School district honors teacher, employee, and volunteers of the year
by Jeff Richards
contributing writer
Jun 20, 2013 | 872 views | 0 0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend | print
25 GCSD awards
School board president Jim Webster presents Clarke Abbey with the Teacher of the Year award. Photos by Jeff Richards
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Clarke Abbey, a special education teacher at Helen M. Knight Elementary School, was recently named Grand County School District’s Teacher of the Year for 2012-13. She received the award and a commemorative plaque during the district’s year-end staff meeting held in the high school commons on May 31, the last day of school.

Also at the meeting, HMK computer coordinator Bill Godschalx was named the school district’s Employee of the Year.

Abbey, who provides intervention and support for kindergartners and first-graders, was lauded for going “above and beyond any job description ever written for her position.”

“She gives of her own time while also making effective use of her school time every day,” said Grand County Board of Education president Jim Webster as he presented Abbey with the award. “She greets the kids in the hall as if they are the missing piece to her perfect day.”

Abbey was also cited for being “a warm, caring, spunky, creative, organized, funny, fabulous woman.”

“She is involved with all the teachers and the intervention plans for her grade levels,” Webster added. “But don’t be misled – Clarke always has time for a good laugh, too.”

  Godschalx was also recognized for going above and beyond his paid job description.

“Whenever a projector bulb goes out, who do they call ... Bill,” said school board member Bryon Walston. “He is the first line of defense when technology goes wrong. He troubleshoots and fixes so many things behind the scenes. We are truly very lucky and grateful to have Bill on our team.”

School district officials also presented one other major annual award earlier on May 31. The “Friend of Education” award is typically given to a member of the community who provides outstanding volunteer support to the school district and its programs.

Honored as the year’s Friends of Education of the Year were Gail and Gery Wakefield, who were recognized during Grand County Middle School’s eighth-grade promotion ceremony.

The Wakefields were lauded for their ongoing and tireless efforts in organizing and chairing the annual HMK Science Fair for the past several years. They have also helped with various other events such as bike rodeo, school assemblies, car show parking, and other activities. Gail is also a longtime member of the HMK Community Council. The Wakefields, who also have children enrolled at Grand County High and GCMS, have been active in helping the middle school and high school become more accessible to people with disabilities, district officials added.

School district officials also recognized several retiring teachers and employees, namely district office administrative assistant Becky McCormick, HMK teachers Jean Eardley and Martha Hefner, high school teachers Lin Kolb and Boyd Bryan, and special education secretary Annie Henderson. 

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