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Education Champions Named in 2020 ACE Awards

165 district staff and volunteers were honored in awards program

4J staff and volunteers were honored for excellence in education at the 2020 ACE (A Champion in Education) Awards virtual ceremony on Tuesday, June 2.

A record 165 nominees were recognized and four outstanding educators were named as champions in their respective categories. Each champion will receive a $250 grant for a 4J school or program of their choosing from the Eugene Education Foundation.

4J’s 2020 ACE Award champions are Claire Kronser, Laura Muco Naraguma, Tom Mohr and Peter Tromba. Retiring McCornack Elementary School Principal Londa Rochholz was honored with a special lifetime achievement award.

The nominees participated in the virtual ceremony on Zoom, while hundreds of friends, colleagues and family members watched the live stream on 4J’s Facebook page providing supportive reactions and comments!

Congratulations to all of our staff and volunteers who were nominated and celebrated in the 2020 ACE Awards. To learn more about each nominee, please see their Facebook post (linked below) or the ACE Awards program that includes a short excerpt from their nomination.

ACE Awards ceremony live stream video


 

Teachers & Licensed Specialists

CHAMPION: Claire Kronser, Art Teacher at Monroe Middle School

Claire Kronser has spent her entire teaching career at Monroe Middle School and has instilled in countless students, and even some staff, a passion for the arts and the power of creativity. Her presence is felt throughout the school with student art gracing the hallways, ceiling tiles, and even artist-themed chairs in the library and many classrooms.

Claire engages students in a wide variety of mediums, and kids who do not consider themselves artistic inevitably come out producing art pieces they are proud of making. To showcase student talent, ten years ago Claire started Art in the Courtyard, which is a proud highlight of the year for Monroe’s student body and community with hundreds of student art pieces on display.

Claire connects with kids and gives them additional skills beyond art, leading them to other successes. If it’s fun and well-organized, or reflects deep caring about kids and staff, Claire is probably behind it. Art and heart, Claire is there.

TEACHER AND LICENSED SPECIALIST NOMINEES

Cherie Aaron, Kindergarten Teacher, Gilham Elementary School • Mary Adams, Math Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy Holly Albone, Visual Art Teacher, Kennedy Middle School and Churchill High School • Lisa Albrich, Spanish Teacher, Sheldon High School • Nancy Anderson, Choir Teacher, Sheldon High School • Rachelle Ariola, Fourth/Fifth Grade Teacher, Spring Creek Elementary School • Cait Balthrop, Special Education Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy • Jennifer Bender, Science Teacher, Churchill High School • Stephanie Birmingham, Language Arts Teacher, Kelly Middle School • Tim Bjornstad, Language Arts Teacher, ECCO • Carissa Boyce, Title I Coordinator, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Brenda Brainard, Director, NATIVES Program • Kristina Brooks, Language Arts Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy • Meg Carnagey, First Grade Teacher, Adams Elementary School • Sebastian Catlin, Student Achievement Specialist, South Eugene High School • Charissa Charpie, Third Grade Teacher, Howard Elementary School • Lisa Chinn, Physical Education Teacher, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Amanda Christie, Third Grade Teacher, Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School • Justine Chunn, Fourth Grade Teacher, Howard Elementary School • Jacob Clark, Spanish/Social Studies Teacher, South Eugene High School • Linda Coombs, Speech-Language Pathologist, Edison and Charlemagne Elementary School • Jessy Corliss, First Grade Teacher, Howard Elementary School • Patrice Cowman, First Grade Teacher, Willagillespie Elementary School • Kim DeLeon, Special Education Teacher, McCornack Elementary School • Karen Doerfert, Music Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School • Megan Dougherty, First Grade Teacher, Spring Creek Elementary School • Dene Eller, Physical Education Teacher, River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School • Jason Erickson, Social Studies/AVID Teacher, Madison Middle School • Jack Fertal, Math Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School • Sara Fisher, Physical Education Teacher, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary • Fenn Guill, Second Grade Teacher, Spring Creek Elementary School • Helen Haberman, Social Studies Teacher, Churchill High School • Nicholas Hadley, Spanish Immersion Teacher, Monroe Middle School • Aimee Harrington, Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy • Jessica Harvey, School Psychologist, Gilham Elementary School • Jacob Havner, Fourth Grade Teacher, Adams Elementary School • Debbi Heinrich, Fifth Grade Teacher, Holt Elementary School • Peter Hoffmeister, Language Arts/PE Teacher, South Eugene High School • Christie Hoogendoorn, First Grade Teacher, Camas Ridge Elementary School • Corey Hoogendoorn, Special Education Teacher, South Eugene High School • Anne Hubbard, Kindergarten Teacher, Willagillespie Elementary School • Krissy Hulse, Fourth/Fifth Grade Teacher, Spring Creek Elementary School • Jacque Ivankovic, Special Education Teacher, Spring Creek Elementary School • Sara Jenson, Math Teacher, Spencer Butte Middle School • Sara Justice, First Grade Teacher, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Peggy Karotko, Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher, Monroe Middle School • Jana Kincaid, Fourth Grade Teacher, Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School • Allison Kreider, Third Grade Teacher, Howard Elementary School • Claire Kronser, Art Teacher, Monroe Middle School • Joel Kuiper, Special Education Teacher, South Eugene High School • Aaron Kurlychek, Math Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy • Brian Kuzma, Head Teacher, Eugene International High School • Sarah Lacey, Title I Teacher/Instructional Coach, Edison Elementary School • Linda Lamb, Special Education Teacher, Howard Elementary School • Ron Lampe, Physical Education Teacher, Sheldon High School • Rebecca Leduc, Kindergarten Teacher, Edgewood Elementary School • Michael Lewis, Special Education Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy • Debra Lydum, Special Education Teacher, Kelly Middle School • Joy Maxwell, School Nurse, Student Services Department • Sarah McKrola, Kindergarten Teacher, Edison Elementary School • Matthew Monson, Third Grade Teacher, Willagillespie Elementary School • Talon Nansel, Music Teacher, Monroe Middle School • Karen Olsen, Fifth Grade Teacher, McCornack Elementary School • Ann Parks, Special Education Teacher, Willagillespie Elementary School • Kim Pash-Bell, Second Grade Teacher, Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School • Megan Perdue, Music Teacher, North Eugene High School • Monica Pérez, First Grade Teacher, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School • Scott Pierce, Counselor, Arts & Technology Academy • Ashley Pond, Second Grade Teacher, Howard Elementary School • Venus Reeve, Special Education Teacher, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Jonathan Reveal, Science Teacher, Monroe Middle School • Elle Sabala, Spanish Teacher, South Eugene High School • Jessica Schabtach, Language Arts Teacher, Eugene International High School • Takako Schneider, Kindergarten Teacher, Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School • Chelsea Schwartze, Kindergarten Teacher, Spring Creek Elementary School • Mike Seager, Special Education Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School • Virginia Seefeld, Math Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School • Jani Selven, Third Grade Teacher, Adams Elementary School • Robin Seno, Kindergarten Teacher, Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School • Travis Sheaffer, Band Director, North Eugene High School • Ashley Shofner, Second Grade Teacher, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Aurélie Sion, Second Grade Teacher, Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School • Jesse Skoubo, Social Studies Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy • Steve Smith, Social Studies Teacher, Eugene International High School • Antje Snawder, Kindergarten Teacher, Adams Elementary School • Michael Stead, Industrial Arts Teacher, Madison Middle School • Elly Steinbaugh, Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher, Cal Young Middle School • Jacob Steinberger, Director of Choirs/AP Music Theory, Churchill High School • Michael Sterling, Social Studies Teacher, Churchill High School • Courtney Stitt, Math Teacher, Arts & Technology Academy • Kim Sullivan, Special Education Teacher, Camas Ridge Elementary School, • Amary Taylor, Media Specialist, North Eugene High School • Tyler Tjernlund, Industrial Arts Teacher, North Eugene High School • Nancy Unruh, Kindergarten Teacher, Edison Elementary School • Michael Washburn, AVID Teacher, Sheldon High School • Joy Wells, Social Studies Teacher, Churchill High School • Catherine Wiebe, French Immersion Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School • Erika Wolf, First Grade Teacher, Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School • Stacie Yarbro, Music Teacher, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Mary Youngblood-Lee, Social Studies Teacher, Sheldon High School


 

Classified Staff

CHAMPION: Laura Muco Naraguma, Behavioral Support Assistant at Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School

Despite having changed fairly recently to her current role as behavior support specialist, Laura Muco Naraguma has already made her impact felt. She possesses an incredible warmth of personality. Students feel safe and comfortable with her and her demeanor puts people at ease—even as she never shies away from important and difficult conversations.

A teacher at Charlemagne described Laura as a “calm superhero who comes to the rescue of students and staff all day long. Laura finds students in difficult situations, engages them, talks to them, acknowledges and validates their emotions, encourages them to do the right work, and ultimately helps students move through the crisis cycle. She does this all calmly, matter-of-factly, with care and concern. And, at the end of the day, she’s already planning for what will be different the next day.”

Laura is talented beyond her years and her assignment, and what she brings to her school is unparalleled.

CLASSIFIED NOMINEES

Christi Asha, Educational Assistant, South Eugene High School • Shannon Baimbridge, Department Secretary, North Eugene High School • Peggy Blair, Educational Assistant, Monroe Middle School • Jill Carpenter, Special Ed Educational Assistant, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Maja Caya, Food Service Coordinator II, South Eugene High School • Kaissi Collins, Special Ed Educational Assistant, Spring Creek Elementary School • Sara Cutler, Educational Assistant, Gilham Elementary School • David Dotson, Custodial Maintenance Coordinator II, 4J Education Center • Valerie Falleur, Secretary, ECCO • Laurie Freeman, Elementary School Office Assistant, McCornack Elementary School • Lynne Given, Secretary, Eugene International High School • Tory Guenther, Special Ed Educational Assistant, Sheldon High School • Rebecca Hanson, Special Ed Educational Assistant, Howard Elementary School • Diana Jurasevich, Special Ed Educational Assistant, Transition Education Network • Sheryl Kelly, Educational Assistant, Corridor Elementary School • Heather Kendrick, Secretary, Spring Creek Elementary School • Shelby Lindley, Special Ed Educational Assistant, Edison Elementary School • Kristan MacKay, Front Office Assistant, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Jeanne Mandrapa, Bilingual Educational Assistant, Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School • Laura Muco Naraguma, Behavioral Support Assistant, Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School • Phuong Pham-Morgan, Educational Assistant, Family School • Jincy Roberson, Special Ed Educational Assistant, Spring Creek Elementary School • Jeremy Rutledge, Custodial Maintenance Coordinator I, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Mollie Smith, Department Secretary, Monroe Middle School • Burgandee Torres Mann, Attendance Clerk, Arts & Technology Academy • Juan Villeda, Custodial Maintenance Coordinator I, Gilham Elementary School • Judy Weber, Educational Assistant, Edgewood Elementary School • Anna Wellman, Registrar, Monroe Middle School • Alex Zuniga, Office Support–Bilingual/Bicultural, Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School


 

Volunteers

CHAMPION: Tom Mohr, Crossing Guard at Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion and Corridor elementary schools

For more than a decade, Tom Mohr has helped make students feel welcome and be safe as they come and go each school day. As the volunteer crossing guard for YG and Corridor, Tom is the first face many students see in the morning when they arrive at school and the last they see waving or giving a fist bump goodbye. One nominator described him as a lighthouse: “He is always looking out above the crowd to see who is coming and going, keeping a sharp eye on the big picture.” Rain or shine, Tom is outside every school day directing traffic, keeping kids safe and cheering them on with a high-five, a joke or a kind word.

But that’s not all Tom does. He also helps at other schools in the North region, such as the Kelly Middle School library and North Eugene High School sporting events, and he is in the crowd to cheer on students at just about every school performance. Another nominator says that “Tom is always on the lookout for kids who need a little extra encouragement. He is often the first to know if something has changed at home and will encourage the teachers and school counselor to ask questions and offer support.”

Tom served our country in the U.S. military, and now he serves with great dedication in other ways. Most school volunteers are there for their child or grandchild, but not Tom—and has been tirelessly donating his personal time for 2 or 3 hours or more every school day for more than a decade. That’s incredible.

VOLUNTEER NOMINEES

Allen Amaro, Twin Oaks Elementary School • Bruce Campbell, Howard Elementary School • Shelly Carlton, Spring Creek Elementary School • Jill Cole, Holt Elementary School • April Colgrove, Monroe Middle School • Elizabeth Custer, Spring Creek Elementary School • Mark Davenport, River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School • Leah Detzler, Monroe Middle School • Ashlee Dixon, Gilham Elementary School • Jessica Fujimoto, Spring Creek Elementary School • Chelsea Hardrath, Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School • Diane Lane, Edison Elementary School • Alice Lin, McCornack Elementary School • Maggie McCart, Edison Elementary School • Tom Mohr, Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School • Tobey Ritchie, Monroe Middle School • Annette Schwabl, Spring Creek Elementary School • Nancy Shawver, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Jennifer Sheffler, Arts & Technology Academy • Caroline Snider, Spring Creek Elementary School • Tina Tague, Holt Elementary School


 

Administrators & Supervisors

CHAMPION: Peter Tromba, Principal at Spencer Butte Middle School

Peter Tromba has worked in education for three decades as a teacher, principal, administrator and at the state level. He returned to 4J in 2018 as principal of Spencer Butte.

It’s clear that he has made impactful change and developed strong connections with staff and students through trust and compassion. His nominators praise his leadership and communication style, but also the confidence, honesty and kindness that has enabled students and staff to believe in themselves and each other. In example after example, Spencer Butte staff expressed how Peter’s support, unwavering commitment to education, and vision to take their school to its highest heights has profoundly impacted them on both a personal and professional level.

Peter works tirelessly and brings humor and humility to every situation and interaction. Most important of all, he engages and connects with students and staff in a way that motivates them to achieve their best possible selves.

ADMINISTRATOR/SUPERVISOR NOMINEES

Eric Anderson, Principal, Roosevelt Middle School • Sebastian Bolden, Principal, Spring Creek Elementary School • Allan Chinn, Principal, Howard Elementary School • Kevin Gordon, Principal, Camas Ridge Elementary School • AJ Hruby, Assistant Principal, Arts & Technology Academy • Holly Langan, Director, Support Services Department • Joel Lavin, Assistant Principal, South Eugene High School • David Nelson, System Network Specialist, Technology Department • Karen Pérez-da Silva, Equity, Instruction and Partnerships Administrator, Instruction Department • Michael Riplinger, Principal, Awbrey Park Elementary School • Londa Rochholz, Principal, McCornack Elementary School • Leila Schuck, Administrator, Student Services Department • Peter Tromba, Principal, Spencer Butte Middle School • Brian Watson, Assistant Principal, Monroe Middle School • Trevor White, Custodial Supervisor, Facilities Department


 

Lifetime Achievement

Londa Rochholz, Principal at McCornack Elementary School

Londa Rochholz gives new meaning to the term lifetime achievement. She was in the first class of second-graders to attend McCornack after the school was built … a while back. She later served as the school’s PTO president, then…fast forward through many years of work as an educator and administrator within 4J…Londa became the principal of McCornack in 2013. When told of her new job, Londa responded, “I am home!”

Londa has a spectacular gift of compassion for and dedication to doing what is best for kids. She is a community-builder extraordinaire and a wonderful role model for hands-on leadership. Her attentiveness to the needs of others is exemplary. Her mission is to empower others and to foster a school environment where everyone feels welcome no matter who they are or where they come from.

What also sets Londa apart is her commitment to celebrating diversity, dignity and inclusion. Londa launched the “McCornack Dignity Creed,” which the students learn about all year and dedicate themsleves to in an annual all-school assembly. The creed helps each member of the school’s diverse student population feel included, safe, respected and cared for.

Londa has a golden heart whose caring, kindness, hard work, dedication, professionalism and steadfast commitment to excellence have created a safe, nurturing, respectful community for generations of 4J students, families and staff. Thank you, Londa, for your special skills and your lifetime of service.


Thank You!

Thank you to all those who took time to nominate a deserving staff member or volunteer to celebrate excellence in education.

Thanks to Eugene Education Foundation for supporting of our public schools and outstanding educators.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to all of our 4J staff and volunteers who work to make a difference in the lives of children every day at a time they need you and your support the most.

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