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Thank You, Classified Staff!

Graphic shows paraprofessionals with students, a custodian, a bus driver, and food service. "Thank you, Classified staff!"

Thank you to each member of our classified staff, at every building, facility and site in the district!

March 13-17 is Education Support Professionals Week, an annual opportunity to recognize the vast contributions of our many classified team members!

If there’s a classified staff member who has made a difference for your student(s), please let them know with a quick note of thanks or in another way sometime this week.


We asked classified staff members to tell us a bit about why they love their job; or one of their favorite work memories. Here are their answers!

Shellianne Gitchel, Holly Street Early Learning Center:

“I like that I have the ability to support the director of (and the building containing) the preschool programs. I feel that early learning is vital to the success of a student, and I am very honored to be part of this program.” 

Kerri Bunch, Skyline High School:

“The students! It's always the students! Skyline High School has some of the most amazing, impressive kids and young adults that I've had the honor to learn about. I can only hope they see themselves through our eyes and feel that confidence to achieve anything they put their energy towards.” 

Laura Mattson, Liberty High School:

“Interacting with students is the best part of my job. Being around their energy and enthusiasm brings me such happiness. I love seeing them grow and develop into kind, capable adults.”

Adriana Serna, ACT program:

“I enjoy watching our students transition from High school to our program and witness our students transition into adults. I love being a part of their growth process. To be a part of their success when they develop the skills needed to apply and get paid employment.” 

Paige Wagner, Creekside Elementary:

“I love working with the great staff at Creekside! Everyone jumps in to help whenever needed and we have each other's back! Makes coming to work a joy!”

Dolores D’Alo, Cedar Trails Elementary:

“I get to work with some spectacular people: paras, admin, health room specialists, as well as our great teachers. To see the amount of love and kindness they have for our sweet students is wonderful.”

Tiffany Aske, ACT program:

“What I love most about my job is building relationships with the students. I miss the students that have graduated from the program where I work and am always hoping the best for them in their future. I also love the relationships with my amazing co-workers. I also love that my job is never boring!!” 

Alexis Grosclaude, Issaquah Middle School:

“You can't put a price on the amazing connections you make with so many different people – the kiddos especially! There is something really special about hearing your name called in the hall and turning to see a group of students who want to just say 'Hi,' give you a high five, fist bump or want to ask how you are doing or if they can 'hang out' with you. Being someone that they can come to for anything is so incredibly rewarding. This is a special job to have. I can safely say I am excited to come to work every morning because of my staff and students.”


What is one of your favorite one-the-job moments?


Laura Mattson, Liberty High School:

“Spirit weeks bring out the best in our student body. Watching students participate in dress-up days, friendly class contests, games at lunch, and afterschool activities is really fun.  One specific highlight of this year was watching a local university's representatives surprise a student with the news that he not only gained admission to their university, but he also earned a significant scholarship. Staff and students spontaneously gathered to cheer, clap, and congratulate this surprised student. It was fantastic!”

Adriana Serna, ACT program:

“Favorite moment is, hands down, always ACT graduation. The chance to spotlight our graduates and show off their successes is always amazing.  I also have to say getting our team together to go support our students at their Special Olympics games is just as amazing!!!!!”

Dolores D’Alo, Cedar Trails Elementary:

“Seeing a second grader take a new kindergartener by the hand to help him find his new classroom. It was so sweet.”

Shellianne Gitchel, Holly Street Early Learning Center:

“Having my new supervisor tell me that she appreciates me and values my work. I don't think that classified employees receive the praise they deserve.  We work very hard behind the scenes to make this district function on a daily basis.  Without classified staff, the district would fall hard, and my supervisor acknowledges it.”

Kerri Bunch, Skyline High School:

“In just one year, I've racked up countless memories of Skyline students coming together for each other; group to group, individual for individual, teammate for teammate. Those times I've witnessed genuine, authentic care for their fellow students, admin, and teachers was inspiring each and every time. Thank you, Skyline!”


We also asked staff members to share about a classified coworker who makes all the difference for our students. Here are the celebrations and highlights that we received. 

Ritu Chandra, Skyline High School 

“Ritu Chandra, UNS (Unique Needs Specialist) is a 1:1 registered behavior technician at Skyline High School who works with a student who has highly complex learning and behavioral needs. She is knowledgeable in the field of behavior analysis, she's patient, warm, organized, hardworking, persistent and always has a kind smile on her face. Thanks to her hard work and dedication, the student has made tremendous progress in all areas and is able to access more environments at his school. She is AMAZING!” said Dina Alatorre. 

LRC II Paraprofessionals, Liberty High School 

“Lindsay Barnes, Christel Brown, Deanna Gaudet, Mariel Paulino, and Caitlin Staples – This team does an incredible job supporting our students and staff in the LRC II program every day! They know the strengths of our students and are dedicated to helping them have the best possible experiences in the classroom, on community outings, engaging with electives, and participating in extracurriculars, such as unified athletics,” said Erin Armstrong. 

Amy Carr, CTE Paraprofessional, Liberty High School 

“Ms. Carr assists our students in Woods, Material Science, Metal Fabrication, and Theater Production (there is a lot to prepare for our upcoming “Mamma Mia” performances!). We appreciate the way that she checks in with students, helps them work through challenging tasks, and offers encouragement – it’s great to see all that they accomplish with support!” said Erin Armstrong. 

LRC I Paraprofessionals, Liberty High School 

“Narda Burnett, Rhonda Hewitt, Julie Lewis, Rebecca Schwenk, and Michelle Warlick – These amazing staff members assist students in a wide variety of classes - from world history to biology, math to culinary - they work closely with teachers to ensure that our students are successful. We are grateful for the ways that they show up for our students every day to provide support!” said Erin Armstrong. 

Kim Loucks, Health Room Specialist, Liberty High School 

“Ms. Loucks greets students with warmth and kindness every day as they enter the health room. She helps them feel comfortable and cared for when they need assistance. We are so grateful for her expertise and dedication to our students!” said Erin Armstrong. 

Beth Hardy, Liberty High School  

“Beth runs the building! If I have a question or need to know who somebody is or where to send something, I go to Beth! She takes care of every staff member in the building and makes it look easy, but we know it's NOT! We all love Beth!” said Robin Klym. 

Kim Loucks, Liberty High School 

“Kim is the best! She is always ready to help a student or staff member and provides a safe space for our kids when they need extra time to decompress or take a break. I don't know how our students would get through their days without her!” said Robin Klym. 

Becky Wachtman and Jillian Moss, Liberty High School  

“Becky and Jill are fantastic in our College & Career Center! They are always welcoming and helpful to our students and families. They are on top of the HSBP, making sure all students are completing their required assignments. They changed up the way we are doing senior interviews this year and it's going great! We love having them in our department and we know that when we send our students to see them, the students will be welcomed and leave with the answers they need,” said Robin Klym. 

Heidi Ashraf, Newcastle Elementary 

“Heidi is so flexible, thinks ahead to address possible problems, and is so kind to the students she works with. She goes above and beyond for the students we share. She is always willing to lend a hand and help out when possible. We love our Ms. Heidi!” shared the Newcastle 5th Grade Team of Jill Binks, Madi Herr, Taylor Kassuba and Katie Wilhelm. 

LRC2 paraprofessional team, Sunset Elementary 

“Thank you, thank you, thank you to the LRC2 para team at Sunset Elementary! They have gone above and beyond this year working through staffing and program changes to ensure that students are receiving the best support possible and are able to succeed and thrive both academically and socially. Karen, Deepa, Fereshteh, Elyse, Annabelle, Revathi, Heather, Ashley, Peyton, and Lindsey – we so appreciate you and are inspired every day by the work you are doing to support our students!” said Megan Merydith. 

Family Partnership Liaisons 

“Thank you to our Family Liaisons, Ina, Liliana and Wenli, for your tireless work supporting the Issaquah School District families.  You all have had countless meetings with parents to help them with EVP, registration, course selection, navigating the school system and help answer questions and provide supports whenever needed.  We appreciate the new resources and contacts you bring to the district to assist our families.  Also, thank you for working many late evenings presenting information in Mandarin, Spanish and Korean to families to help better understand information about our district and guide their child,” shared the members of the Equity Department team. 

Sunny Hills paraprofessionals  

“Our amazing group of paraprofessionals help make Sunny Hills a great place to be. They work as a team to be sure all students are safe crossing our streets, in the parking lot and at recess. Their collective sense of humor and overall positive energy help set the tone for student and staff! Thank you for all you do!” said Karin Danner. 

Nikki Wiebe, Newcastle Elementary 

“Nikki Wiebe goes above and beyond her job of just being a para. She works well with all students and knows what they need to work on, academically and behaviorally. She is firm, caring and fun. Nikki makes my job a lot easier by helping me instruct Kinders in Really Great Reading. I enjoy working alongside her!” said Priscilla Hooke. 

Heidi Kayler and Tina Weber, VOICE Mentor Program, Admin Building 

“Two people in our district that are constantly thinking about relationships and potential in our students are Heidi Kayler and Tina Weber, our Voice Program Specialists. As they have joined our team this year, we have witnessed the hours and hours they spend seeking out and attracting mentors for the program that best fit the students. VOICE is an incredible program that connects people in our community to students to create a positive one-to-one relationship and these two work endlessly to make it work. Thank you so much Heidi and Tina! We appreciate you,” shared the members of the Equity Department team. 

Janet Clough, Liberty High School 

“Janet Clough, Paraprofessional in Student Support Center. Janet creates a warm and welcoming space for students that need a quiet testing location, and assists students who need academic and behavior interventions. We are grateful to have her on our team, because she cares deeply about students and works to support them every day!” said Erin Armstrong. 

Gisela Varela, Clark Elementary School  

“Gisela is such an amazing para in transitional kindergarten.  She develops relationships with kids, is patient, brings a love of art, and is such a natural with kids.  I am so lucky to be partnered with you!  Thank you for all you do!” said Tiffany Holland. 

ACT Program 

“Dawn Lewis, Patrice DeCarvalho, Lynn Lwin, Tiffany Aske, Jessica Burles and our sub paras Pauline, and Karina – all of these people plus our amazing principal, teachers and specialist make the ACT program a huge success and a wonderful place to work. Without each and every one of them, we could not do what we do,” said Adriana Serna 

Shelly Russell and Kiana Atwater, Liberty High School 

“These ladies provide a welcoming space for our students in the counseling office when they walk through our doors!  They are always willing to step in and help out however possible, including proctoring tests and consoling crying students when we have overload in the counseling office! Shelly and Kiana make a huge difference in our students' lives at Liberty, and our Counseling Office could not run without them! They keep us moving forward!” Robin Klym said. 

Endeavour Elementary paraprofessionals 

“We have the most amazing team of paras at Endeavour Elementary! They demonstrate flexibility and creativity as they balance the changing needs of our school. It is easy to see the heart they have for their roles. I am so grateful for the work they do to help meet the social-emotional needs of our students. Thank you for all you do to make our school a safe and fun place to be, for both students and staff!” said Mikayla Rolfs. 

Jen Combs, paraprofessional for special education classrooms, Briarwood Elementary 

“Jen Combs does an outstanding job helping our students learn and grow every day. She is an advocate for our students who is willing to form strong relationships with them, and wants to help them strive to be the best they can be!” said Kimberly Brousseau. 

Jayanthi Nair, Briarwood Elementary 

“Jayanthi Nair in Library at Briarwood is just outstanding!  She's always so cheerful and helpful with the students, and a wonderful resource in the Library,” said Shelley Behnke, long-term sub teacher-librarian. 

Bonnie Sonderegger, Grand Ridge Elementary 

“You are the most kindhearted, thoughtful and amazing person. You pour yourself out to the last drop every day to help our students. Grand Ridge LRC team is the MOST lucky team to have you! WE ALL LOVE YOU MS. S.,” said Leena Chavda. 

Janet Clough, paraprofessional at Liberty High School 

“Janet is always so kind and welcoming to our students in the Support Center! She helps them get started on tests and assignments and provides a safe space for students to get caught up on their assignments. Even when I know she is busy, she takes the time to welcome another student into the Support Center with a smile! Janet is also a great help in classrooms with our most vulnerable students and I appreciate all that she does for them. I know our students love her and appreciate her as well!” said Robin Klym. 

Rhonda Hewitt, paraprofessional at Liberty  

“Rhonda works one on one and in classrooms with our most vulnerable students at LHS! She is a kind and structured presence in their classes, and I have some students who look forward to their classes because they get to see Ms. Hewitt! She always finds a way to connect with them which means so much!” said Robin Klym. 

Akanksha Sims, data processor at Liberty

“Akanksha is new to her position with us this year, and she has rocked it! She is always on top of things and has the endless number of reports we ask for to us in a flash. We are now in the midst of our crazy Course Request Process, and she has worked so hard to get our courses into the system correctly for students! She is a rock star!” said Robin Klym.