NCESD Staff Awards Luncheon 2023

Published On: June 28th, 2023|Categories: Agency News, Awards, News|
NCESD Staff Awards Luncheon 2023

Each year, the NCESD takes the time to acknowledge team members who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate what it truly means to lead, serve, and support. Throughout the year, these individuals have shown up with positive attitudes, exceptional team spirit, and displayed strong “servant leadership”. Congratulations to all of the recipients of the 2023 NCESD Staff Awards!

Each description below was submitted by a member of the NCESD team when they nominated the individual.

Visionary Leadership in Service Award

Award recipients lead confidently with innovative and effective solutions, adaptability, advocacy, and commitment to deliver exceptional service to students, superintendents, and districts.

Pictured Left to Right: Bill Eagle, Suzanne Reister, Debbie Cook, and Anna Troutman

Anna Troutman – Board Certified Behavioral Analyst
“Anna has been a part of creating a successful program in MASH to serve students in our state who are in the most need. Her organization, vision and action have made it happen. Washington is so lucky to have her coordinating and advocating for kids through MASH.”


Bill Eagle – Student Success and Learning Associate Director
“Bill is committed to the success of each of our districts.  His unwavering, do whatever it takes attitude & humble personality allowed him to successfully serve as the interim superintendent of the Wenatchee School District.  During this time, the district faced many challenges that he lead through with transparency and excellent communication but he also kept the focus on the district strategic plan and continuing the momentum on initiatives that are designed to improve outcomes for students of the Wenatchee School District.”  


Debbie Cook – Business Manager Trainer
“This role is perfect for Debbie. She has labs to assist the business managers in our region. I hear her often helping them on zoom or on a group zoom. She is very precise and perfect for this role; she is a wealth of knowledge. She even tries to make it fun by including a few corny jokes to keep everything light hearted. I think her leadership is what was needed for our region’s business managers.”


Suzanne Reister – Executive Director, Human Resources
“I know NCESD has a lot of employees who are committed to delivering excellent service, but no one personifies this example more so than Suzanne. Working alongside her for these almost 6 years I have been constantly impressed by the amount of time and effort she puts into her work. I have never been around someone who cares as deeply or puts as much effort and passion into our schools than Suzanne. At times I don’t know if I would even call it work for her; it is her all encompassing mission to provide unmatched service, support and advocacy for our schools.”

Outstanding Service Award

Award recipients commit to continual improvement of quality services or delivery of services to districts which will assist in the district’s ability to ignite student learning in our communities.

Pictured Left to Right: Emily Bushouse, Heather Kelly, Carrie Reece, Frank Pecka, and Suzette Ellis


Carrie Reece – Teacher of the Deaf
“Carrie joined NCESD in a new position as Teacher of the Deaf for the whole region. It was a somewhat impossible job to go out and find all of the Deaf and hard of hearing students in 29 schools and then develop a service model plan. And… she hit it out of the park! She is a wonderful advocate for students and their families, she takes kids on field trips to explore a local Deaf community, she finds ASL interpreters in every nook and cranny of our region, all while continuing to be an incredible teacher.”


Emily Bushouse – Special Education Behavioral Inclusion Coach
“Emily has brought so much depth to our special services department. Her background and experiences have helped fill some of our gaps. She is a great resource but also a great service provider, and we look forward to her having more opportunities to walk beside our districts as they improve their MTSS and PBIS systems and provide teachers with classroom management toolkits.”


Frank Pecka – Systems Technician
“Frank is a person who would rather stay out of the spotlight. He prefers to quietly work behind the scenes, constantly striving to find better and more efficient systems for his team and the districts they serve. Our schools have benefited from his diligence and effort time and time again, and it’s possible they don’t even know he’s the reason their work is getting done faster, and better.”


Suzette Ellis – Student Software Support Analyst
“Suzette joined the Student Records Team just a little over a year ago. She joined the team knowing Skyward from the end-user perspective but didn’t realize how much more there is to the Analyst position. I was told when I was hired that you need a solid 3 years to learn the ins and outs of the job. I have witnessed Suzette cramming 3 years of learning into one. She is a hard  worker and so eager to learn and take care of the Skyward and Qmlativ users in our region. She is not the one to shy away from a challenge.”


GLAD Team – Cyndy Valdez, Kate Austin, Kathy Anderson, Nadya Bush, and Terri Goveia

“These ladies are all trying to ignite student learning through assisting in GLAD Preschool, other Migrant opportunities, and observations to assist EWU and other districts. They are a great team with a wealth of knowledge to assist the districts in our region.”

Pictured Left to Right: Kathy Anderson, Kate Austin, and Cyndy Valdez

Outstanding Support Award

Award recipients exhibit an exceptionally positive attitude when working with fellow employees and district staff. Recipients serve as the catalyst or spark that creates extraordinary results.

Pictured Left to Right: Liz Williams, Blaine Pellegrini, Hunter McLeod, and Stacy Kostelnik


Blaine Pellegrini – Desktop Support Technician

“I’m convinced that, if you were to Google Image Search “outstanding support”, the result returned may actually be Blaine’s face. Blaine is like a tech support superhero, without the cape. He possesses all the qualities that make a support person truly exceptional, and then some: He’s patient, kind, knowledgeable, efficient, and just so good at his job. Blaine’s always-present smile and laid back attitude make him so approachable. He’s always ready to lend a hand, and he never gives the impression that he’s too busy to assist someone. Trust me, he’s got a schedule busier than a bee in a field of flowers, yet he manages to be there for everyone every time he’s needed.”

Blaine also received the Relationships Award. Congratulations Blaine!


Heather Kelly – School Psychologist

“As a school psychologist, Heather has been a catalyst for helping the schools she works with determine when and if threat assessments should be conducted. Not only has she spent time learning how to help encourage schools to implement threat assessments, but has volunteered time to be a level 2 community partner on threat assessment teams utilizing her mental health knowledge to provide a very important professional lens that is needed as we find ways to come around our students and support them.”


Hunter McLeod – Threat Assessment Coordinator

“Hunter has not only developed outstanding relationships with the districts she serves but has been recognized as a leader in threat assessment work across the state.  She brings a great deal of energy to the work, has great communication, and easily connects across disciplines.”


Liz Williams – Early Intervention (B-3) Social Worker

“Liz has been a positive support to families and the early intervention birth to three team. She has dedicated her time to working with early intervention families that are dealing with stressors, grief, child welfare, and personal barriers. She is truly making a difference in helping families overcome challenges and increasing parent and caregiver confidence. I’ve seen first-hand how patient and kind Liz is with all our families. She is attentive to detail and a great listener. Liz helps us understand the barriers a family may be facing, and provides support so parents and caregivers can be engaged in therapy.”


Raquel Ellis – Administrative Assistant for Special Education Services

“Raquel is the backbone of our team. She is the one who makes sure that everything happens. She is the one who people call with emergencies and she handles it. She is the one who booked out of state conferences for 25 people or more this school year and pulled it off without a hitch. Our team is grateful for her competence and her kindness.”


Stacy Kostelnik – Student Records Coordinator

“I always knew Stacy was amazing, before she even joined the Student Team. She has been and continues to be just wonderful with her team but most importantly with the Skyward and Qmlativ users in the school districts in our region. Stacy is such a driven individual and will continue to achieve great things. Stacy built Pinnacles Prep Charter School in Qmlativ from ground up and she continues to walk with them hand in hand to ensure they are successful.”

Extraordinary Accomplishment Award

Award recipients hold themselves accountable for their efforts and measurable results, including dependability and follow through. They continue to look for ways to grow.

Pictured Left to Right: Crystal Fickey, Francisco Anaya, Jason Williams, and Tamar Burns


Crystal Fickey – Student Assistance Program Coordinator

“Crystal is so thoughtful in her approach to supervision of staff and stewardship of our program services in our schools. There are so many nuances and relationships to learn and grow into as a SAP Coordinator, and Crystal deeply acknowledges the growth and complexity inherent in her role with our partners and our personnel. Crystal keeps an eye on our program evaluation data to assist our Student Assistance Professionals to meet their goals for student success.”

Crystal also received the Relationships Award. Congratulations Crystal!


Francisco Anaya – Warehouse Refurbishment Assistant

“Francisco shows up every work day with a genuine smile, ready to accomplish any task required at the Materials Center. He does this with exceptional workmanship, sharing his ideas and lending his many talents to the workplace in accomplishing each one with proficiency and ease. The task he accomplishes for the entire science team delivering and picking up science kits 3 times per year  is very physical, strenuously fast paced and extremely time sensitive. Francisco has distinguished himself, going above and beyond to accomplish all of these tasks with excellence and genuine hard work.”


Jason Williams – Director of Finance

“Jason has completed his masters degree this year, we all know that isn’t easy while being a full time dad along with the extraordinary work he does for us here at the ESD.”


Tamar Burns – Payroll Manager Trainer

“Tamar is amazing at payroll and with answering questions. She is so helpful to the districts in our region. We have many new payroll staff in the districts, and having her wealth of knowledge has really made NCESD the one for districts to contact for assistance.”

Relationships Award

Builds great relationships with staff and/or customers, based on integrity and trust. Is easily or highly approachable. Their actions and conduct reflect the highest standards of honesty and ethics in relationships.

Pictured Left to Right: Gaby Fernandez, Ana Bernal, and Nikkie Maceda


Ana Bernal – Early Intervention (B-3) Special Education Teacher

“Ana is one of the most passionate educators I’ve ever met. She holds herself to the highest standard when it comes to the interactions and relationships she builds with our B-3 families in Grant County. She is motivated to help children and families meet their goals while never being afraid or hesitant to meet them right where they are in the present moment. She has a unique ability to recognize and celebrate the imperfect human-ness of those we serve, helping them to truly feel understood and encouraged in their journey.”


Gaby Fernandez – Family & Student Engagement Specialist

“Gaby provides outstanding customer service. She engages in and supports activities that nurture and inspire innovation and creativity. She actively partners with the NCESD team, our region’s schools, and the community to best support students.”


Jesenia Cifuentes – Early Intervention (B-3) Family Resource Coordinator

“Jesenia is such an asset to the Early Intervention (B-3) team. Her compassion and motivation to help others is consistently present in both her relationships and interactions with the team and with the families we serve. Jesenia is always striving to improve and she sets an incredible example of how to have difficult conversations in a respectful, professional way that promotes positive communication on all levels. She is often one of the first contacts families have with the EI program, and she uses this opportunity to provide families with understanding, encouragement and most importantly – hope, about their children’s futures and the amazing things they’ll be able to accomplish!”


Nikkie Maceda – External Business Manager

“Nikkie joined our team this past year and hit the ground running! She has tackled some really challenging and sensitive situations all while working hard to build positive relationships with the districts she works with. She is honest and fair in her communication about what she needs to be successful in supporting districts, and she has become an integral partner to them.”

Staff Anniversary Recognition

In addition to the awards above, employees celebrating milestone anniversaries at the NCESD were recognized during the event. Congratulations to the following team members who make the NCESD what it is!

Pictured Left to Right: Melissa Trammell, Heather Kelly, Jane Schuyleman, Kayla Langston, Darcy Johnson, Bill Eagle, Rudy Anaya, Leticia Mendoza, and Greg King

Pictured: Teresa Cook

Pictured: Kevin Knoll

Pictured: Janelle Bersch

Pictured: Barb Nuxoll

30 Year Anniversary

Barb Nuxoll, Professional Services Team Leader

20 Year Anniversary

Janelle Bersch, Managing Director of Early Learning

15 Year Anniversary

Kevin Knoll, Managing Director of Network Services

10 Year Anniversary

Teresa Cook, Lead Student Software Support Analyst

5 Year Anniversary

  • Bill Eagle, Associate Director Student Success & Learning
  • Darcy Johnson, Associate Director Student Success & Learning
  • Erika Cleverly, Speech Language Pathologist Assistant
  • Greg King, Network Engineer II
  • Heather Kelly, School Psychologist
  • Jane Schuyleman, Administrative Assistant
  • Kayla Langston, Administrative Assistant
  • Leticia Mendoza, Speech Language Pathologist Assistant
  • Lisa Monahan, STEM Coordinator
  • Mellisa Trammell, Board Certified Behavioral Analyst
  • Raquel Ellis, Administrative Assistant
  • Rudy Anaya, Maintenance Technician

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NCESD Staff Awards Luncheon 2023