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Honoring Excellence: 2013 ACE Awards

2013_ace_4jwinnerphoto1Dozens of 4J teachers and other licensed staff, classified staff, administrators and volunteers were honored April 23 at the 8th annual ACE (A Champion in Education) Awards ceremony.

One district “champion” was selected from each category: Teachers/Licensed Staff, Classified Staff, Administrators, and Volunteers. 4J’s four champions for 2013 are:

Jason Miller, Language Arts & Social Studies Teacher
Kelly Middle School
Jason has been building relationships and sparking smiles at Kelly for seventeen years. He holds students accountable to high standards and supports them to get there. He has a fierce drive to see kids succeed in ways they didn’t think possible. And he does it all while making learning fun. Students describe his teaching and coaching methods as wacky, unique…and unforgettable. Jason loves his job and communicates that love of learning to his students.

Steve Cooper, Food Service Coordinator
Bertha Holt Elementary School
As Holt Elementary’s head chef, Steve is passionate about creating wonderful healthy meals for his students. But his dedication goes far beyond serving breakfast and lunch.  Steve shows tremendous teamwork and goes out of his way to lighten the load on teachers. In a school with more than 500 students, Steve knows and cares for every one. His work helps ensure that students are nurtured and ready to learn — and he does it all with a kind heart and great care. It’s no wonder his students think of him as something of a celebrity.

José da Silva, Principal
Kelly Middle School
José works tirelessly to develop genuine community engagement and bring his diverse school community together into one cohesive unit. Students feel safe bringing him their concerns, parents are comfortable approaching him with ideas, and teachers feel empowered to share their views. José empowers students, gives them leadership opportunities, and encourages them to see the bigger picture of the world and their role in it. He inspires Kelly staff to do their best work, no matter the obstacles. And in everything he does, he never loses sight of doing what is best for kids.

Tom Cramer, Volunteer
Camas Ridge Community Elementary School
Wherever there’s a need, Tom finds a way to be part of the solution. He teaches lessons in science and language arts, and directs students in a Shakespeare play each year. He jackhammered out concrete and fired up his rototiller to help create Camas Ridge’s amazing school garden. When Camas Ridge lost its year-round music program, he began bringing his guitar to school and teaching weekly music lessons. Whether he is hauling compost, bringing baby chicks to kindergarten, or engaging the whole school in a sing-along, Tom’s selfless devotion is a tremendous asset to his school and his community.

Congratulations to these four terrific educators! Each champion’s school will receive a $1,000 monetary award. Adding up those awards over the past several years, the ACE Awards’ sponsors have contributed nearly $100,000 to local public schools.


The ACE Awards are a collaborative effort of the Eugene and Springfield chambers of commerce and the Eugene, Bethel and Springfield school districts to honor those who are making significant contributions to our community as leaders in education. The ACE Awards program and awards ceremony wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of local businesses and organizations: presenting sponsor Oregon Community Credit Union, as well as supporting sponsors Pacific Source Health PlansSELCO Community Credit UnionHershner Hunter LLCEugene-Springfield McDonald’s RestaurantsUniversity of Oregon Alumni AssociationSpringfield Education Association, and All Academic.

Congratulations to all of the nominees from Eugene School District 4J: 

Lisa Albrich, Spanish Teacher, Sheldon High School
Josh Barbour, Special Programs Teacher, Educational Support Services
John Benson, 3rd Grade Teacher, Edison Elementary School
Fran Christie, Study Skills Teacher/504 Coordinator, Sheldon High School
Jolynn Cornell-Fabiano, Speech Specialist, Educational Support Services
Patrice Cowman, 1st Grade Teacher, Willagillespie Elementary School
Susan Dwoskin, 5th Grade Teacher, River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School
Ann Hettick, Health Educator, South Eugene High School
Christie Hoogendoorn, Special Education Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School
Melissa Ibarra, 4/5 Grade Teacher, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School
Joy Koenig, Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher, Cal Young Middle School
Allison Kreider, 3rd Grade Teacher, Howard Elementary School
Karen Lacey, Speech Specialist, Spring Creek Elementary School
Jason Miller, Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher, Kelly Middle School
Chris Mudd, Music Teacher, Churchill High School
Carrie Ann Naumoff, 5th Grade Teacher, Edison Elementary School
Marty Smith, Social Studies Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School
Suzannah Swinehart, 1st Grade Teacher, Willagillespie Elementary School
Sue Terry-VanNatta, 1st Grade Teacher, César E. Chávez Elementary School
Joy Wells, Language Arts Teacher/Media Specialist, Churchill High School
Colleen Wright, Special Education Teacher, Twin Oaks Elementary School

Roger Butenschoen, Custodial Maintenance Coordinator, Twin Oaks Elementary School
Doris Chastain, Cognitive Educational Assistant, Bertha Holt Elementary
Machelle Cheung, Educational Assistant, Willagillespie Elementary School
Steve Cooper, Food Service Coordinator, Bertha Holt Elementary
Brenda Down, High School Secretary, South Eugene High School
Betsy Hoell, Career Center Assistant, Churchill High School
Cheryl  Lindsey, Elementary School Secretary, Adams Elementary School
Ruth Mann, User Service Specialist II, Computing and Information Services
Joseph Sarkez, Educational Assistant, South Eugene High School
Chris Steigleman, Department Secretary, Sheldon High School
Joyce Stevenson, Elementary School Secretary, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School

BJ Blake, Principal, Spencer Butte Middle School
José da Silva, Principal, Kelly Middle School
Scott Ehret, Technology Support Specialist Supervisor, Computing and Information Services
Casandra Kamens, Instructional Program Administrator, North Eugene High School
Brad New, School Administrator, Eugene Education Options
Londa Rochholz, Assistant Principal, Churchill High School
Cindy Sainz, Principal, Adams Elementary School
Carmen Urbina, Parent, Community and Diversity Coordinator, Superintendent’s Office
Cydney Vandercar, Principal, Cal Young Middle School

John Beltran, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School
Tom Cramer, Camas Ridge Community School
Joe Enders, Cal Young Middle School
Patricia Frank, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School
Regis Gerber, Arts & Technology Academy
George Gittens, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School

Peggy Gittens, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School
Maryam Jahangirim, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School
Alice Lin, Willagillespie Elementary School
Maja Martir, River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School
Toni McNair, Sheldon High School
Thomas Mohr, Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School
Dr. Randall Moore, Adams Elementary School
Pam Olsen, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School
Jamie Selko, Edgewood Community Elementary School
Beth Sheehan, Spencer Butte Middle School
Teresa Shlesinger, Edgewood Community Elementary School
Anne Wilson, Arts & Technology Academy


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