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Look at this STRONG batch of people!

The final round of awards for BISD STRONG were distributed to these fabulous recipipents. The BISD STRONG Award will be back again next fall. In the meantime, be on the lookout for BISD students and staff that you would like to nominate next year. 

An embarrassed Bernie listens to highlights from his nomination.

Bernie Mejia (Maintenance):

  • Bernie is very responsive to the needs of each school. He is always friendly in his approach to solving maintenance issues. With our aging facilities, he and his crew do an amazing job of keeping us up and running and making constant improvements.
  • Bernie has a strong heart. He always listens carefully to the needs of our custodians and staff. He sees the big picture and does his best to help everyone.
  • Bernie is a thinker. He is always looking several years down the road regarding facility needs. He always wants to please, yet works hard to make his work as efficient as possible.
  • Bernie supports our whole school community. Without his guidance, we would be struggling to maintain safe and clean working environments for our students and staff.
  • Bernie is one of my go to people! He is always very responsive when I need to reach out to him for help. He is also very kind, has a great sense of humor and is a very dedicated and loyal BISD employee.
  • Bernie is easy to approach and is patient.
  • Bernie works tirelessly to ensure that requests are answered and the buildings are properly maintained. When emergencies require his undivided attention, he is the first to step up.
  • Words used to describe you include: thoughtful, kind, patient, hardworking, dedicated, dependable, has a good sense of humor, intelligent, empathetic, generous with his time, willing to assist anyone, generous soul, problem-solver

Peter Bang-Knudsen and Ainsley

Ainsley Candelaria (6th grader at Sakai):

  • Ainsley is always kind, fun to be around, smart, and an awesome friend!
  • Everyone in the class likes her.
  • She’s always trying to help others and has a strong heart.
  • She is just an all-around nice and amazing person.
  • Words used to describe you include sweet, kind, considerate and smart

Peter Bang-Knudsen and Steve Brown

Steve Brown (Transportation):

  • Steve has kept all three of my children (now ages 20, 18 and 14) safe on their rides to and from school, watched them grow up and support them outside of his obligatory bus driver duties.
  • He attended kid assemblies and awards ceremonies. Steve has an amazing sense of humor.
  • He is respected by his riders and appreciated by the parents of those said riders. He even had a song written about him by the Blakely 3rd-grade class.
  • He is legendary and deserves epic recognition.
  • Steve is a BHS graduate and salt of the earth member of our community.
  • He is huge teddy bear.
  • Words used to describe you include: loyal, caring, attuned, committed and genuine

Peter Bang-Knudsen and Susan Knell

Susan Knell (French teacher at WMS):

  • Madam Knell always has the brightest smile in the mornings no matter what is happening. She is constantly inspiring the people around her to do well and make a change.
  • She volunteers her lunchtime every day to help other staff and students sort their food correctly. Instead of getting mad when students don't understand or aren't paying attention, she tries to help them in a way they will understand.
  • Madam Knell has the utmost respect for her community at school and in the world. She constantly encourages the people in her life to go green and save the world one step at a time.
  • Madam Knell encourages students to help others and help themselves by taking care of themselves. She cares about everyone, no matter who they are or if she has even met them.
  • Madam Knell is supportive of her students and goes to see their performances and the next day she sings their praises.
  • Words used to describe you include: kind, funny, bright, encouraging, generous, thinks of others, understanding

Cathy Oden and Peter Bang-Knudsen

Cathy Oden (COS Paraeducator):

  • Cathy never gives up on us.
  • Cathy is really funny, helps everyone, gives good advice and makes our classroom better.
  • Cathy is a wonderful teacher, creating a spectacular learning environment for the whole class. She makes learning fun and easy, she is SUPER helpful.
  • She is always is happy to see us and has a great attitude. Cathy was my first thought when I found out I could nominate someone for this award.
  • She makes the classroom so much better whether it’s helping me with my writing, or making a little joke to lighten the mood. Cathy, out of all people, definitely deserves this award.
  • She always understands us and wears the biggest smile.
  • Words used to describe you include kind, strong, smart, helpful, funny, awesome, humorous, curious, reliable, thoughtful


Brian Parker

Brian Parker (Food Services): Nominated fall, winter and summer!

  • Brian continually goes above and beyond his role as a Food Service Manager at BHS. He engages with all students and prides himself on knowing their names and a little something about each student like a hobby or special event.
  • He remained calm during the week that Skyward was down and still had to serve BHS snacks and lunches to 1300+ students and staff.
  • During BHS's evacuation on May 10,  Brian was concerned about students and staff eating and drinking so as soon as he could, he coordinated food to be brought out to the fields to keep everyone well fed.
  • He is just one of those people that keeps BHS going strong with significant impacts everyday with his positive attitude and his commitment to providing the best tasting food served with a smile.
  • Words used to describe you include: energetic, friendly, committed, passionate about his job and the students

Peter Bang-Knudsen and Rochelle

Rochelle Olney (7th grader at WMS):

  • I am nominating Rochelle because every time I see her she is always there to be a friend.
  • She loves school and loves her friends. She has been through a lot and always looks on the bright side.
  • She loves helping other people and brightens people’s day by just her lovely smile. She’s always trying to help others and has a strong heart
  • At Saki she was at the top student to bring in food for Helpline house.
  • When a friend and I were not getting along, she was there for both of us and gave some great advice, and some big hugs.
  • She does a lot for her friends and her community.
  • Words used to describe you include funny, sympathetic, creative, smart and supportive

Peter Bang-Knudsen and Carol

Carol Laiche (Technology):

  • I am nominating Carol for her overall enthusiasm in supporting all staff that use Skyward and especially for her hard work in rolling out the new Skyward module for online registration that will impact all schools district-wide.
  • I just pushed (literally) the button on our FIRST online registration packet and electronically "enrolled" a new freshman! This would not have been possible without months of Carol working hard to set up this module in Skyward. This roll out will affect all schools and it is amazing how it will also impact the nursing staff, highly capable and SPED departments as well.
  • I know for the high school she went above and beyond just setting it up as there are many special forms that she created just for secondary grade-level inquiries that will make gathering transcripts and previous school enrollment so much easier.
  • Words used to describe you include: dedicated, enthusiastic, committed to quality and caring

Krista PAl

Krista Pal (BHS Counseling Office):

  • Krista helped guide us and our daughter through an extremely challenging time she faced this year in high school.
  • Due to some challenges our daughter was facing, Krista met with us many times, spoke with our daughter to determine what she needed, and communicated with her teachers to make all of the necessary arrangements and accommodations.
  • All the while, Krista confidently assured us that our daughter would be fine academically in the future.... and was truly a light at the end our dark tunnel.
  • I can't adequately say how much her help, information, calm manner, and positive outlook have meant to our family and to the emotional well-being of our daughter.
  • Krista is everything a parent or student could ever ask for in an academic counselor, and should be the model of what BISD/BHS aspires to provide every day.
  • Words used to describe you include: professional, responsive, compassionate, confident, encouraging