What is an Everyday Hero? In the Klamath Falls City Schools District it is a person, nominated by their peers, who goes above and beyond to help students succeed. This is done through strong teaching, individual support, creating positive relationships with students, being a good example, and devising new and better ways of improving our schools.

Everyday Heroes can be teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, office staff, bus drivers, and para professionals.

Each year, the district honors these shining examples during the Everyday Hero Awards.

This year the event was March 6 at Mills Auditorium.

Special speakers were Klamath Union AVID students Rogelio Rojas and Jazmyn Whitney. A new addition this year was the Key Innovators Award which showcases individuals or teams in the district who demonstrate original and creative problem solving initiatives in response to challenges faced within the district. The award winners created new ideas, processes or programs which have led to positive change and increased value for students.

Attendees of the Klamath Falls City School’s “Everyday Heros & Key Innovators” applaud on Tuesday during the annual ceremony, held in the auditorium at Mills Elementary.

Rebecca Kays works in the Special Services department. Kays’ unparalleled dedication toward student, the community and her colleagues is astonishing. She is the voice of reason and nothing seems to phase her calm demeanor.

Jennifer Laitinen works as a fifth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary. For the past three years, she has been the lead organizer of Roosevelt’s participation in the Oregon Battle of the Books. Taking on this project requires a significant investment of time and attention to detail. The program, open to third- through fifth-grade students, inspires them to get excited about books and reading.

First-grade teacher Shannon Kappas works at Pelican Elementary. Kappas is known throughout the school as always going above and beyond for her students, parents and colleagues. She inspires student to work harder.

Angie Bassett, a cook at Mills Elementary makes a difference for kids with her kindness. She greets each and every child when serving them meals and has a very wonderful way of making all of them feel special. She creates a very homelike environment where students feel safe, welcomed.

Mills Elementary School music teacher Kayla Snoozy has made a positive difference to both children and families. She has implemented new and fresh ideas including bringing the Mills community together by adding outside concerts and involving staff, families and the community.

Barbara Morgan is a substitute teacher at Mills. Morgan goes above and beyond in donating time, materials and funds to Mills. She has helped the Mills teaching staff improve through learning walks and mentoring.

Kasey Bird, third-grade teacher at Conger Elementary, was nominated for her collaborative spirit. She has the unique ability to sept away from a situation and see the path from problem to solution, whether it be a reluctant learner, contributing in a Professional Learning Community or analyzing school-wide data to look for trends.

Nat Ellis is a Business/Marketing teacher at Klamath Union High School. He has been involved with DECA for many years. Last year, Ellis’ students took home 19 individual and team awards including the Enthusiasm Award, first place Battle of the Chapters award, largest professional membership award, largest alumni membership and Oregon State Chapter of the Year.

KU construction Project Manager Samanthea Totten-Perry was nominated for her vigilance and persistence in assuring quality and fiscal accountability to district stakeholders. She shares the communities’ emotional sentiment and pride in the history that lives within the original KU structure and has focused on maintaining the integrity of the facility.

Mills Elementary Dean of Students, Jeff Haudenshild, inspires everyone around him. He is always patient and caring in his interactions with both students and staff. He is focused on the overall delivery of education to students and works closing with teachers.

Jerod Nunn works in the district office as the payroll manager. Always a strong team player, his invaluable knowledge and skillset serve him well in this demanding role. Nunn makes the business office an enjoyable environment in which to work and adds professional depth to the district.

Ponderosa teacher, Brent Glidden, has taught an AVID elective class, helping students to find success in the classroom. Under his guidance students are engaged and are improving their grades. Additionally, Mr. Glidden leads after-school clubs which helps students expand their circle of friends, increases their self-confidence and relieves stress.

Tara Bosse serves as the operations manager of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers After-School and Summer Programs. She started with the program at its inception and has taken on increasing responsibility and leadership over the past five years.

Roosevelt Elementary second-grade teacher Carol Bement cares deeply about all of her students and is continually looking for ways to improve her teaching. She has excellent parent communication, is a team player and always has a positive attitude. She is also appreciated for her commitment to helping fellow teachers.

Cara Boyette works for the Attendance Office and Dean of Students at Ponderosa Middle School. She helps the dean ensure that students are in school, doing what they are supposed to and helping them get to class and stay in class. Although this can be a very difficult position, Boyette excels while maintaining positive relationships with students, parents and staff.

The Early Childhood Education Speech Team goes above and beyond to provide speech related information to community members and families. They have implemented a monthly newsletter that is shared with childcare facilities, preschools and parents.

The Science Team at Klamath Union have spent many hours outside of work collaborating to create the new Science Academy. Their efforts will create pathways to help focus students on potential careers in science-based industries through pathways in General Science, Environmental Science, Science Technology or Mathematics. Members are Lana Crumrine, Scott Olsen, Tom Smith and John Huntsman.

The Arts Academy Team members are Gayle Yamasaki, Julie Bainbridge, Jan Kelly, Debbie Plummer, Bonnie Hay, Becky Chase and Marie Conte. The academy provides a diverse collection of experiences with a focus on creative expression and self-confidence.

Marvin Dykstra is the advisor for new the Peer Mentoring Program between Klamath Union and Ponderosa Student leaders at KU are serving as mentors for eighth-grade students to help them prepare for the transition to high school next fall. Through the building of positive relationships next year’s freshmen class should have not only a strong first year in high school, but a positive and successful high school career.

Tom Collier of Tom Collier Classic Motor Car Co., Inc. of Bend is our community partner of the year. Collier began donating school supplies to our district during the 2015-2016 school year.

Since that time, he has donated thousands of dollars of supplies including everything from pens and pencils to notebooks, crayons, calculators, glue and all of those things that are necessary to our students’ education. Collier’s incredibly generous commitment to the students and staff of our district is helping to enhance the education our students are receiving, improving lives and providing resources that help them do the important work of learning.