May 2023 Employee Excellence Awards

The following employees were selected to receive May 2023 Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the May 9 school board meeting.

Isabel Azcarraga, spanish teacher at Fort Vancouver High School
Tammi Hoffman, teacher at Sacajawea Elementary School
Rose Nelson, K-12 social studies TOSA, curriculum department
Kirk Pettersen, CTE technology teacher at Discovery Middle School
Lisa Rhodes, speech/language pathologist at Vancouver Early Childhood Education Center

The Excellence Award is given to five employees and/or small teams from October to June each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.

ISABEL AZCARRAGA, spanish teacher
Fort Vancouver High School

Isabel Azcarraga is an exceptional high school Spanish teacher at Fort Vancouver High School whose passion for the dual-language program is contagious. She makes learning engaging and exciting for students by using fun materials and real-world Spanish media. Isabel takes the time to listen to every student and ensure they are doing well in class, making her an inspiring and helpful teacher. We appreciate all that she does for her students and the positive impact she has on their language education.

Sacajawea Elementary School

Tammi Hoffman is an enthusiastic and dedicated third-grade teacher who has volunteered in various roles at Sacajawea Elementary for over 20 years, including serving as a liaison with the PTA, coaching sports teams every season, and providing supervision support to student clubs. One nominator shares, “Tammi doesn’t seek attention or recognition, but her extraordinary efforts deserve to be acknowledged.” She embodies the spirit of the award, and her passion for teaching and caring for our students will continue to make a significant difference.

ROSE NELSON, K-12 social studies TOSA
Curriculum Department

Rose Nelson has had a significant impact on Vancouver Public Schools. As the District’s social studies TOSA, she co-wrote Teaching with Primary Sources grants to raise almost $200,000, which have been used to bring historians and experts to teach small groups of teachers the latest historical thinking. Rose also revamped the District’s Instructional Materials Approval process, making it easier for staff to nominate books and materials for consideration and offering more culturally responsive selections. In addition to all of this amazing innovation, Rose is just a joy to work with—a wonderful example of the very best VPS has to offer.

KIRK PETTERSEN, CTE technology teacher
Discovery Middle School

Kirk PettersonKirk Petterson is an extraordinary teacher at Discovery Middle School, who teaches the CTE Technology exploration lab and ensures that each rotation is tailored to the individual needs, interests, and abilities of every student. He helps students with forecasting and promotes high school magnet programs and programs of choice. Kirk uses interest surveys and research to make it easy for students to visualize their futures beyond middle school and he brings scenarios and stories into each lesson to make learning hands-on and real-world. Kirk’s humor, imagination, and quick thinking really engage our middle school students. Thank you, Kirk!

LISA RHODES, speech/language pathologist
Vancouver Early Childhood Education Center

Lisa Rhodes is a remarkable speech-language pathologist who goes above and beyond to create a warm and welcoming environment for the children and families she works with. Lisa’s caring nature and sincere approach instantly make children and families feel comfortable and happy, even during times of nervousness and fear. Her flexibility and understanding make her a standout team member who is deeply cared for by her colleagues. Lisa’s professionalism, knowledge, intelligence, and thoughtfulness, combined with her dedication to ensuring that children and families receive the support they need, make her an invaluable asset to the team and VPS.