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BISD STRONG Award recipients - WINTER 2023

We are now accepting nominations for the Spring 2023 Awards through May 1, 2023. Completing the nomination form only takes a moment and is a wonderful way to recognize someone who is making a difference in your life! 

Nomination Form


Marlo Dorny, BHS Teacher

  • Marlo is an amazing, supportive, kind, accommodating, and down-to-earth person.

  • She gives hope, light, peace, strength, and love to her students.

  • She always shows up, encourages, and offers words of wisdom and humor.


Jamie Harker, Blakely & District Office Custodian

  • I am nominating Jamie for her kindness, her positive attitude, and her ability to spread joy.

  • The moment I met Jamie, I can tell she loves her job and wants to be here. She always has a smile and wants to bring joy to everyone's day. She knows the students count on her and look forward to the notes she leaves at buildings. 

  • Jamie leaves me the sweetest notes in my office whenever she works at the DO. They bring me so much joy & brighten my day. 

  • Words used to describe Jamie include: kind, joyful, positive


Tom Pelland, Blakely Food Services

  • "Mr. Tom" is somebody who makes my children feel a sense of belonging in their school.  My kindergartner opts for school lunch almost every day because she wants to be able to see Mr. Tom. My child looks forward to Mr. Tom greeting her by name and letting her know that he's been looking forward to seeing her.  I believe it is in the small, seemingly mundane moments that belonging is expressed and nurtured.

  • Mr. Tom makes such a significant impact despite only interacting with children for a brief period of their day.  He dedicates so much of himself to showing up for our students.

  • Words used to describe Tom include: friendly, funny, caring, dedicated

Julie Larson Hughes

Julie Larson-Hughes, BHS Athletic Secretary 

  • Julie is a gem! She puts kids first, and no matter the nature of the request — athletic or not— she is there.

  • She is the hardest worker and has the biggest heart - yet - she is humble.

  • Julie is strong in every way and she always has your (kiddos) back 

  • Words used to describe Julie include: Super SMART - like amazingly smart


Chasity Malatesta, BISD Volunteer

  • Chasity demonstrates in her words and actions all of the BISD STRONG attributes as a school volunteer, parent, teacher, and active community member. 

  • She is incredibly generous with her time, expertise, knowledge, and ideas to make our schools, district, and community a better place, especially for our children.  We are all better and stronger because of her heartfelt contributions and words.

  • Chasity is one of those parents you can always call upon to help.  When she volunteers, Chasity is truly present and engaged with the students. They feel her energy and fun factor, making for a richer experience for everyone. From recess activities to field day, prepping students before class pictures, and more, she has signed up for any and all opportunities.  

  • She also served as the Wilkes MAC representative on the PTO, bringing a greater level of awareness with important perspectives during meeting discussions. She speaks with an authenticity that opens and encourages dialogue and greater understanding for one another. Everyone has a story to tell, and Chasity fosters a space for school staff, students, and families to share those.  To find our commonalities, celebrate our differences, and build stronger mindsets, foundations, and communities moving forward.

  • When she speaks, I am always left feeling replenished, better, and motivated to do more for others.  She is inspiring and personifies BISD STRONG.

  • Words used to describe Chasity include: engaging, a positive force, community-focused, open-minded, accepting, loving, contagious energy, friend to all, student-focused, intelligent, gracious, generous, optimistic, sees and looks for the best in others, approachable, fun and full of kindness


Lindsey Peterson-Marshall, Blakey Paraeducator

  • Lindsey works in the front office, lunchroom, and playground, all hard jobs requiring patience, understanding, and a community spirit. Lindsey exhibits these qualities in spades. 

  • She is warm and lovely with students and parents, she is always helpful to teachers, and she is a skilled mediator on the playground who really takes time to help children work through their problems.

  • Lindsey knows the names of every student in the school and notices who needs help interacting with peers, who needs a gentle touch when they are having a tough day, and who needs to make space for quieter voices to be heard. She helps kids develop their own community and is quick to laugh when kids are funny.

  • Words used to describe Lindsey include: kind, fun, patient, smart, engaged, adored


Gretchen Fiscus, 9th grade, Eagle Harbor High School

  • Gretchen is new to our district and a real asset.  She loves learning and boosts people up constantly.

  • She is an amazing person! She always stays positive no matter what, supports her peers with endless positivity, and is kind to everyone. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever had in my classroom. Her grit and persistence, coupled with her positivity, are contagious.

  • She supports and encourages everyone around her. She is a fantastic community leader, volunteering for the school leadership team and helping to plan events. She never gives up, even when things in class are hard for her.

  • Gretchen's strong heart helps her see things that others would like, things that others struggle with, and things that will improve others' days.  She is always boosting her peers up.

  • She listens closely to feedback from teachers and peers and thanks them, incorporating suggestions immediately into her learning.  Gretchen creates community everywhere she goes.  She is the first person to invite someone to with her or to encourage a quiet peer to give an opinion. Gretchen is the personification of a Growth Mindset.

  • Her positive attitude is a good model to all.

  • Words used to describe Gretchen include: kind, intuitive, studious, inclusive, dedicated, persistent, compassionate, leader and a friend to all.


Vega Jolley, 4th grade, Odyssey

  • Vega wrote a project agreement, organized her peers into a crew, and enacted a project to better her school.

  • In our big Odyssey 1-4 classroom, the only natural light we have comes from an interior courtyard. It was overtaken by thimbleberries and weeds. Vega brought the light back! She worked to study thimbleberries and then went out to make change happen. She clipped and hauled wheelbarrow loads, and, just as important, she learned that a true leader sometimes needs to delegate and share her vision with others. Wow. How amazing.

  • Vega used her strong heart and mind to strengthen her community. It was a generous way to spend her time and we are all the better for it.

  • Words used to describe Vega include: generous, hard-working, creative, problem-solver, leader, organized


Sue Miller, Sakai Teacher, 

  • Sue has connected meaningful books with both my kiddos-- books that they have loved and still love.  :) She has reached them (and their classmates) in this special way that will stay with them for their lifetimes.

  • Reading and stories build strong minds.  Through her introduction to literature, students have learned about their world and themselves-- also building strong hearts and helping them to build a strong community.

  • She has gotten to know each of my kids during a meaningful time in their lives.  I'm glad they each got the opportunity to work with her and know her.

  • Words used to describe Sue include: insightful, caring, professional, well-read, organized, soft-spoken


Abby Hoag, Blakely Teacher

  • Abby goes above and beyond for our son to support his emotional and academic development. Words cannot express our gratitude. Teachers like Abby that see children for their strengths and uniqueness, are what make all the difference.

  • I am impressed with Abby’s daily check-ins and her constant care and communication.

  • Words used to describe Abby include: Amazing! Not all heroes wear capes.