November 2016 – Washington High School’s best of the best were honored Nov. 16 during the annual Achievement Above All awards ceremony and Principal Tami Strege compared the commitment of these individuals to that of Olympians.
“First, Olympians seek coaches and mentors because they are ever-ready learners. Moreover, they demonstrate an unfailing attitude to achieve,” Strege said. “Furthermore, Olympians set a clear purpose and vision for themselves and others. Finally, Olympians make every second count. These traits, I assert, are the same ones that make Washington’s Achievement Above All recipients so remarkable.”
Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient:
English teacher and literacy coach Malee Johnson is Washington’s Teacher of the Year.
“If Olympic athletes are ever-ready learners, Malee’s own philosophy on learning qualifies her,” Strege said. “Her passion is examining how she can develop her own practice in order to grow, seeking every opportunity to impact students and colleagues alike.”
“Working with Malee for the past two years in our internal lab has made me a stronger teacher – able to reflect upon my teaching and help increase student learning. [She demonstrates] a calm demeanor and non-judgmental approach to helping teachers and students. I am so proud to work with such an amazing and inspirational person,” said Scott Parsons, a government teacher at Washington.
Achievement Above All Student Recipient:
Exemplary in the classroom and on the tennis court, Washington senior Jordan Alexander is Washington’s Student of the Year.
Mr. Johnson has a full schedule this year of Advanced Placement and honors classes and is ranked in the top 1 percent of his class with a weighted GPA of 4.72. In college, he plans to study computer science or engineering, with a goal to work in the creation of new, more efficient technology or in the realm of data analysis of economics or business.
He is a peer tutor, a member of National Honor Society, varsity swim and dive, varsity tennis, and a volunteer.
Adam Roberts is Mr. Alexander’s AP US history teacher and swim and dive coach. He said, “Jordan is a very sensitive and caring young man. Of course, he is an excellent student – but he is an even better human being. The care and concern that he shows for others is infectious. He is a quiet leader who leads by example. I credit his actions for the way that many of the swimmers and divers care for each other.”
Achievement Above All Student Group Recipient:
Educators Rising, the Student Group of the Year, has an impressive resume of accomplishments by its 27 members. Sponsored by teacher Danny Darrow, the group’s purpose is to provide passionate young people with hands-on teaching experience, sustain their interest in the profession and help them cultivate the skills they need to be successful educators, Principal Strege said.
The chapter has produced four national champions, three second place national winners, three third place national winners and during the past two years has had a total of 21 state champions.
“At Washington High School, these future educators live that vision every day,” she said. “Each member contributes at least 30 internship hours a Maryland School, and the chapter participates in a biweekly ELL tutoring program at Washington. Equally impressive is these future educators’ commitments to our community: This group helped to organize over 690 hours of service last year.”
Achievement Above All Support Staff Recipient:
This year’s Support Staff Employee of the Year goes to LeAnn Ré, the principal’s administrative assistant. She is a graduate of Cortez High School and has filled many roles for the district, including clerical assistant, attendance office staff, counseling secretary and records assistant. She has filled the role of administrative assistant for the past two years.
“For two years now, LeAnn has brought her poise and gracious attitude to the main office, handling both minor emergencies and major events with aplomb,” Strege said.
Alainna Charette, Washington’s data processor had this to say of Mrs. Ré: LeAnn brings a welcoming vibe with her into the workplace that makes you start on the right foot even when you woke up on the wrong side.”
Achievement Above All Volunteer Recipient:
Washington’s Volunteer of the Year award was bestowed upon Jason Ellis, who primarily volunteers with the badminton team but is always willing to lend a hand wherever needed, Strege said.
“Olympic champions focus on the little things: the progress that is sometimes measured in inches, the win that can be measured in milliseconds. While some adults become impatient with such incremental growth, Jason just celebrates the joy that comes with being around Washington students. Whether in badminton, theater, tennis, or running chains for football, Jason is happy to pitch in.”
“Despite his busy schedule, he came almost every day and helped with badminton practice,” Coach Wendy Ramos said. “He took the time to learn things about each player as a person and helped each of them discover their special role on the team. He made my job as a coach so much easier and a lot more fun. I am happy to call him my co-coach and friend.”
Thank you and congratulations to each of the Achievement Above All recipients. We are grateful for your contributions to Washington High School and the Glendale Union High School District community.
Please enjoy this highlight video from the Achievement Above All event.