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You Make a Difference Awards

The You Make a Difference Award is presented to staff members whose exemplary actions support students, colleagues and the mission of Salina Public Schools. Recipients of these awards receive a lapel pin and a handwritten note personally delivered by a board of education member.

Darcee Redden, Occupational Therapist, CKCIE

The nomination form for Darcee Redden described her as not just an occupational therapist but also like family to the people she serves. She is extraordinary at helping students grow and learn life skills. She goes beyond her workday to research, make phone calls, listen to parents' concerns and search for therapy tools. When it comes to her students, Darcee does not cease until she finds a solution. Thank you Darcee, for making a difference!


Tracy Olson, Foodservice Bookkeeper
Oakdale Elementary School

Oakdale Elementary School staff nominated Tracy for her level of caring for Oakdale children. Tracy and her staff always have a hug and smile for the children coming through the lunch line. The Oakdale staff members want her to know how lucky they feel that she works in their building. Thank you, Tracy, for making a difference at Oakdale!


Kimberlee Stauffer, 4th Grade Teacher
Sunset Elementary School

Kimberlee took the lead on designing an English Language Arts Revolutionary War Unit breakout activity. The result was a highly engaging activity where students worked in teams and practiced collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem solving. Thank you Kimberlee for making a difference at Sunset!


Tiffany Wesoloski, Nurse
Cottonwood Elementary School

It has been said that Nurse Wesoloski may be the busiest person at Cottonwood. During first semester she had 3,315 visits to her office. She is always friendly and professional, known to build great relationships with students, parents and staff. Thank you Tiffany, for truly taking care of the Cottonwood family and making a difference!


Shawna Vakadewatabua, Kindergarten Teacher
Oakdale Elementary School

Shawna’s teaching style prompted a parent to nominate her to receive this recognition. Some of Shawna’s qualities that positively affect everyone include her hard work, wonderful communication skills and her warm and open heart. Her extra efforts included providing gifts to families in need at the holidays and attending school and student activities outside of the work day. Thank you, Shawna, for making a difference at Oakdale!


Cathy Cash, Music Teacher
Heusner Elementary School

Cathy brought an exciting idea to Heusner: High Five Fridays. Her vision involves community members ‘high-five-ing’ students as they enter on Friday mornings as acknowledgement of students’ hard work, pride and grit. Participants have included Kansas State Polytechnic, the USD 305 board office and the Salina Police Department. Cathy’s initiative and coordination have made a difference at Heusner, thank you!


Sara Goldsby, 1st Grade Teacher; McKenzie Weishaar, 2nd Grade Teacher; Linda Rohrer, Music Teacher
Sunset Elementary School

Sara, McKenzie and Linda formed a committee to run a community project for Sunset students named “Give-Cember.” The Sunset family brought gloves, mittens and hats that were used at Sunset and shared with other community agencies. Students proudly watched as the collection of items grew to a final number of 234 donations. Thank you Sara, McKenzie and Linda for making a difference at Sunset!

Molly Cherry, ESL Instructor
Cottonwood Elementary School

Molly’s influence is appreciated by students and staff alike, notably, her ability to promote a feeling of calm throughout the building as students wait patiently and quietly for their buses. Colleagues credit her creativity for improving their experiences with bus duty. Thank you Molly for positively impacting students and staff at Cottonwood!

Michelle Augustine and Michelle Chora, Night Custodians
Heusner Elementary School

Heusner’s evening custodians have become an integral part of the school family. Their enthusiasm to support a positive school culture was evident when they used their own time during weekends to decorate classroom doors for super hero and grinch themes. Thank you, Michelle Augustine and Michelle Chora for making a difference!

Michelle Post, Secretary
Opportunity Now

Always positive, attentive, on-task and grounded in serving students, Michelle wears many hats at Opportunity Now. She works with alternative placement and homebound efforts, serves as health delegate, coordinates multi-agency involvement and shares her technical expertise with staff. Thank you Michelle for making a positive difference at Opportunity Now!

Pat Schrader, Para
Grace E. Stewart Elementary School
Pat has a reputation with her colleagues as being quick to respond when help is needed. When a request for assistance goes out over the Walkie Talkies, Pat always seems to appear. If it is possible to have limitless patience, Pat would qualify based on her work with students who are struggling. Thank you Pat for making a difference!

Eric Boyle, Network Technician and Holly Wentz, Network Engineer
When Heusner staff discovered one of their students had a real passion for technology, they arranged a special incentive. Holly and Eric enthusiastically agreed to share their insights and visit with the youth. After the student worked hard for the privilege, all three met to talk about technology. Thank you Eric and Holly for making a difference!