Martha Wisdom, a Migrant Records Clerk for the Tonasket School District, was named the 2019 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced.
Martha is a Migrant Records Clerk at Tonasket Middle School in North Central Educational Service District 171. She started her career in education as a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico before moving to Washington and working with students in Okanogan County.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal recognized the nine Regional Classified School Employees of the Year and announced the winner at a ceremony in the Old Capitol Building in Olympia. They were joined by their families, friends, colleagues, and legislators, as well as representatives from the state’s educational service districts and various education associations.
“Martha’s impact ripples through generations, and she is known as a trusted advocate and respected collaborator in her school and community,” Reykdal said. “Thank you, Martha, for everything you do to create a welcoming environment for students and families.”
Martha has a passion for helping migrant and bilingual students. She has spent the past nine summers helping to develop and implement a home-based Migrant/Bilingual Summer School program to help students avoid summer learning loss.
The summer school program has grown from eight students in the first year, to serving nearly 150 students last summer. Martha works in many capacities on the project, including recruiting both students and teachers for the program, helping design and test curriculum, entering growth data, and more. The program is known for bringing strong family engagement and positive academic outcomes for students.
“Martha’s role, hard work, and endless dedication to the Hispanic students and families in our communities is heartwarming,” said Tonasket Middle School Principal Kristi Krieg. “She has helped create a culture where families and students feel welcome, supported, and encouraged to be their best.”
Martha’s work extends outside of the school and students, though. After three years of trying, Bacilisa Covarrubias and Enrique Rivera’s daughter was having a hard time graduating. When she returned to Tonasket, Martha took charge to help her finish. After helping their daughter graduate, Martha began to work with Bacilisa and Enrique to help them finish their education as well.
“Ms. Wisdom brought information about the High School Equivalence Program and encouraged us to continue with our education,” said Bacilisa. “She helped us with registration and encouraged us to try no matter what other people say. I am proud of my husband and I, because we only need to pass one more test in order to obtain our GED.”
At the ceremony in Olympia, OSPI Chief of Staff Jamila B. Thomas recognized the regional finalists and presented each of them with a custom-made award from Hilltop Artists in Tacoma. Finalists were selected by their regional educational service district (ESD).
The Regional Classified School Employees of the Year are:
- Gayle Capsel, Snug Harbor Childcare Coordinator, ESD 113, Aberdeen School District, Harbor High School
- Denise Daniels, Assistant Director of Equity, Outreach, and Engagement; Puget Sound ESD 121; Auburn School District
- Stephanie Doebbler, Receptionist and Registrar, Olympic ESD 114, Quileute Tribal School
- Robin Hendrickson, Library Paraprofessional, Northeast ESD 101, Pullman School District, Franklin Elementary
- Zita Moser, Preschool and Title I Paraeducator, Northwest ESD 189, Sedro-Woolley School District, Sedro-Wooley High School and Central Elementary
- Vickie Rogers, Health Clinician, RN; ESD 123; Walla Walla School District
- Lola Sarsfield, Paraeducator, ESD 105, Mt. Adams School District
- Marie Stalsberg, Computer Guided Study Staff Assistant, ESD 112, Evergreen School District, Mountain View High School