Posted by SKEF on November 13 2014
A crowd stood outside the Historic Elsinore Theatre on a chilly Thursday night, cheering and applauding as Salem-Keizer teachers walked the red carpet.
The theater was packed with hundreds of people attending the 18th Annual Crystal Apple Awards, a celebration of excellence in education.
About 800 people showed up at the award ceremony, according to the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation, which hosted the event.
Some attendees held signs with photos of nominees. They snapped group pictures in the theater, standing in front of a large banner and a vase filled with red roses.
Whiteaker Middle School teacher Scott Coburn has come to the award ceremony before to support his fellow teachers. This was the first year though he attended as a nominee.
"It's an honor to represent your community and your school," he said.
A physical education and health teacher, Coburn came dressed in a suit with a white rose pinned to his blazer.
"I'm a PE guy so normally I'm in shorts and a t-shirt," he quipped.
A total of 56 people were nominated, but only a dozen walked away with a Crystal Apple Award.
"What I know is you don't do it for the recognition, you do it because you have a heart for our kids," said Salem-Keizer Superintendent Christy Perry, who helped to present the awards.
This year's winners included teachers, instructional assistants and a custodian.
Students, parents, administrators wrote reference letters, sharing with the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation how the educators go beyond their job duties.
They help students who struggle with class get back on track to graduate, partner with those in the community, spend hours with students outside the classroom and come up with creative ways to teach.
That includes hosting a Pi Day Challenge where students who memorize the first 20 digits of Pi get a slice of pie, getting students to present on a potential business and showing students how animals use their sense of smell by blindfolding them in class.
Tiffany Carstensen, a performing arts teacher at McKay High School, was nominated by Principal Sara LeRoy.
The teacher takes students to the National Thespian Conference with her own time and money, has helped them earn scholarships and has even flow across the nation to help students audition at colleges, the principal wrote.
"(Carstensen) works tirelessly with our students so much so that she and I joke about the cot she must have in her office," LeRoy wrote.
Town and Country Lanes owners Don and Ann LeBold, who won the Crystal Apple Business Partnership Award, were also honored at the award ceremony for their work in education.
The event featured a red carpet walk hosted by Ron and Kelli Jaecks, live music from the Flextones, and was emceed by drama teacher Tom Hewitt.
The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation worked with the Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and the Keizer Chamber of Commerce to present the awards.
18th Annual Crystal Apple Award Winners
Tiffany Carstensen, Performing Arts teacher, McKay High School
John Dixon, Business and DECA teacher, South Salem High School
Noelia Flux, first-grade bilingual teacher, Highland Elementary School
Melissa Frank, fourth and fifth-grade teacher, Gubser Elementary School
Jenny Gelbrich, child care coordinator, Teen Parent Program, Early College High School
Teresa Grindy, math Teacher, McKay High School
Allison Harris, first and second-grade teacher, Auburn Elementary
Tricia Langerud, instructional assistant, Structured Learning Center, Roberts High School
Jason Niedermeyer, science teacher, South Salem High School
Angelina Ochoa, instructional assistant, Hallman Elementary School
Justin Pierce, lead custodian, McKay High School
Shannie Rediger, second-grade teacher, Chapman Hill Elementary School
Crystal Apple Business Partnership Award Winner
Town and Country Lanes, a bowling center in Keizer, won the 5th annual award, which recognizes a business or community organization that has made a significant contribution to education in the Salem-Keizer School District.
Business owners Don and Ann LeBold created the district's Turnaround Achievement Awards in 1995, which honors Salem-Keizer students who have turned their lives around.
The business sponsors instructional bowling programs, provides college scholarships and sponsors McNary and Sprague's high school bowling teams. The couple also supports free lunch programs for children in the spring and summer.