Press Releases - OSPI
LanguagesA-Z IndexPrinter Friendly Image

For media inquiries, please contact: 



Auburn Educator Named School Employee of the Year
Child Nutrition Supervisor is starting “food revolution” in Puget Sound

OLYMPIA — April 12, 2011 — Carol Barker, Child Nutrition Supervisor for Auburn School District, is the 2011 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn recognized the eight Regional Classified School Employees of the Year and announced the State Classified School Employee of the Year at a ceremony today in the Old Capitol Building in Olympia.

“Carol’s innovative approach to her job and commitment to kids first is an inspiration,” Dorn said. “All of this year’s regional finalists demonstrate for us all the tremendous potential of our school employees. They are flexible. They are creative. They continue to develop their own knowledge to better serve our kids, and I’m excited to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Barker and her fellow regional finalists were joined by their families, friends, colleagues, legislators, representatives from the state’s educational service districts and various education associations.

Barker began working at the Auburn School District years ago as a bus driver and cafeteria cashier and steadily worked her way up through three different school kitchens to the position of Child Nutrition Supervisor. During the school year, Barker manages the breakfast, lunch and snack programs at 22 schools. She also coordinates Auburn’s nationally recognized summer food program, which served 80,000 meals at 49 different sites last year.

Deputy Superintendent Michael Newman describes Barker as a “difference maker.” She has been instrumental in Auburn’s own “Food Revolution” by planning and implementing a district kitchen garden, creating recipes that use whole foods and engaging students and community partners in the care of the garden and orchard. Next year, Barker will help administer a new grant from King County Public Health to train 500 child nutrition employees across the region in whole food cooking. This fall she was a speaker at the 2010 End Childhood Hunger Summit in Seattle.

Barker is constantly looking for new challenges and ways to expand her own perspective. She has taken numerous continuing education courses through Central Washington University, teaches food handler permit classes, served as interim director of her department while the position was vacant last summer and even recruited the new director.

Regional winners
Before announcing the State Classified School Employee of the Year, Superintendent Dorn recognized all of the regional finalists, nominated by their respective educational service districts, and presented each of them with a custom made award from Hilltop Artists in Tacoma. The Regional Classified School Employees of the Year included:

Sara Benjamin, Wahluke School District
Benjamin has served as a Math paraeducator at Wahluke High School for more than a year. Her consistency, enthusiasm, patience and significant knowledge of both content and theory set Benjamin apart. She participates in the Professional Learning Community for secondary math and recently served on her district’s gap analysis committee for mathematics at the request of her principal, Jeff Pietila.

Benjamin has been instrumental in helping the school achieve unprecedented improvement in their statewide assessments in math last spring. It’s clear that Benjamin is already a great educator, and now her colleagues and students are encouraging her to return to school soon to complete her degree. Pietila couldn’t agree more: “I only hope that Sara allows me the honor of offering her an interview for a class of her own once she finishes her coursework,” he said.

Jesus Angarita, Evergreen Public Schools (Vancouver)
Angarita began his career in education after graduating from university in Colombia, working his way up to a teaching position at an International Baccalaureate school in 2000. He continues to evaluate IB exams from around the world.

Angarita and his wife Nancy immigrated to the US in 2005. In 2007, Angarita joined the staff at Mountain View as an English-Language Learners Staff Assistant where, for the past three years, he has tutored and coached ELL students in math and science. Since arriving at Mountain View, Angarita has designed and implemented a successful after-school tutoring program for his students and introduced a summer institute to give new ELL students a jump start on the year. Recently Angarita and his wife also started working on weekends with a group of Hispanic elementary students and their families to teach key math concepts and the state standards in Spanish.

Ricardo del Bosque, Shelton School District
Del Bosque began his professional career as a police officer in Saltillo, Mexico and immigrated to the US in the mid-90s. When a job-related injury forced him to look for another career, del Bosque said all other work “paled in comparison” to education. For the past four years, del Bosque has worked for Shelton School District as the Bilingual Family Support Liaison.

Del Bosque is the person the Spanish-speaking community in Shelton turns to with their questions about health care, schooling, housing, employment, immigration, guidance for errant teenagers and more. In fact, del Bosque is a resource for the whole community, fostering greater cultural understanding, smoothing over tensions and helping colleagues appreciate the challenges their Spanish-speaking students face. For his colleague, Arleen Sandifer, del Bosque’s work is pivotal to student success. “I cannot imagine supporting the needs of my students without Ricardo’s amazing work,” she said. “His deep, abiding commitment sustains the hopes and dreams of so many of us.”

Patricia Anderson, South Kitsap School District
Anderson has worked in the South Kitsap School District for the past 30 years. Since 1998, she has served as the Executive Assistant to Superintendent Dave LaRose, where she provides comprehensive support not only for the Superintendent and School Board, but for the whole district. Most recently, Anderson has been pivotal in transitioning the School Board to a policy governance model. Dave LaRose credits Anderson with helping him successfully transition into his role three years ago. “I have learned and continue to learn from my work with Patti Anderson,” he said. “Any success that has been attributed to me or our district is a direct reflection of the work Patti does each and every day.”

Anderson is admired by colleagues across the district for her commitment to continued education and life-long learning and her ability to address professional development needs with unique collaborations. As a secretary at John Sedgewick Junior High, Anderson started a district-wide Professional Learning Community for school and district support staff. This group is still meeting 22 years later, and Anderson has served as coordinator for the past 13 years.

Sheri McGraw, Pasco School District
McGraw began her education career in Bellevue during the mid-90s, and for the past seven years, has served as the Secretary to the Director of Career and Technical Education in Pasco. McGraw’s work includes supporting the director and all of the CTE programs in the district. She manages 41 different program budgets, coordinates travel paperwork, tracks certification and provides administrative support for several parent and community committees. McGraw has served in numerous leadership roles over the years, and is the current president of the Washington Association of Educational Office Professionals.

McGraw is a frequent judge, panel interviewer and overnight chaperone for a variety of student events and projects. She also serves as a Company Advisor for the district’s annual Enterprise Week, guiding a group of students through a week of activities designed to simulate two years in the life of a new business. “Mrs. McGraw is different from a typical secretary,” said Miguel Rodriguez, student and DECA chapter president. “She is so involved that she is almost like an additional advisor to our DECA chapter.”

Paul Allen, Lake Chelan School District
Allen has worked as a mechanic for over 30 years, and since 1995 he has served Lake Chelan as the Head Mechanic. Allen’s work includes not only the fixing of a wide variety of machines including buses, generators, tractors and snow machines, but also creating and implementing a maintenance schedule for all the district vehicles. His exceptional organization and commitment to quality has helped the district earn “excellent” ratings for the past 15 years on the Washington State Patrol School Bus Inspections.

Allen is committed to leading by example, and believes a great work ethic is contagious. He is always “on call” and can step in as either a substitute bus driver or the transportation supervisor when needed. Allen goes the extra mile because his remains focused on kids at all times both in his professional life and as a volunteer in the community. The students who ride his busses may also be in his Sunday School class or his Royal Ranger Outpost.

Sally Dooley, Lake Stevens School District
In 1984 Dooley took a job working as a paraeducator one-on-one with a young man who had cerebral palsy and was wheelchair bound. She was hooked. Since then, Dooley has tackled numerous subjects including literacy, math, discipline and professional development. She has served on the district committee for elementary math and the planning committee for her school’s LAP Summer School Program.

Dooley loves working in a team, is passionate about shared professional development and is a voracious researcher. She has introduced and facilitated numerous book studies in her building as well as providing her colleagues with meaningful resources that she investigates during her own time. Each time Dooley’s responsibilities have changed, she has tackled her new role with enthusiasm and further study. After 32 years, she continues to give 110 percent. Dooley’s van is often the first in the parking lot, and she’s recently added after school and evening events such as Literacy Night and Math Olympics to her already considerable list of projects.

The Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year award is administered by OSPI in collaboration with Washington’s Educational Service Districts who each select a regional nominee. The selection criteria are: professional biography, outstanding work performance and professional leadership and collaboration.

The 2011 state award winner was chosen by a state selection committee comprised of award winning educators and representatives from the following organizations: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Public School Employees of Washington, Washington Education Association, and Washington Association of School Administrators.

Photos and extended profiles of each of this year’s finalists are posted on the OSPI education awards page:


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

Twitter | Facebook | Flickr

Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015

Assessment Communications Manager
(360) 725-6032


Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  360-725-6000  TTY 360-664-3631
Contact Us    |    A-Z Index    |    Site Info    |    Staff Only    |    Education Data System (EDS)