January 2024 Employee Excellence Awards

The following employees were selected to receive the January Employee Excellence Awards and recognition at the January 2024 school board meeting.

Valerie Chavez, SpEd Teacher at Alki Middle School
Joshua Flick, Science Teacher at Jason Lee Middle School
Shannon Long, PE Teacher at Gaiser Middle School
Eugene Trahan, Building Operator at Ogden Elementary School
Melisa Woods, Teacher Librarian at Eisenhower Elementary School

Five employees are recognized between October and June of each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.

In addition to awardees chosen by the peer nomination and Excellence Awards committee voting process, the Board of Directors may recognize recipients who have been nominated by the Superintendent’s Cabinet for demonstrating exceptional leadership and dedication to VPS students and their families.

Valerie Chavez, SpEd Teacher

Alki Middle School

We recognize Valerie Chavez, a special education teacher at Alki Middle School for her kindness and dedication to her students. Her impact is evident in the significant educational, social, and personal growth of her students, many of whom have transitioned successfully into general education settings. Valerie’s generosity extends beyond the classroom; she has also contributed her time and energy as a coach for bowling and volleyball during the 2022-2023 academic year. Valerie’s humility and selfless devotion to teaching and enriching the lives of her students is truly commendable. Thank you, Valerie.


Joshua Flick, Teacher

Jason Lee Middle School

It is with great pleasure that we recognize Joshua Flick, a Jason Lee Middle School science teacher. Joshua consistently goes above and beyond to assist students in reaching their goals and realizing their fullest potential. Known for always maintaining a positive attitude, he brings an infectious enthusiasm to the classroom, inspiring a love for learning in Jason Lee students. Joshua can transform learning into an engaging and enjoyable experience, a quality that resonates deeply with his students. His contribution to the school and the field of education is truly invaluable, and his impact on the lives of our students is a testament to his compassionate approach. Thank you, Joshua.

Shannon Long, PE Teacher

Gaiser Middle School

Shannon Long, a PE teacher at Gaiser Middle School, is appreciated for her leadership in ensuring safety and fostering student participation in sports. Her initiative to provide comprehensive first aid kits to coaches and her outstanding organization of the middle school cross country meet demonstrate her exceptional planning skills and dedication to student welfare. Shannon’s ability to create a professional and inclusive sporting environment, coupled with her quick action in emergency situations, exemplifies her passion and commitment to creating memorable and safe experiences for students. Thank you, Shannon.


Eugene Trahan, Building Operator

Ogden Elementary School

Eugene Trahan is an exceptional member of the Ogden family, known for his patience, joyfulness, and kindness towards both adults and children. As a custodian at the school, the dedication to his work is evident in his tireless efforts to maintain cleanliness in classrooms, ensuring every detail, from shining sliding glass doors to promptly addressing messes, is impeccably managed. His positive attitude, commitment to his work and his invaluable contributions to the school make him a deserving recipient of this recognition. Thank you, Eugene.

Melisa Woods, Teacher Librarian

Eisenhower Elementary School

Melisa Woods, a teacher librarian at Eisenhower Elementary, is an indispensable pillar of her school, consistently going beyond her duties to create a welcoming and enriching environment for both students and teachers. Her dynamic role encompasses managing the library, aiding in research and project-based learning, coordinating school assemblies, resolving tech issues, and leading various educational and community programs such as the school-wide book reading project and the Battle-of-the-Books program. Additionally, Melisa’s dedication extends to her involvement in the social committee and her significant contribution to updating social studies materials for the district’s 4th grade teachers, exemplifying her invaluable role in the school community. Thank you, Melisa.