2021-2022 Employees of the Year
Amazing Staff Who Go Above & Beyond for Students
We selected 11 outstanding Employees of the Year who exemplify our Kent School District mission of successfully preparing all students for their futures. Thank you for going above and beyond to support our students!
These incredible members of Team KSD will be honored during our school board meeting on June 8, 2022.
View Vela's Voice of congratulation to our Employees of the Year.
Bus Driver, Transportation
Bus Drivers (Teamsters)
Cathy is a meticulous school bus driver and trainer. She has been teaching new drivers for many years in KSD, and her years of experience provide her with the skills to train new bus drivers to be fully prepared to pass the Commercial Driver License test. Safety is always a priority for Cathy and is something she does not ever waver from. It is important to Cathy that her trainees leave training sessions understanding safety is the priority. She always keeps the core principles of student management, road safety, and proactive awareness as her focus. Not only is she one of the core reasons that KSD's bus drivers are prepared for any situation, but she also creates an environment on her bus that makes her students feel safe and supported. She is one of the essential foundational employees in the Transportation Department, and KSD is proud to call her the Bus Driver Employee of the Year.
Central Office Administrator
Dr. Christine Corbley
Director, Teaching and Learning
Central Office Administrators (Non-Rep)
Dr. Christine Corbley is the Director of the Teaching and Learning Office in KSD and works tirelessly to create and implement professional development around high-impact teaching strategies districtwide. In addition, she made a process for principals to request support from the Teaching and Learning specialists. As a person devoted to equity, Dr. Corbley has helped guide her team in looking at all curriculum and instruction decisions through an equity lens. Additionally, student voice is critical to the process. She made student feedback one of the critical steps in the curriculum adoption process. Dr. Corbley has also revised the curriculum review process to include specific dates, timelines, and rubrics focusing on scoring rubrics that are built through an equity and inclusion lens. In addition, Dr. Corbley works endlessly to create a curriculum focused on what is best for the students, and it is through this lens that she is the Central Office Administrator Employee of the Year.
Head Coach - HS Girls Track & Assistant Coach - Football, Kentwood High School
Kent Association of Coaches & Extracurricular Employees (WEA)
Coach Thomas strives to ensure all his athletes understand the skills they are learning in his track and field program are crucial for their success in college and their future careers. In addition to placing a strong emphasis on responsibility, timeliness, and sportsmanship, Coach Thomas has developed a culture of accountability in his athletes. Coach Thomas holds frequent team meetings and has 1:1 conferences with his athletes regularly to ensure they are managing both their wins and losses in healthy, productive ways. In addition, he organizes his teams with a focus on student leadership and accountability. He develops leadership skills by relying on athletes to implement plans and monitor progress. Additionally, he ensures that he leads with an emphasis on equity by not shying away from difficult conversations with athletes and addressing concerns immediately when they arise. He is an advocate, a defender, and a dedicated leader, and why he is our Coaches and Extracurricular (WEA) Employee of the Year.
Lead Facilities Tech, French Field
Bus Garage Mechanics, Custodians, Nutrition Services Drivers, Maintenance, Print Shop, Warehouse Drivers (AFT)
Gary Sorensen is the Lead Facilities Technician at French Field and is responsible for maintaining and preparing all fields at schools for our student-athletes. He keeps a student-first mindset as he prepares fields to ensure our student-athletes can focus on their performance and not the condition of the field. Gary is a pro at communication and does so with positivity and courtesy. He engages with students, staff, and parents while at the school prepping the fields. Gary works hard to improve processes, uplifts accountability for himself and his team, and makes sure that collaboration is a core foundation for maintaining the athletic facilities in KSD. Gary plays a vital role in the KSD facilities team and for thousands of student-athletes across KSD. We are proud to call him our AFT Employee of the Year.
Graphic Designer, Central Office
Central Office & School-Based Non-Administrative/Non-Supervisory Staff (Non-Rep)
Matt Anderson is the district's graphic designer and oversees the district's brand management and identity. He has an important role in creating everything from flyers that are posted to Peachjar, building branding for our new schools Kent Laboratory Academy and River Ridge Elementary School, creating the brochures and graphic content for the recent EP&O Levy campaign, to being the lead designer on the Kent School District Connected magazine. Matt is an incredibly gifted visual artist who uses his talent to consult with schools and create branded content. He has a huge heart and a passion for the work he does. His work, especially during Covid-19 and as we transitioned to in-person instruction, has been at the forefront of our district's equity efforts. He works with our equity team and translator-interpreters to visually communicate with our community in a meaningful way. Matt was an alumnus of Kentridge High School and had been giving back to the KSD community ever since. Matt embodies what KSD represents, and his work is built on a critical foundation of communicating with families, students, and staff at every step of the way. KSD is proud to name Matt Anderson as the Non-Administrative/Non-Supervisory Staff Employee of the Year.
Science Program Specialist
Non-Classroom Certificated Staff (KEA)
Annette has taken multiple avenues to prepare all students to be college and career ready in her work in bringing science and STEM to life for students in K-12. One of the ways Annette brings life to STEM is her creation and work in laying out comprehensible lesson plans that are engaging and aligned to grade-level standards. When Dual language incorporated science in Spanish – Annette didn't hesitate and began working to find and create resources that would meet the needs of our dual language students. Additionally, Annette has offered multiple professional development opportunities throughout the year for staff. She models lessons, discusses ways to implement the curriculum, and follows up with staff support. Annette's drive to make the science curriculum equitable for all students, build lessons with a high level of rigor, and provide professional development sets students and staff up to reach grade-level expectations and excellence. We are proud to call Annette Venegas our Non-Classroom Certificated (KEA) Employee of the Year.
Elementary Cook Manager, Jenkins Creek Elementary
Nutrition Services (KSFSA)
Vera does more than preparing food for KSD students each day. She learns their names and notices their moods and preferences. Furthermore, she always makes sure food isn't a concern for students, so they can focus on being successful in the classroom and on their development. Vera always makes sure students get what they need, and she organizes the lunchroom experience so all children receive food they enjoy. She shows up each day with a smile and quiet diligence. Vera takes her work seriously and always strives to improve if anything needs attention. Her commitment to her students and work is why she is the Nutrition Services (KSFSA) Employee of the Year.
Office Manager, Meadow Ridge
Office Professionals (KAEOP)
Marcia has high expectations for all students and emotionally supports every student at Meadow Ridge. Marcia makes sure she gets to know each student individually to learn best how to support each child. Her empathy and sharp memory help students feel better to move forward positively. Additionally, Marcia has the mentality that no student or staff member should be left behind. Her compassion, hard work, and bright attitude ensure Meadow Ridge is a happy and safe school. Her long history at Meadow Ridge Elementary allows her to help troubleshoot issues and assist the office staff. She makes equity the foundation of her work and recognizes when there needs to be more equitable practices put in place. She goes above and beyond in every situation and it is for these reasons she is the Office Professionals (KAEOP) Employee of the Year.
Paraeducator, The Outreach Program (TOP)
Kent Association of Paraeducators (KAP)
Matt prepares students for work or to be career-ready by creating tools to help students be as independent as possible. He looks at the whole student and works towards their independence. When needed, he produces visual schedules and work task cards to help students move from task to task at work with assistance. One example of this is Matt wanted students at TOP to be more independent, so he created a color-coated schedule that tells students what task they need to be doing. Matt's advocacy for his students has given them the chance to try tasks they have never done before. Matt is a team player who is always willing to share ideas and concerns during classroom staff meetings. Additionally, he treats every person he interacts with as though they are the most important person he has ever met. Congratulations to Matthew Arnold the KSD Paraeducator of the Year.
Dr. Samantha Ketover
Principal, Kentwood High School
Principals or Assistant Principals (KPA)
Dr. Ketover has instilled a deep sense of commitment and responsibility to her students and community at Kentwood High School. She has overseen many programs designed to ensure students can find their purpose after high school. She holds everyone accountable for the success of her school community by asking the right questions, offering the needed support, and managing the resources to make Kentwood students prepared for their next steps. She is adamant about including faculty, staff, students, families, and the community in important decisions that impact teaching and learning. People trust her to solve their problems and do what is right because they know her as a mother, educator, and great systems thinker. She exemplifies the best qualities and characteristics of Team KSD because she realizes every person has potential, and she works tirelessly to maximize this potential with them. Her commitment to her staff, students, and community and the many reasons above is why she is the Principal or Assistant Principal (KPA) Employee of the Year.
Teacher, Scenic Hill Elementary
Kent Education Association (KEA)
Our Teacher of the Year, Michael Carney, has focused on putting students first and creating a space where students can learn, grow, and build a pathway toward their next step. Read more about Michael Carney earning Teacher of the Year.