Natalie Pate, Statesman Journal
An earlier version of this story was corrected Friday, November 4, 2016. The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation organized the Crystal Apple Awards.
Selfless. Humble. Genuine. The type of person who wouldn't expect an award, but deserves it more than anyone.
That's how those who nominated Dinah Walsh, office manager at the Career Technical Education Center, for a Crystal Apple Award spoke of her.
"As an employee of any school district, you work as hard as you can with one goal in mind: to impact the lives of students in the most positive way possible," wrote Mariah Fleener,
Walsh's co-worker, in her nomination essay. "(Walsh) is selfless, kind, genuine, and always has students' best interest at heart. "Nothing she does is for recognition or for the expectation of praise, but rather for the pure satisfaction of helping others succeed."
Walsh was one of 13 education professionals from the Salem-Keizer School District who were honored Thursday night at the 2016 Crystal Apple Awards, all of whom received equally glowing recommendations.
The Crystal Apple Awards, organized by the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation, is like the Oscars of local education.
Arriving nominees are treated each year to a red carpet walk, as well as live music from the Flextones.
Not to mention, all in attendance dress to the nines, corsages and boutonnieres included, and "fans" show up to cheer on their favorite nominees as they enter.
The event recognizes local educators, like Walsh, who provide students with educational options, go beyond their regular job duties to benefit students and demonstrate best practices.
The recipients — including teachers at all levels, education professionals and office personnel — were chosen from a list of 47 nominees, and honored before a full house at Salem’s Historic Elsinore Theatre.
This year was the 20th annual awards ceremony.
And like years past, there was no lack of love, support and pizazz at this year's event. Hundreds filled the theatre; the energy was contagious.
Tom Hewitt, retired drama teacher, served as emcee for the event, as he did last year.
He brought the house down with attendees roaring with laughter at his school-related jokes and Carpool Karaoke intro. The audience cracked up and cheered as he read SJ Kids responses.
The awards were presented by Brent Neilsen, president of the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation; Christy Perry, superintendent of Salem-Keizer School District; Scott White, president of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce; and Jim Bauer, president of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce.
The seventh annual Crystal Apple Business partner award recipient was Roth’s Fresh Markets. Tim Jennings, general manager, accepted the award on Roth’s behalf.
As tears were shed, cheers were shouted and hugs were given, the final lesson was learned — these educators received the big "Thank you" they deserve.
“This event is truly about honoring outstanding teaching professionals who touch the lives of children," Hewitt said. "Our entire community appreciates the time, resources and energy needed to provide an exceptional education for every child, every day.”
Natalie Pate, Statesman Journal
September 20, 2016
The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation awarded nearly $40,000 to local teaching professionals at its 2016 Innovation Grant Award Ceremony last week.
The grants will fund projects meant to enhance learning for elementary, middle and high school, according to the foundation.
The innovation grants were created 35 years ago. Funding for the grants is generated from the Awesome 3000 proceeds.
Teacher grants were awarded to fund six special projects across the district this year.
Another $5,000 was granted for AVID,Achievement via Individual Determination, to support the expansion and sustainability of the program; the Parent/Teacher Home Visit Projectwas awarded $3,500.
The 2016 Susan Gleason Award was awarded to teacher Sherry Waters of Scott Elementary School. Her project is titled "Playworks Team Up" at Scott Elementary School and will focus on "leveraging the power of safe fun and healthy play at recess everyday."
The Susan Gleason Award honors the memory of a Salem-Keizer Education Foundation founding director and is the most prestigious grant the foundation presents, according to the foundation.
2016-2017 grants awarded to Salem-Keizer schools:
1. Closing the Achievement Gap for Students with Disabilities through Data/Technology,Award Amount: $7,090
2. Educational Robotics,Award Amount: $1,441.82
3. Restorative Practices: Conflict Resolution & Peer Mediation,Award Amount: $1,021
4. Students of Classroom 206,Award Amount: $8,689.65
5. Leveraging Afterschool STEM Education to Connect the Elementary School Communities,Award Amount: $7,000