Recipients receive a certificate and pin, and a contribution is made in their name to the WSPTA Scholarship Program that benefits students.

Winner of the Outstanding Advocate Award

Denise Ozeri

Ms. Ozeri has been a school counselor for 10 years, all of them at Evergreen. She has served on the Building Leadership Team, helped coordinate the WEB program, and served as the building's counselor liaison for High School and Beyond, SBIRT, Operation School Bell, AVID and Pantry Packs.

Prior to being a school counselor, Ms. Ozeri was a social worker for the King County Work Training Program and King County Superior Court (Juvenile Court Division). She started her career as a support staff member in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities.

Here is testimonial from a parent, explaining why Ms. Ozeri is so deserving of this award:

"Ms. Ozeri exemplifies courage, truth and kindness for our middle school students during this trying pandemic time. Misunderstandings with teachers and other students seems to be part of a middle schooler's growing experience, especially for a very social 13-year-old like my daughter. Ms. Ozeri responded consistently and always so timely. She was there for her. She listened. She counseled. She connected my daughter to resources. She helped her see other people's perspective, think through solutions, and supported her actions toward resolving the conflicts. My daughter is learning healthier coping skills. She is learning about social gender boundaries and working with systems to report and correct wrongs. Ms. Ozeri encouraged personal strength, doing the right thing, and showed respect for her, the situation she was going through, and for all the people involved. Because of Ms. Ozeri's dedication, she has made a significant difference in my daughter's life. Thank you, Ms. Ozeri."

OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD

This unique Washington State PTA award recognizes any school or community member who does an exceptional job of providing educational opportunities for our students.  An educator may be defined as a teacher, assistant, custodian, bus driver, administrator, or PTSA/community member.  This person is a positive role model for our students who goes beyond the normal scope of their job to create an outstanding educational environment.  Evergreen PTSA will make a donation in the name of the recipient of this award to the Washington State PTA Grant Foundation for post secondary education scholarships. 

Winners of the OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD

Terri Gonzalez

Ms. Gonzalez has been a paraeducator for 18 years, 10 of them at Evergreen. She works tirelessly as a para in the Intervention Center, which is one of the toughest jobs in the district. Ms. Gonzalez is often one of the first people in the building in the morning and one of the last to leave. She is known for her dedication to her students and as someone who helps them see and build success. She is considered by her fellow staff as indispensable, supportive, and as someone who's always willing to lend you a hand—all the while with a smile on her face.

In addition to teaching, Ms. Gonzalez serves on the Building Leadership Team and as a coach for EMS sports. This year, she was a head coach for cross-country, badminton and volleyball, and an assistant coach for basketball. She has also coached track and intramurals.

Ms. Gonzalez currently serves as a union representative for the Teamsters Union, supporting and advocating for paras across the district.

One of her fellow staff members says: "Terri is an amazing partner. I consider it an honor and a privilege to work with her every day and cannot imagine anyone more worthy of this award."

Nick Woehlbrandt

Mr. Woehlbrandt has been teaching for 10 years, with 7 of them at EMS. He currently serves as the Science department head and as a Building Leadership Team rep. Before coming to the Lake Washington School District, he worked in the Seattle School District for more than 8 years.

Prior to teaching, he worked with students as a basketball coach, a counselor at the Boys and Girls Club, a lifeguard, and at several other outdoor education programs.

Mr. Woehlbrandt is known among his students as being kind and supportive, having great energy, and making learning fun. He cares about his students and, even while teaching online during the pandemic, he kept his students engaged. Mr. Woehlbrandt's passion for science is infectious, and we are so fortunate to have him at EMS teaching our children.

GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD 

This award is unique to our school community.  It was established in 1995 to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their continued and dedicated service to students at EMS.  An individual receiving this award is a positive role model.  He or she goes above and beyond the call to encourage the success of our students, in turn making Evergreen a better place for all.

Winner of the GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD

Liying Cai

This year, we have been extremely lucky to have Liying serve as our PTSA's Vice President of Enrichment.

Liying is meticulous in her work and consistently goes above and beyond to help and support her PTSA club chairs and students. She's always willing to assist anyone who needs a hand. She is completely dedicated to our enrichment program and is constantly striving to improve it.

We are very fortunate to have Liying on our team! 

GOLDEN ACORN AWARD 

This is the highest award the PTSA gives to honor an individual who has consistently demonstrated outstanding service to all children in the Evergreen community.  This award recipient has made the commitment to helping children and youth in many areas of the community, over and above the responsibilities of an office or job.  A contribution will be made by our PTSA in the name of the Golden Acorn Award recipient to the Washington State PTA Grant Foundation which in turn funds scholarships to high school seniors for post-secondary education. 

Winner of the GOLDEN ACORN AWARD

Wei Luo

Wei has served as chair of the EMS PTSA's Robotics Club for the past 3 years. She has devoted countless hours to the club, holding weekly meetings with students, organizing tournaments, and traveling with our teams to competitions. Most recently, she accompanied 6 EMS teams to the 2022 VEX World Championship where they received a total of 8 awards, including the prestigious Excellence Award. Wei is even returning next year as chair even though she will no longer have a child attending EMS!

In addition, Wei has served as our PTSA's Co-Treasurer, Executive Vice President and Co-President this year. She has also volunteered for numerous other school and PTSA events during her time at EMS. We are thankful for Wei's leadership as well as her many contributions to the EMS community.

 2.8.68  |  6900 208th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98053  |  425 936-2320  |  Lake Washington School District