Superintendent’s Stars, Employees of the Quarter among honorees at end-of-year Staff Awards

The 2020-21 school year has come to an end, and several exceptional Marshalltown CSD staff members were celebrated and recognized at the annual Staff Awards presentation recently.

Fourteen Bobcat employees earned one of the District’s most distinguished honors – the Superintendent’s Star Award. The Stars named by Dr. Theron Schutte for 2020-21 included: 

  • Ashley Chyma, Anson Elementary school counselor
  • Brienna Wolf, Fisher Elementary second grade teacher
  • Natalie Elliott, Franklin Elementary first grade teacher
  • Peg Ven Horst, Hoglan Elementary paraeducator
  • Emily Frese, Rogers Elementary school nurse
  • Anay Avila, Woodbury Elementary building secretary
  • Tonya Gaffney, Lenihan Intermediate School instructional coach
  • Lucas Johnson, Miller Middle School language arts teacher
  • Doug Bacon, MHS math teacher
  • Christianna Vande Kamp, Marshalltown Learning Academy special education teacher
  • Erica Finders, District PK-6 curriculum and professional development leader
  • Jamie Wilson, Food Service at MHS
  • Jerri Hill, Central Office and MLA custodian
  • Craig Sheldon, District Transportation bus driver

“The Superintendent’s Star award represents exemplary employees who have demonstrated a strong moral compass.” Dr. Schutte said. “They build positive, strong relationships and influence others to do the same. They are highly motivated, they show initiative, they are problem-solvers, and they demonstrate mastery of their craft.”

Employees of the Quarter
Also honored during the virtual Staff Awards were three Employees of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of 2020-21, including: Rogers Elementary Title I teacher Chris Melde, Woodbury Elementary P.E. teacher Sarah Murphy, and Miller Middle School Modular Technology/PLTW teacher Rebecca Callahan. 

“Each of these incredible staff members was nominated by their peers for their dedication, teamwork, and willingness to go above and beyond expectations to serve students,” said Communications Director Adam Sodders, who presented the awards.

At Rogers Elementary, Chris Melde was nominated for Employee of the Quarter for the leadership, support, and positive attitude she provides. Melde was nominated by Rogers peers Erin Faas, Mark Church, and Megan Cutright. 

Sarah Murphy’s physical education class brings delight to students on a daily basis. Fellow Woodbury employee Heidi Williams nominated Murphy for her positive energy, initiative, and focus on students’ health and wellness.

Miller Middle School’s Modular Technology classroom offers unique and enriching education through hands-on lessons. Overseeing that classroom is Rebecca Callahan, who was nominated for Employee of the Quarter by fellow Miller employee Jeff Tice.

Tice said Callahan genuinely cares about her students and shows great dedication. He said Callahan is willing to meet students’ individual needs and brings a lot of excitement and energy to class each day. 

Congratulations to all three of these exceptional Employee of the Quarter honorees!

Service awards and retiree recognitions
Also honored at the Staff Awards celebration were long-serving employees and 2021 MCSD retirees. Both recognitions were shared by Director of Human Resources Dr. Nora Ryan.

20 years of service
Beth Steffa, Melissa Ulch, Kelli Hamblin, Danielle Platt, Connie Reinert, David Stanfield, Jennifer August, Kristina Dulaney, Gina Eberline, Tim Holmgren, Theresa Siegert, Dorothy Johnsen, Tonia Mast, Suanne Adams Willman, Mary Borton, Rachel Nelson-Loupee, Kenneth Niehouse, Valerie Varnum-Hunt, Brenda Miller, Lisa Niehouse, Troy Long, Rosa Nevarez, and Tanda Stanton

25 years of service
Deb Christenson, Stephanie Goos, Deb Moore, Kris Alman, Krystal Randall, Jodi Breniman, Bob Gilbertson, Dr. Mick Jurgensen, and Melanie Knoll

2021 Retirees

  • Doug Bacon, MHS math teacher
  • Pam Brewer-Michael, District 7-12 curriculum and professional development leader
  • Mickie Carlson, MHS social studies teacher
  • Raquel Chairez, Miller Middle School bilingual language assistant
  • Kathy Cox, Miller Middle School math teacher
  • Lori Ferneau, Rogers Elementary paraeducator
  • Diane Hart, MHS paraeducator
  • Jim Lankelma, Woodbury Elementary fourth grade teacher
  • Gary Mertens, MHS Academic Success Center teacher
  • Brenda Sjoblom, MHS math teacher
  • Lisa Williams, Miller Middle School special education teacher
  • Rod Whitmore, MHS school resource officer (MPD)
  • Kathleen Waltermire, Rogers Elementary food service

We wish all of our incredible staff members a great summer and thank them for their dedication, care, and focus on student success!