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Retirement and Recognition of Service Reception Bios and Photos



We honored 17 retirees and four members of staff with 30 years of service on June 7, 2017 in the Enumclaw High School Library. Thank you to all the family, friends, and staff who were able to join us and congratulate each of these outstanding people. Anne Gannom of Country Financial generously provided the plaques for each of our retirees. Another special thank you to EHS Senior C. McClintock who played lovely music during the reception.

Staff Bios
2017 Retirement Tea
398 years of service in Enumclaw :: 17 retirees this year
1 administrator :: 3 certificated staff members :: 13 classified staff members

Diana Aaby
23 years of service
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent & Board of Directors at District Office

Diana came to the Enumclaw School District in 1994 after working in the Quillayute School District, Central Washington University and Channel 13. During the first 13 years in our school district she served in a variety of roles: Asst. Secretary at Kibler; EHS Registrar, CTE Secretary and Office Manager; and Technology Assistant. For the past 10 years she has been Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and Board of Directors.

Diana’s presence and work in our system has been exemplary. Since announcing her retirement, I have been inundated with (woeful comments from others) about not having her at the front desk in the district office. Below are just a few samples of what I have heard:
Everyone loves Diana!
What are you going to do without her?
Diana has such a positive presence in our school district.
Diana is the most positive person I know.
I just love Diana.

I have had all of those thoughts and more myself. Having walked the professional journey with Diana for the past 10 years, I have a few themes which I feel represent Diana’s work and why so many people in our school district have made contact with me regarding her retirement.

Every opportunity is a blessing.
You can make a positive difference in someone’s life by the words you use and the gestures you choose to make.
Always work hard.
Be fully present in each conversation and interaction.

Here are things you can find Diana doing….

  • Tucking a card with a Starbuck gift certificate into a bag for a colleague going on vacation.
  • Making homemade cookies for students coming to a school board meeting for awards.
  • Acknowledging many kids and colleagues through positive notes and gifts.
  • Surprising a custodian, courier or videographer with an unexpected “something.”
  • Leaving an encouraging phone message
  • Writing a check to support every fundraiser
  • Being the prized listener for many about their lives’ adventures.
  • Arriving early, staying late and responding from home to ensure all individuals are set up for success whether students, parents or colleagues.
  • Modeling the ability to stay positive, have faith and “believe there is a reason” when there are difficult moments in life.

I recently watched a movie where a character stated, “She had the inability to hide anything she felt.” The character was describing the amazing care and thoughtfulness in which another character led her life. Diana Aaby is not a character in a movie, but this is the manner in which she leads her life. She feels strongly and does not hide from showing others how much she cares through her words and actions. Her work or I might say “purpose” in the Enumclaw School District has made an impact on many. She has given us quite a gift and will leave quite a legacy.

We wish her only the very best as she begins the journey of being retired. I have no doubt she will positively impact the lives of others whether in Arizona or Washington. May “retirement angels” surround you on this journey.

Sonja Crimmins
21 years of service
Kitchen Manager at Enumclaw Middle School

Sonja Crimmins came to the Enumclaw School District in 1995. She started her career with the district at EMS as a kitchen assistant. In 1997 she became the manager at Enumclaw Middle School where she remained till her retirement this year.

Sonja has been a strong team leader supporting her crew with all the changes that seem to go along with Nutrition Services to feed students healthy meals. Every morning she greeted the students with a smiling face as they would receive their breakfast. You could always find her with her clip board writing notes. She continually looked for ways to bring delicious food to her students.

Sonja had been a strong team leader supporting nutrition service staff through her vast knowledge as the union rep and then holding positions on the union board. She worked diligently to ensure rules were followed and everyone worked in a safe environment.

Sonja always talked about her family and spending time with the grandchildren. She and her husband bought an RV and plan to travel and take the grandkids on adventures. Enjoy your next phase in life!

Sharon Collette
30 years of service
ParaEducator at Kibler Elementary

Sharon Collette has been a member of the Kibler Elementary team since 1987, serving as a general building paraeducator for her entire career. Her favorite students to work with are kindergarteners. A memorable moment was when a kindergarten boy whispered to her that another student had called him the "b" word. She asked him to whisper the word to her, and he leaned in and whispered "he called me his brother." One kindergartener shared that, "she helps us with our hard math." A third grade student said, "she helps us become better readers."

No matter what the age of student, Sharon's calm and consistent manner has supported hundreds of kids on their academic journey. In retirement she plans to travel, enjoy their Cle Elum property and their grandkids of course!

Terry Epps
28 years of service
ParaEducator at Kibler Elementary

Terry Epps started at Kibler Elementary in 1989. She has worked as a general building paraeducator, in the Title department, and is closing her education career with the Special Education team. She said she's had lots of laughs and fun times over the years. One student shared that, "she's really nice when she helps us with our writing books. That's what I like about her, she helps us." Another student said, "she helps us at lunch… she's good at opening stuff!" Terry's kind and gentle approach has impacted so many kids. Terry is off to enjoy time with her family and two grandkids!

Delaura Gallatin
22 years of service
Educational Assistant at Enumclaw High School

Delaura Gallatin was hired in the Enumclaw School District in the spring of 1995 as a temporary EA. In the fall of the following school year she began working as an EA in the suspension room. Her heart for helping kids became immediately apparent and she was hired on as the ISS EA for Enumclaw High School. This is where Delaura has spent the last 22 years serving the students of EHS. Delaura truly has a passion and talent for working with challenging students and helping them to succeed. Her ISS room provided much needed structure and boundaries, but more importantly it was a safe place with a thoughtful, caring adult, who is willing to listen without judgement and provide guidance. She approached every student with fresh eyes and a genuine desire to know them personally. This helped her to establish strong relationships and keep students countless students in school. EHS will not be the same without her and we are truly grateful for her many years of service.

Colleen Gregg
39 years of service
Bus Driver in Transportation

Two years ago Colleen won the PSE Presidential Excellence Award for Employee of the Year. We were not surprised. While her attendance record and safety history are impeccable, it’s her commitment to kids of all ages that is truly remarkable. She shares her humor, her stories, and her talents with so many. One example stands out. Colleen loves to make quilts, so she taught several other drivers to quilt throughout the years. Colleen’s generosity didn’t stop there -- she gifted her handcrafted quilts to students who ride her bus. It’s special touches like these that make Colleen an amazing gift to our students.

Colleen has seen many changes in our district. Her first experience with us was driving a 1956 Kenworth school bus with a 5 speed manual transmission. She shared that her training consisted of shifting into all 5 gears while driving down and back 244th. When she returned to the bus garage, the trainer declared that she was fully trained and ready to transport students. We won’t go into details, but on her first route as “map reader”, a few tires may have ventured off the pavement and into a ditch. We now train drivers for months instead of minutes and provide buses that shift themselves!

In Colleen’s tenure, she had the opportunity to drive 3 new buses, take thousands of students on fieldtrips, listen to countless stories and questions from students who share their heart, & receive an extensive collection of treasured artwork.

As Colleen wrote in her goodbye letter to her fellow transportation friends, “Now, it's time to hang up my keys. I have had a great ride for 38 ½ years and I want to thank everyone for making it happen!”. We’d also like to thank Colleen for setting the bar high! We wish her the best in retirement and we look forward to seeing all the beautiful quilts that she creates.

Linda Hennessy
23 years of service
Teacher at Southwood Elementary

Linda has always had a passion for children and their learning. Going the extra mile for a child to be able to “get it” is a daily and hourly occurrence for Linda. Working tightly with teachers and with her Principal, she maintains a keen focus on every child and trains her paras to do the same. Her intuitions about their learning are always substantiated by data that basically confirms what she already knows because of her intense interest and involvement in each child’s reading life.

Linda knows how to dig out a child’s interest and capture it with her wide knowledge of children’s book titles at every level. She rejoices in and celebrates every child’s accomplishment, no matter how small, because she knows what kind of patience it takes to develop a reader. Linda has always been a model for working from a solid research base, and continuing professional development for herself and those she supervises and works alongside.

Finally, in the midst of the intensity of the work of teaching reading to struggling readers, Linda’s sense of humor is ever present in the hilarious but loving stories she tells about her students, but what those observations tell her about their learning is even more profound. Teaching reading is truly a talent and commitment for Linda, and she will be greatly missed but ever thanked for the opportunities she has given to those children who are learning to read.

Linda joins Dan, a long-time Enumclaw teacher, in retirement. Linda plans to learn to golf, and when she’s not on the course, you will find her enjoying boat rides and spending time with her children and grandkids.

Victoria Hopper
29 years of service
Teacher at Kibler Elementary

A teacher’s journey in Vikki’s words…. “I started in Enumclaw as a sub in 1985 and was hired as a kindergarten teacher in August 1986, teaching in the cute little brick building across the street from Kibler! Vikki continued teaching kindergarten there for three years, next door to Patty Kindsvater! together! An opening in first grade was available and Vikki moved across the street into Room 11 at Kibler. Vikki received my masters in Reading from the UW and a masters in school counseling from City U. After seven years teaching Kinder and first grade, and seven years as a school counselor for Enumclaw, Vikki received her masters in school administration. One of her very first leadership opportunities was being the camp director for Literacy Camp. Many thought it was a crazy idea to have a week-long camp focused on reading and writing, but not Vikki. With her passion and excitement, the camp “sold-out” with 250 elementary students attending! The “Heigh-Ho” song is forever en grained in my head!

In the summer of 2001, Vikki received a job as Principal with the Highline School District and had the opportunity to come back to Enumclaw as Southwood Principal in 2003. Vikki remained there for three years until JJSmith closed and the district had one too many principals. Vikki was offered the position of teaching kindergarten and accepted! Since that time she has taught kindergarten, fourth grade and fifth grade.

Vikki has devoted a large part of her heart to students in Enumclaw. When they leave her classroom they know that they are loved, valued, and should reach for the stars! To be honest, she makes her colleagues feel that way too. While dedicating her days to our students, Vikki managed to raise four wonderful sons. In her retirement she plans to read books, spend time with the wonderful Mr. Hopper, and with her 11 grandchildren (including triplets!). Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it’s off to retirement she goes!

Steven Jay
25 years of service
Head Custodian at Thunder Mountain

Steven Jay came to work on a daily basis with two things: 1. a smile on his face, and 2. a gigantic servant heart. If anything was troubling Steve, such as a long night caring for his ailing wife, or a frustration with the job, he still made sure his students & our staff were greeted with that ever important smile, as well as any of our school needs were met. Of course, there were all the things we found out over the years that made Mr. Jay a beloved fixture at Thunder Mountain. Let me share a few remarkable talents:

  • Locksmithing skills that were put to professional use every time a parent or staff member locked themselves out of their car
  • A caring heart that helped pay for student lunches if he found out a child forgot their money.
  • Dropping whatever it was that he was doing at the time and making sure a student need was being met first.
  • Entertaining us with his musical prowess; he was an on-air DJ and member of a band. If we were lucky, he’d bust out his ukulele and strum a tune or two.
  • Sharing words of wisdom and honest life advice with the In School Suspension students who helped him on a daily basis was direct and to the point, and due to the respect he built with these students, they listened on bated breath.
  • Gracefully helping students who made a mistake or damaged something inadvertently. They knew he’d always be willing to help them.

Nearly everyday Mr. Jay did something kind for somebody else. He wasn’t the one to seek accolades or recognition. Let me share a few stories that illustrate this true servant heart:

  1. A young lady came back yearly since leaving TMMS to let him know of the difference he made in her life. The first year it was to say hi and let him know she was staying out of trouble. 2nd and 3rd year was to let him know that she was on the right track in High School. The 4th year she invited him to her graduation, which years prior she wasn’t sure she ever would. This continued every year she was out of H.S., “Hey Mr. Jay, I’m on the right track,” she was proud to announce, sharing with him personal stories and a thank you every time. The final year I witnessed this was watching her walk through our commons, fiancé in tow, to personally invite Mr. Jay to their special day. This was a true testament and example to the lasting impact Steve had on our struggling students. She knew he would never give up on her.
  2. Another one of our struggling students, one who came from a background of strife and dysfunction, found the true nature of Mr. Jay’s caring heart. She was one that found his office a safe haven, and came across Mr. Jay’s love of playing the ukulele. Soon, she was hooked on playing the ukulele. She pestered Mr. Jay until he showed her how to play. This student would often times take Mr. Jay’s ukulele and practice when the opportunity arose. Nearing the end of her tenure at TMMS, Mr. Jay bestowed one of his prize ukuleles to this young woman.
  3. Mr. Jay was always dedicated to making our ILC students, or students with high needs, feel cared for, at home, and a part of the community. There was a set of brothers whom were bestowed the honorary place as of head of the custodian team. One of these students was gifted a set of keys just like Mr. Jay’s, and he proudly strapped them around his waist and mimicked Mr. Jay while working alongside of him. Another time Mr. Jay wanted a couple wheelchair bound young men to feel a part of his custodial team. Steve invented a pull behind brush that strapped to their motorized wheelchairs, which immediately connected them to our building and gave these excited young men a sense of purpose while they assisted Mr. Jay.

Steve retired a few months ago. The entire school was there to see him off as we walked one last time together through the building. He is truly missed, and we still have kids asking about Mr. Jay. One staff member said it best, “The foundations Steve helped create at TMMS go well beyond the brick and mortar. He helped create successful and confident children.”

Diane King
24 years of service
Kitchen Assistant at Thunder Mountain

Diane King started her career at Enumclaw School District working at JJ Smith as a sub in the kitchen. She was hired in 1993 to work as the kitchen lead at JJ Smith. Her career with the district took her to the high school kitchen. In 2002 the central kitchen came to the high school where she worked for many years. Diane finished her career at the Thunder Mountain kitchen.

Diane has a great way with students. Her compassion for the students would show through on a daily basis. She greeted every student with a smile and asked them how their day was. Many times you would find students coming by the kitchen to tell her about some exciting news that happened in their lives. Diane had that same compassion with her peers. She was always finding ways to help her fellow workers with their daily task. She spoke kindly of everyone and had a positive outlook on life.

You can now find Diane working in her beautiful landscaped yard and garden. One of her greatest joys is taking care of all the different variety of wild birds that live around her home. She will also be out and about spending time with her grandchildren on hikes through the wood or checking out the latest exhibit at the zoo. Enjoy your retirement and time with your family!

Connie Osborn
30 years of service
Office Assistant and ParaEducator at Sunrise Elementary

Connie was hired at Westwood and worked in the office and as a para for seven years. In her work at Sunrise for the last 23 years, Connie is often the first face to greet a visitor in person or the voice to greet a caller on the school's main phone line. Her natural sense of welcoming and her genuine care for children and their families has clearly come through in her work, letting children know that they are cared for and welcome. With guests to our schools, Connie also seems to know just how to make the most "uneasy" individual feel at ease and know that they will be cared for soon. Connie's sense of fun, her dedication to serving each individual child and her genuine concern for others has truly impacted our school district and will be missed.

Connie shared with us, “I have loved working with children, their teachers, and parents. Such a rewarding job! I will miss everyone, but it is time to move on to start a new chapter in my life. Connie and her husband plan on traveling in our motorhome and taking trips out of the country now and then.” We wish you the most amazing time on your adventures and will miss your voice at Sunrise!

Terry Parker
25 years of service / 37 in education
Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Director at District Office

Terry graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in English. He began teaching in the Kent School District at both Kentridge and Kentwood High Schools. In his first year, he taught English, American Government and Driver’s Education. He was the department chair for Driver’s Education. Terry was an active staff member involving himself in leadership and coaching activities with students. In 1986, he was selected Washington State Softball Coach of the Year and recently he was inducted into the Kentwood Athletic Hall of Fame.

Terry began his administrative career in the Puyallup School District serving as Assistant Principal at Puyallup High School. After just a few years in Puyallup, he became a Hornet where, after 25 years, he now proudly bleeds Maroon and Gold!

For 14 years, Terry did an exemplary job leading Enumclaw High School. He led Enumclaw High during an intense time of student enrollment growth and through the initial years of standards-based state assessments. Terry hired top educators during his tenure as principal and these individuals continue to shine, contributing to a learning legacy at EHS. He collaboratively worked with his staff in supporting innovative school initiatives.

In 2006, Terry was tapped by Former Superintendent Art Jarvis to serve to be our school district’s Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. As anyone in the world of education knows, the job of CIA Director is never done as our system is always committing to finding new and better ways to support our district mission of “All Students Achieving at High Levels.” Terry has a valued commitment in leading efforts to ensure equity for all students. Terry has facilitated several curriculum adoptions and led many instructional initiatives during the past 11 years.

Terry’s leadership and representation of our school district is visible throughout our community and state. He is a proud member of Enumclaw Rotary and Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce serving as President of both organizations in recent years. He also served as the President of the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools for the state of Washington and for the seven-state region.

Terry has a deep love for his family, his wife Lisa and children Walter, Brad and Jillian. He is seeing his family expand to include Kirsten, Dominick, Daimen, Peter, Emily, Stella and Corey. He looks forward to more time on the golf course in Palm Desert as well as in the Northwest. He might also re-establish the famous Parker wine label! We wish him much JOY in taking care of himself after decades of caring for others.

Dianne Pedersen
27 years of service
Teacher at Kibler Elementary

Dianne Pedersen is an unforgettable first grade teacher! Dianne has a special talent -- she could take any squirmy kindergartener and turn them into a fine first grader.

One of Dianne’s charming traits was her close attention to detail. . . bulletin boards were trimmed with Suzy Zoo borders cut precisely to the exact length. Classroom tables and chairs had the proper spots, as did stacks of papers and shelves of books. The same attentiveness was given to each of her students. Dianne loved each one, including a remarkable little guy named Kasey Kahne! In her classroom, she had a life size cardboard figure of Kasey Kahne surrounded by posters of his race car. Students picked up on her Nascar fever and covered her desk with a trunk load of Kasey Kahne memorabilia! First Graders, Seahawks, Mariners and Kahne -- Dianne cheered for them all!

Kibler was Dianne’s career school. As a new teacher she taught first grade with Joy White, Martha McPherson, Julia McKinstry and Vikki Hopper. Dianne was a wonderful team member. She happily shared teaching techniques and supplies. Her sharp sense of humor and decidedly perfect delivery kept the staff room in giggles!

As a teacher, team member or friend, Dianne was one that looked for the best in others and she did her best and beyond for them. Dianne had a pattern of coming to Kibler over the weekend to spend hours planning and preparing for the next week. She was proud to be a teacher and gave it her all. One evening, relaxing and reminiscing, Dianne stated with feeling that she would always be a teacher. . . and now would just add the word “retired” in front of “teacher”. Best to you, Dianne!

Jack Pennington
7 years of service
Safe & Civil Schools Director at Enumclaw High School

Jack became interested in law enforcement in high school and subsequently worked for four different law enforcement agencies during an impressive 37 year career. He was hired as a police cadet with the Seattle Police Department in September, 1973 at 19 years old and was transferred to Communications the next year. Jack attended the King County Sheriff Office Reserve Officer academy and graduated in December, 1978 at 24 years old.

During that time, Jack was the first commissioned School Resource Officer with the Auburn School District. He remained with the school District until 1987 when he accepted a position as a City of Auburn police officer in 1987. During his tenure with Auburn PD, he was assigned as a patrol officer, gang enforcement officer, detective, field training officer, police academy instructor, motorcycle officer, collision investigator and supervisor. He was a certified speed measuring device instructor for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. Jack’s career eventually took him to the Port of Seattle PD and he remained with that agency until he retired from law enforcement in August, 2010.

Enumclaw High School was so fortunate to have Jack become the Safe and Civil Schools Director upon his retirement from law enforcement. He has been instrumental in providing leadership and support in the following initiatives:

  • District Wide Active Shooter trainings and drills
  • Implementation and application of school video surveillance systems
  • Discipline management at the high school
  • Interpreting legal documents related to student safety
  • AND such a valued member of the high school staff and building administrative team

He and his skill set will be missed, and we are so happy for him as he transitions to retirement, spending time with his family and many hobbies.

Julia Stanton
19 years of service
Office Manager at Sunrise Elementary

In her work as Office Manager at Sunrise since 1999, Julia has consistently and gracefully juggled so many different things at once, never appearing to become ruffled. Instead, Julia has the ability to remain calm, identify the specific needs that a staff member, child or visitor has at any given moment, and serve them remarkably well. Julia consistently presents a professional, competent and confident way of doing business that has truly impacted the reputation of our school and district with patrons. Beyond the surface and often in tough situations, Julia has helped us all to find the humor in small things and to exhale with a smile about the humorous words from a young child, the seemingly big things that really were insignificant or the daily comedy that happens in the office of an elementary school.

Julia shared with us, “It has been a wonderful experience working at Sunrise. Having worked for four different principals, it has been quite the education. I have truly enjoyed working with the office and school staff. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life, but will be very sad the day that I leave. Enumclaw School District is really a great place to work.” I’d like to add that we will all be sad on Julia’s last day too, though we wish her all the best, just as she gave us her best.

Kathy Stephenson
20 years of service
Bus Driver in Transportation

Kathy Stephenson is retiring after 20 years serving at Enumclaw School District as a school bus driver. Kathy graduated from Auburn High School in 1970. Kathy loved the outdoors and spent several years in Alaska working on fishing boats and in fish canneries. She also worked as a flagger for a road construction company from 1975-1985. She then married and started a family. She helped her husband with his construction company from 1989 to 1997. During this time she acquired her real estate license to be able to sell the houses her husband built.

In 1997 Kathy was hired as a school bus driver. During her 20 years of driving she acquired 14 Safe Driver Awards. One of the drivers remembers Kathy as being a great caregiver. She mainly drove special needs routes using her special gift to care for her special students. They appreciated and loved Kathy for it.

Kathy’s care giving was especially for her number one priority, her family. Kathy cared for her mother for many years until her passing. Kathy took care of her daughter-in-law and grandson. Kathy was a “momma bear” who fought furiously for her daughter-in-law and grandson.

Kathy recently purchased a motorhome so she can travel to wonderful places with her grandchildren while enjoying the great outdoors. Her time with her grandchildren is so precious to her. She is ready to hit the road! She may drop a postcard saying “wish you were here”

Everyone at Transportation loves and misses her. We wish her a wonderful retirement and are saying “wish we were there”!

Rick Tyler
6 years of service
Maintenance at District Office

Rick Tyler is a proud Class of 1972 Enumclaw High School graduate. He met his wife Debbie while attending EHS and they celebrated 42 years of marriage. Rick and Debbie’s two daughters, Melissa and Stephanie, are also EHS graduates. Their legacy continues with grandson Sam who is a sophomore at EHS.

Rick worked as a boiler operator at the PORTAC lumber mill in Tacoma for 33 years. When the Mill closed, Rick went back to school at the age of 54, and retrained as an HVAC technician. Rick started with the District in 2010 as a substitute custodian, and quickly moved into the Licensed HVAC Tech position which he holds today.

We have been fortunate to have Rick with the district for the last 6 years. Rick has been a huge asset to the maintenance team and the district, his sense of humor and work ethic will be sorely missed! Rick and his family are in the process of building a house in Queen Creek Arizona, and will be moving there in early August to escape the rainy Northwest!

Click the link below to access our Facebook photo album of this event.