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Local educators honored


Elizabeth Corwine, left, Denise Hannahs and Dee Kuehne. - Scott Hunter photo

Several local educators in two districts were honored last month, chosen for accolades in front of their counterparts from district all over this part of the state.

Their own union members voted to send them to ceremonies of the North Central Washington Educational Service District, after nominations by colleagues.

From the Grand Coulee Dam School District, Jess Utz was chosen from the classified educator staff for the Excellence in Education award. Jeff Piturachsatit got the award from the certificated teachers. They were honored at the ESD's Grant County Excellence in Education banquet in Moses Lake.

From the Nespelem School District, Dee Kuehne and Denise Hannahs were honored at the Okanogan County Excellence in Education Banquet in Winthrop. Teacher Elizabeth Corwine was honored among the teachers.

Kuehne and Hannahs, who Principal Debra Pankey said operate as a team running Nespelem's kitchen, are hard workers who go "above and beyond" to make sure kids get their nutrition, she said.

Jess Utz, left, and Jeff Piturachsatit. - Scott Hunter photo

Teacher Corwine has put in "120 percent" this year, taking up extra teaching and other duties in the wake of staff illness and other circumstances. With a graphic arts background, she's added teaching art. And she's taken on advising the ASB, the after-school program and the annual.

No one knows Lake Roosevelt Jr/Sr High School students better than Jess Utz, said Principal Mark Herndon, and Utz has been his "go-to person for everything" during Herndon's first year at the school, a "fantastic mentor" for himself and the new assistant principal.

And as a teacher, Herndon said, Piturachsatit "brings an excitement and positive outlook to the classroom," and is "the model for how to build appropriate relationships with his students and use those relationships to support student success" through formal activities and just showing he cares.

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