2018 Honorees

Barb Bamford

Barb has an unfathomable passion for education and supporting students. Her work has created a district-wide culture of college dreams for students at the secondary level. One nominator described her as the epitome of relational capacity with an impact that has a ripple effect in support of all educational professionals and students within the school district.

From inspiring students preparing to speak before their graduating class to her passionate work to close the achievement gap in preparing all students for success in a global society this honoree has a love of education that she selflessly shares with those around her.

As the district AVID coordinator, Barb Bamford provides support for all Salem-Keizer students in achieving the goal of college and career readiness. She works closely with AVID coordinators and administrative teams at each of the district’s middle and high schools in supporting and developing systems that assist all students in planning for their post-graduation success.

Her work with AVID has created a district wide culture that supports students realizing their dreams. By spearheading the alignment and support for AVID elective teachers to ensure that students are receiving rigorous instruction in preparation for their journey after high school.

Through Barb’s strategic planning and professional development trainings with staff and leadership teams, she has provided the support and tools to give students the environment and skills to unlock any door they are determined to go through.

Barb consistently takes every opportunity to encourage teachers and student to see their potential and used what she has learned with AVID in other interactions she has with the district. Her passion for instruction, literacy and college readiness has been an asset for the district.

Congratulations, Barb Bamford for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Jacqueline Benavides

Jacqueline works passionately, enthusiastically and tirelessly to create an environment that allows all students to have academic success.  She establishes strong, meaningful connections with students and their families, providing a bridge that connects the community and school.  When students first arrive at the school (many times from diverse countries and challenging circumstances) her work begins. Students and their families are welcomed by her exuberant warmth and benefit from her knowledgeable guidance as she helps them through the enrollment process and introduces them to the community. Taking initiative in responding to needs and maximizing opportunities for students and their families comes naturally for her.

Jacqueline Benavides is the community school outreach coordinator at North Salem High School where she is constantly redefining her job duties based on the needs of the individual student or family that she is supporting.

In support of her nomination, her supervisor noted that Jacqueline is key to the ultimate vision for their parents: having them see the school not just as a school, but as a community center. Every time a parent steps into her office, they feel encouraged as Jacqueline guides and connects them to a variety of resources to meet even their most basic needs.

To ensure that families are informed about how to best support the academic success of their student, Jacqueline organizes regular evening events conducted in both Spanish and English.  Through these events, students learn about how to help their student prepare for graduation and apply for college.  She plays a vital role in informing first-generation college students and their families about the application process and assists them in obtaining scholarships and finding other resources to help these students realize their dreams.

Even after students have successfully graduated and are pursuing their university studies or professional careers, Jacqueline still finds time to mentor and support them.

Congratulations Jacqueline Benavides, for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Laura Hoagland

Laura is described as grounded in her mission to make sure the playing filed is level for even the most disadvantaged students. Running highly effective and engaging bilingual literacy groups throughout the day, students turn to her for support and she inspires them to give their all.

Colleagues describe her as very skilled at planning, delivering and assessing student needs. Students state that “she is there when she need her.” Known as the “ketchup lady” to students, she jumps at the chance to make sure students have all they need to be successful, including ketchup.

Laura Hoagland is a bilingual instructional assistant at Kennedy Elementary School, where she has worked for almost 30 years. In her role, she leads and supports a calm cafeteria for all Kennedy students.  She sees the cafeteria as her classroom as she works with and supports of 430 students over four lunches, every day. 

Over the last few years, Laura has worked closely with Kennedy staff and others to make Kennedy the first envoy certified cafeteria in the state of Oregon.  As a result of her efforts, Kennedy’s cafeteria is now a model for others in the district; demonstrating very specific systems and routines to ensure a positive and calm cafeteria environment.  Her efforts have reduced student anxiety levels, especially in students with special needs.

During her almost three decades working with students and their families, Laura has developed detailed lessons and behavior management approaches to reach all students. She has also developed an instructional assistant translation support program for fall and spring conferences to better support English language learners and their families.

Laura is described by colleagues as a woman of action and impact. Her acts of leadership and service to others as well as her tireless efforts to reach every student and interrupt the cycle of poverty in families is remarkable.

Congratulations, Laura Hoagland, for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Alyssa Darnell

Alyssa is fully committed to providing the best education possible to all of their students and inspires both staff and students to strive for their best.  Welcoming each day as an opportunity to make their school the best place it can be, she ignites a passion for learning and challenges all students to develop into inquisitive, respectful and collaborative individuals. Her dedication to life-long learning is evident through her own commitment to learn and grow professionally, but her passion is in helping her students succeed.

Alyssa Darnell is a dual language math and Spanish teacher at Parrish Middle School. As part of the dual language team, she teaches multiple levels of math in both English and Spanish.  In addition, she teaches Spanish classes as an elective for students and serves as the advisor for the mesa program at Parrish.

Modeling what it is to be a life long learning, Alyssa takes every opportunity available to her to continue to learn and grow her own skills.  She is currently working to become an envoy certified teacher; taking courses to deepen her skills at creating a calm, safe and focused learning environment for each student.  She has completed a healthy classroom workshops and spends her summers traveling to Guatemala and other Spanish speaking countries to improve her language proficiency.

One of the students who wrote in support of her nomination stated, “Mrs. Darnell made me like math in some ways, and love engineering and science. Now, today I am looking forward to studying as an aeronautical engineer or computer and information system manager… I accomplished what I am today because of Mrs. Darnell.” While Alyssa is excited to talk about the success of her students, she is quick to deflect the praise and give all of the credit to her students.

Fostering a growth mindset that encourages a positive outlook and facilitating tangible opportunities to allow students to envision themselves in a variety of career fields is Alyssa’s hallmark. Her passion for her students, language acquisition and the program are evident through her “ready for any challenge if it is what is best for her students” approach.

Congratulations, Alyssa Darnell, for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Beth Tinseth

Beth shows her enthusiasm and passion for teaching through positive verbal and non-verbal communication. High fives, hugs, smiles and talking with students by kneeling down to their eye level are ways this honoree makes a lasting impression of this honoree in the lives of their students.

One student who wrote in support of this honorees nomination said “I know I only had her as a teacher for one year, but she taught me skills that I will use for my whole life…she certainly taught me how to live life and helped me to accomplish my hopes and dreams.” Her continuing advocacy for her students has been felt by many and has more than once enacted a positive change in the community.

Beth Tinseth is a first-grade bilingual teacher at Myers Elementary School.  She impacts students learning by incorporating authors, music and her love of crafting into her bilingual classroom.  For many years, Beth has designed and written grants for bilingual curriculum so that her students would have memorable learning opportunities. Due to this commitment, she was recently selected as a DonorsChoose new teacher ambassador.

Some of the ways that Beth has used these grants include: stationary balls, wobble stools, wiggle seats and florescent light covers to help calm and refocus students. To benefit older and younger students, Beth facilitates high school peer mentors to come into the elementary classroom to support teachers and work with students on reading and math.

To support the cultural diversity of her classroom, Beth coordinates dual language nights where she brings in a variety of cultural performers to bring together all of the students and families in the Myers community. She uses her guitar and signing in the classroom to teacher and reinforce vocabulary and cultural facts with her students.

From making salsa and tortillas, to literacy themed nights, to Latin dance lessons, Beth has works tirelessly to bring our Spanish and English speaking families and communities together.

Congratulations, Beth Tinseth, for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Katrina Hull

Katrina’s nominator describes their classroom as one of the most vibrant, energetic and productive spaces on campus where you will find students highly engaged and developing the skills to become more independent and in charge of their own personal educational outcomes.

Through her nurturing and watchful eye her students learn that college is a possibility for them.  One of her students said that after seeing the support that was available for him, he knew that college would be possible for him and he would not be left behind.

Katrina Hull is math and engineering teacher at McKay High School where she uses real world applications and problem solving to help students reach their full potential.  Understanding that for engineering students to really learn how something works they must take it apart to see what is inside, she will wrap packages of items such as used cell phones and electronic toothbrushes that have been donated by friends for students to unwrap and then take apart. Through dismantling these items, they learn how they work and what needs to be done to make improvements.

One of her recent graduates stated that one of the things that makes Ms. Hull different from other teachers is that she was not just teaching them, but she was also learning right along with them.  By continually raising the bar, not only for her students, but for herself, she reinforces in her students that financial status does not determine success potential.

Katrina is a master teacher who has been active in supporting students and staff in and out of the classroom as she has successfully led the McKay math department over the last two years. She values and believes in access for all students and leverages her leadership to ensure this happens. 

As Katrina works to help students realized their dreams no matter what obstacles they may be facing, she actively recruits young women and students of color to participate in programs that have traditionally been dominated by other groups. Through her local and national networks, she has been able to bring in guest speakers who look like and have similar experiences to the students she is teaching.  Through these opportunities her students come to understand that they can achieve anything they set their mind to.

Congratulations, Katrina Hull, for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Brad Dixon

Brad is known to staff, students and families for his quiet and kind demeanor. By creating a learning environment that promotes academic achievement by developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with students and their families, he has students consistently risen to meet the high behavioral and academic expectations set for him. His special gift for educating the whole child, balancing compassion with high expectations, has Brad known among his peers as the “kid whisperer.”

Brad Dixon is a sixth-grade social studies, avid excel teacher and part time behavior support at Claggett Creek Middle School. Not only is Brad a master teacher he spends time making sure that through the content he is delivering, students are learning lifelong lessons to build character.

He uses his own experiences traveling, teaching and learning around the globe to help his students better understand other people, cultures, communities and traditions.

A part of the Claggett Creek community since the school opened, Brad has helped create a culture of growth and support that encourages students and teachers alike.  Although he does not seek public recognition, his leadership is not at all behind the scenes.  He is an active member of the avid site team, an avid elective teacher, and provides unyielding support for early career and veteran teachers alike through behavior support mentoring.

Just entering his classroom, you understand why Brad is such an effective educator, it is quite simple, in his classroom all students know that they belong.  Brad consistently exhibits an approach to teaching that is highly compassionate and motivating, intertwined with a sense of humor that engages students in their own learning process.  In the words of a former student, “Mr. Dixon is the teacher you look up to, he’s a person you’d want to be like someday.”

Congratulations, Brad Dixon for being selected as a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Chris Lieder

Chris is described by the person who nominated her as a person of many hats: business office assistant, development assistant, registrar, office manager, team mom, comedic relief, fill-in lunch lady, but most importantly friend. Ask her what their job is and she will simply say to take care of the students, but everything she does ensures students know they are cared for.

Dealing with everything from forgotten locker combinations to lost ids and schedule adjustments, Chris takes care of students with a positive attitude, a sympathetic ear and a little tough love.  Quite simply, without her, life at Blanchet would be a little less fun.

Chris Lieder is the registrar at Blanchet Catholic School where her kind heart and warm smile welcome students and their families. Chris treats each student like they are her own and they embrace her as their “school mom” often asking her advice, coming to them with their worries, and leaving her office feeling empowered to focus on school.

A former student said, “she was always a bright spot in my day because whenever class would let out and we had five minutes to get to class she made a pint of getting up for her desk and standing in the doorway of her office in the main hall greeting students and faculty as they would walk by…I take her example of compassion with me every day because I always remember how her simple act made me feel happy to be at school.”

Each time students have a need, Chris is there to help meet it.  She does not judge but guides and assists students and their families.  She has been instrumental in the development of so many students from teens into adulthood.  Her ability to talk to students as people, not at them makes her an asset to the Blanchet community.

Congratulations, Chris Lieder, for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Lisa McIntyre

Lisa is described as having a passion, enthusiasm, sense of humor, and willingness to really do whatever it takes to be a guiding light and inspiration for their students, staff, families and community partners.

A champion of academic and curricular activities, she has overseen the implementation of many wonderful programs that help students who face a variety of learning challenges to engage academically. A person of action who creates strategies, connects resources and shows the way so that others may be creative change makers who takes very little credit for the great things that happen around her.

Lisa McIntyre is the assistant principal at Roberts High School. Serving students who, for a variety of reason, need an alternative education route, Lisa has a hand in finding the right placement for students who are recommended to the Roberts program. She intensely studies each student’s transcript, attendance, history and discipline record to consider what alternative would best meet the students needs, even if that alternative is outside the district.

As one of her fellow administrators said, “She takes a student who is very discouraged and surrounds them with her positive mindset, saying ‘This is what you have, we’ll figure this out and we can get there.’ She never gives up on a kid until they find the right fit. It is totally about the individual, nothing else.”

When staff members come to Lisa with an idea to improve student engagement or success, she immediately becomes their cheerleader and the resource person to help make it happen. And when success happens, she is the first one there shaking hands, giving high-fives and celebrating with both students and staff.

Congratulations, Lisa McIntyre, for being selected as a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Phil Decker

Phil equates himself with a weeble wooble, because weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. He is a tough and resilient as they come but has an unwavering positivity and sense of fun that promotes an environment where students and staff feel at home.

He works with a high needs population; providing grace, understanding and hope to the families of his students who may be struggling.  In turn, these families have the utmost respect for him.

Phil Decker is the principal at Four Corners Elementary School where students struggle to succeed against the odds. Despite of the challenges facing his students at home, Phil ensures that four corners is a happy, welcoming place to work and learn. It is a safe haven where needs are met and students and families know they are cared for.

During the school day, Phil makes time to connect with the students.  He rewards their successes with Jenga games and lunch in his office, or by donning a silly hat and leading a conga line through the classroom. After school, you may find him involved in a scooter race with the night custodian or engaged in a rousing game of four square with the office staff. 

He has truly been an innovator in the district who has greatly improved academic growth at four corners. A second grader who wrote in support of Phil’s nomination said that the most important reason why Mr. Decker is the greatest principal is because he always makes everyone feel like he knows they are trying their best. He goes on to say that “if he doesn’t win, I will feel really sad because there isn’t a principal I have met that is better than him.” 

Congratulations, Phil Decker, for being selected as a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Mike Melting

Mike’s nominator noted that it would take a casual observer about sixty seconds in the classroom to figure out that he is all about the kids. A caring and generous educator whom students, parents and colleagues universally adore, he has a holistic approach to education.

No matter what the subject matter, he understands that kids need to have a connection to their school and their teachers to better master reading, writing, and arithmetic. A life-long learner, he inspires those around him to be a better person and served others at a higher standard.

Mike melting is an automotive teacher in McNary High School’s career and technical education program. After a successful career as a technician and manager in the automotive industry, Mike made the life-changing transition to become a high school teacher about ten years ago. Bringing his experience into the classroom he is able to translate the very technical language of today’s current automotive systems into accessible chunks of information – teaching his students the heavy academic language of the automotive repair world.

He quickly recognizes the learning style of his students and adapts his style to tailor projects specific to the student.  A former student, who is now a senior in college and working for one of the leading aerospace manufacturing companies in the world, remarked, “My knowledge of auto mechanics and lessons from Mr. Melting helped get me where I am today…he has a way of teaching that helps students mature into good people. I saw Mike as a mentor while I was in his class and still value his guidance today. “

When not in the classroom, Mike spends many hours of his time volunteering for the McNary High School band moving equipment and fixing broken band trailers. No matter what the task, he refuses to let difficult circumstances, bad weather or challenging timetables dictate his effectiveness or demeanor. His attitude and demeanor are proof positive that he is an exceptional role model for students and has that stuff that great colleagues are made of.

Congratulations, Mike Melting, for being selected at 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.

Lee King

Lee values the learning environment above all. He is constantly looking for what needs to be done to support teachers so they can focus on their job of instructing students. In addition to being a hero to teachers, Lee is a hero to our kids. He often takes students who are having a hard time in the classroom and giving them a chance to learn skills outside of academia to help build their confidence.  In one of his letters of support, he is described as a knight in shining armor.

Lee King is the lead custodian at Walker Middle School. Providing a safe, clean environment is key for him. He takes pride in having a building that is ready for staff and students at the start of the year and continues that emphasis throughout the year.

Lee always has a smile on his face and goes out of his way to get to know the students. He takes time to build positive relationships with the students and encourages them to make the right choices. He is not afraid to hold students accountable for their actions and will point out the expectation signs to them in the hallways or take the time to teach them how to do the task at hand.

Lee is never frustrated or agitated. He attends to every item on his list and he communicates his needs and next steps to administration, as needed. It is not what he does, it is how he does it.  Lee understands the power of connection. People matter. Students respect him, staff respect him.  He is a gem. 

Congratulations, Lee King, for being selected a 2018 Crystal Apple Honoree.