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BISD STRONG Award recipients - SPRING 2023




Johannes Pohl - Transportation

  • Johannes is an example of a super bus driver.  He is very conscientious about making sure students are safe on the bus.
  • He is cheerful every morning when picking up students; it's comforting to know that the first face our kiddos see each day is a smiling one.  His bus is consistently on time every day
  • Words used to describe you include: kind, reliable

Diane Bedell

Diane Bedell - STEM Teacher at Blakely

  • Diane constantly looks for ways to help students build on their passions and make positive changes in the world.
  • Diane consistently goes above and beyond. 
  • She is never satisfied with the status quo and always seeks new ways to inspire and engage her students. Most recently, Diane guided her students to audit and reduce the use of plastic at Blakely School. Her students communicated with BISD admin and together, they are reducing single-use plastics in our lunch program and eventually throughout the district. Those students are witnessing the power of their actions. Amazing.
  • Diane's strong heart finds the very best in every student.
  • Diane engages students with current, real-life topics and inspires kids to seek solutions and create change. 
  • Words used to describe you include: creative, persistent, gritty, inspirational, troubleshooter, engineer, collaborator, passionate, thoughtful, hardworking, activist, inspiring 

Jennifer Kilby

Jennifer Kilby - Ordway Kindergarten Teacher

  • Jenny is an outstanding teacher! She is genuinely invested in each of her student's success.  I watch her attend to our daughter's individual needs while simultaneously creating a wonderful and supportive group dynamic for the class.  
  • She sets high academic expectations, with undercurrents of fun, respect, and enthusiasm that exude from the whole class.  Our daughter is very lucky to have her as a teacher this year. 
  • I had the privilege to help with the Helpline food drive in November.  Walking with the kindergarten class down to Helpline House and back was so much fun.  Jenny's attention and expectations for her class were truly awesome.  Jenny is a master class in classroom management. It was so fun to watch her teach and watch her students thrive.   
  • Ordway and the Bainbridge School District are lucky to have Jenny as an educator.  She has truly been an amazing start to our daughter's schooling.  
  • Words used to describe you include: thoughtful, considerate, and supportive

Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson - Ordway Librarian

  • Ms. Nelson is a wonderful educator.  She is creative, curious, and knows how to connect with children. 
  • She challenges students to think critically and independently in an environment where it is okay to fail. 
  • She comes up with interesting projects and games and makes learning so fun.
  • Ms. Nelson is also an incredible librarian.  She makes it a point to find and highlight books that expand the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the variety of cultural and religious occasions that occur throughout the year.  She also tries hard to make every student feel special. 
  • Ordway students look forward to their time in the library because Ms. Nelson knows how to meet every child where they are.  She reads them interesting books, suggests titles in genres they are interested in, and is careful never to judge choices.  She has an army of Junior Librarians for good reason:  Ms. Nelson is beloved.   
  • Words used to describe you include: kind, curious, energetic, and positive


Bernadette Fay - Ordway Attendance Secretary 

  • Bernadette helps make Ordway the special place that it is.  She stands smiling at the front door to welcome late-arriving students and harried parents. 
  • She watches over our school breakfast and makes sure every child has a good meal and hears a kind word to start his/her/their day. She organizes lovely lunches and social events for our teachers and staff (her tea party was epic!)  She posts silly jokes in the teacher and staff restroom to brighten everyone's day.  She's quick to laugh and always willing to listen.  She helps out anywhere she's needed and is a joy to be around.
  • Bernadette is a wonderful colleague and BISD is so lucky to have her as an employee for the past 15 + years. While her official roles are the attendance registrar, health room paraeducator and office professional, her unofficial role is the heart of Ordway.
  • She is often the first person the children and families talk to when they come to the office or call. At every turn, she is caring and kind to our students and families. She encourages independence and manners and takes time to thank or praise students, parents and colleagues when someone has been a help or done well. If a student needs a little extra love, she is always willing to listen.
  • Smart, detail-oriented and a hard worker, Bernadette is always quick with a joke, a laugh, or a funny story, which means there is always productive work AND laughter in the office when she is around.
  • Bernadette creates a warm and welcoming environment at Ordway for parents, students, teachers, and staff.  She always has a smile on her face and never complains when parents or volunteers takel the pens from her desk (which is often). 
  • Words used to describe you include: team player, kind, creative, community-minded, hard worker, smart, detail-oriented, problem solver and funny

Ingrid Ryan

Ingrid Ryan - Wilkes 4th Grade Teacher 

  • Ingrid is kind, caring and an inspiration to other staff at Wilkes.
  • My younger siblings and I all had her as our fourth-grade teacher. She has had a profound impact on each of us that goes beyond what one would expect from an elementary school educator. Her kindness and the care she obviously has for each of her students make her an exceptional teacher.
  • Three of my kids have had Ingrid as their 4th-grade teacher, and all of them have noted the impacts she's had on them... Every child should be so lucky to experience Ingrid's classroom!
  • She is a great teacher who generally cares about each and every one of her students.  
  • I was in Ms. Ryan’s 4th-grade class 9 years ago. I am now a freshman in college, but to this day, she still asks my mom if I still like writing short stories, which Is a passion I shared with her all these years ago. Every time I hear this, I am amazed that she remembers me and the specifics of my character after so long. This is just an example of what a thoughtful and truly caring person and educator she is. I frequently think about how thankful I am that I went through her class. 
  • Ingrid embodies BISD strong: she has compassion for her students; she's an excellent teacher academically; she creates community, whether it's by using Harry Potter to create teams that set goals and work together, or sharing volleyball skills with her students during recess when she realized several were learning to play. 
  • Words used to describe you include: insightful, calm, caring, kind, thoughtful, impactful, inspirational, compassionate, supportive, engaging, honest, helpful, and understanding.


Kelly Pellegrino - Wilkes 2nd Grade Teacher 

  • For the past two years, Kelly has led the staff equity work at Wilkes Elementary School. This year she has invited both certificated and classified employees to monthly equity team meetings to discuss the issues and topics as they pertain to our Wilkes community. The purpose is to develop our knowledge, vision for our community, and values we want to be held accountable for, and plan school-wide events to strengthen the connection between our families and the school. 
  • Kelly provides informative, interesting articles and book recommendations to further our understanding as we do this work together. 
  • She challenges us to be reflective and examine our beliefs and biases. 
  • Kelly is a valuable member of our Wilkes team and exemplifies our district’s guiding principles of strong minds, strong hearts, and strong community.  


Terri Atkinson - Sakai 6th Grade Teacher 

  • Terri has, for years, gone above and beyond not only for all students but for Sakai as a whole. Gives her whole self every single day. 
  • Ms. Atkinson works really hard, every day she works on the broadcast & provides us with helpful skills, like how to walk with tea and proper etiquette for parties.
  • Over the years, Terri has led and facilitated the daily Sakai Broadcast, Student Council, the Sakai Talent Show, and the school-wide Helpline House Food Drive (which consistently, year after year, exceeds all goals!). She does much of this using her own free time and resources. All the while, she continues to be an excellent teacher engaging with each and every student, meeting them where they are.  
  • Terri is honest and straightforward. I believe this is one of the reasons she has garnered so much trust and respect from her students and coworkers. 
  • Terri doesn’t take no for an answer. She pushes forward and finds a way. I believe Terri would fight hard for any student in any situation, no matter what. 
  • If I were in a scary or complicated situation, I would want Terri with me. Not only does she not get flustered, but she is able to lighten the mood with humor.
  • Words used to describe you include: kind, helpful, trustworthy, honest, tenacious, compassionate, creative, strong, kind, smart, witty, reliable 


Drew Crandall - Sakai Principal

  • Mr. Crandall is such an asset to the district and an incredible principal.
  • Mr. Crandall has been such an advocate for our student's success at Sakai. We have been so grateful to have him as a part of our team getting our kids back to school. We can't thank him enough. 
  • It is plain to see how much he cares for all of the kids in his school, investing his time connecting with them at recess, in the lunchroom, and as the bell rings in the halls. 
  • He is so accessible to all. He continues to show he will do everything in his power to make sure our kids' time at Sakai is one full of growth and joy. The joy and excitement he brings to each day is infectious. 
  • Words used to describe you include: kind, joyful, encouraging, positive


Jackson Murray - Sakai 6th Grade Student

  • Jackson is a ray of sunshine in the classroom.  
  • He also goes out of his way to be kind to others.  
  • He makes sure people feel included and valued.  
  • He puts others before himself and is a model example of inclusion and equality.
  • He has a kind, strong heart.
  • Words used to describe you include: happy, inclusive, loving, caring, kind, leader 


Katie Gibbs - Sakai Music Teacher

  • Katie is the epitome of BISD strong!
  • She is very caring.  She has a big heart and really cares about all the students at the school.
  • She challenges the students in her music classes.  She introduces them to music in a creative, challenging and supportive way.  She has very high expectations, and her students reach those expectations.  She respects her students and they respect her. 
  • She has created musical outlets for her students with her after-school Choir Club.....they sang the National Anthem at the Mariner's game!  She also helps out with the school's Talent Show.  
  • She is very supportive of her colleagues.  She always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude!
  • She does so much to make Sakai a more valued and inclusive school for ALL of the students.
  • Words used to describe you include: outgoing, friendly, supportive, challenging, caring, helpful, amazing

Katie Erickson

Katie Erickson - BHS Learning Strategies Teacher

  • Katie is always so engaged with her students and goes out of her way to make them feel comfortable, seen, heard and understood. She takes on so much and is so patient and kind every day. 
  • She is an incredible leader and role model for the staff and makes connections which each and every one of them. In her role, she has to understand and teach all the subjects taught at BHS, and she takes this very seriously and ensures she has knowledge of all areas.
  • The dedication and caring she puts forth for both students and staff are beyond measure. Her upbeat, positive energy creates a classroom environment that is both productive and respectful. 
  • She has the strongest heart and shows compassion daily for her students and the staff. She makes it known that she cares for everyone she interacts with on an individual level.
  • She strengthens the BISD and BHS communities by making her classroom a safe space for her students and reaching out to all of them when they are struggling.
  • She is firm, kind and understanding. She is able to help her students with a variety of subjects and always takes the time to find the answers she doesn’t know. Everyone feels comfortable going to her.
  • Katie works with grace and understanding. She builds confidence in each of her students to believe in themselves and instills in them that they can be successful. 
  • Words used to describe you: kind, compassionate, driven, empathetic, intelligent, reliable, dedicated, caring, respectful

Hege Miller

Hege Miller - BHS Food Service

  • Hege always has a smile and makes every student she encounters at BHS feel welcome and has everything they need for a nourishing meal. 
  • She is wonderful and helpful to her co-workers in the kitchen, always willing to go above and beyond.
  • If we are short-staffed, she comes in early to help. 
  • She embodies everything BISD wants the staff to be!
  • Words used to describe you: hardworking, good work ethic, attention to detail, willing to go the extra mile, accountable


Elaine Krogfoss - BISD Food & Nutrition Supervisor

  • Elaine has been amazingly responsive in Blakely's efforts to eliminate single-use plastics.  We couldn't do it without her support.
  • She has been creative in finding ways to help eliminate single-serve items, and I can only imagine that has taken time, effort and commitment with the rest of her staff's support as well.  I am very impressed and grateful!
  • Words used to describe you include: creative, open, helpful

Lucy Rector

Lucy Rector - BHS 12th Grade Student

  • Lucy is one of the most impactful students at BHS. Through her kindness and selfless acts, as well as her immense participation in school-related events, Lucy is a truly special person. I feel so lucky to know her because of the positive impact she has made on my life.
  • When I am around her at school, I notice the energy she puts into her interactions and conversations. People always say “Hi” to Lucy because they feel comfortable, supported, and heard by her. It is people that make us feel these things that we will always remember, and I know how many people she has made feel this way. Lucy makes me feel less alone in this world.
  • Lucy's heart is one of the biggest I know. Anytime someone has asked to join her in doing something, her answer has been yes. She loves a lot of things- especially BHS. 
  • Her perseverance and desire to learn represent her strong mind. I am always impressed by the people that are okay with being wrong when they raise their hand. To be willing to raise your hand and say what you think is a very admirable characteristic, arguably the most significant aspect of a strong mind. Lucy does this every day. She understands that she can learn from those around her, which happens a great deal when you contribute to the class.
  • From ASB to leadership class to Hike Club Vice President to volunteering at the Helpline House, Lucy contributes to the Bainbridge Community. 
  • Words used to describe you include: hilarious, kind, caring, encouraging, positive, one-of-a-kind, empathetic, creative, thoughtful, amazing


Lilah Wakefield - Odyssey 7th Grade Student

  • At the beginning of the school year, I asked for student volunteers in our 7/8 grade Odyssey class to assist with the kindergarten class during their Thursday mornings before school. Since the beginning of January, Lilah has been the consistent student helper who shows up each and every Thursday without fail.  
  • All of the kindergarteners love her and are excited that she volunteers her time to be with them in music. She has made a commitment to these young people in our school, and I am so proud of Lilah for showing such care to younger students. 
  • She is patient and kind with each student in the kindergarten class. Lilah sings and dances with the students. 
  • She encourages hesitant learners and is supportive and enthusiastic. Lilah also helps students who may be having a difficult day by talking to them and encouraging them. Lilah treats the kindergartners with dignity and respect. 
  • Words used to describe you include: caring, musical, intuitive, creative, enthusiastic, a student leader and role model 

Susan Fidelman

Susan Fidelman - Mosaic Paraeducator

  • Susan epitomizes BISD Strong.  She is often one of the first staff members who arrives in the morning, and the last to leave in the evening.  
  • She is a cheerleader and recruiter for all our programs, she teaches Latin, she supervises lunch... she is a true Renaissance woman. 
  • I am always so warmed by her sunny disposition and easygoing spirit... quite a feat for someone who works as tirelessly as she does.  
  • She's seen a lot, has weathered all the changes and is a true team player, working to make all of us and all our programs better.  
  • Words used to describe you include: committed, supportive, warm, generous, interested in all