TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: 342
YEARS IN ENUMCLAW: 294 (48 years difference)
Honoring 13 individuals this year
Years of Service Awards 30 Years
Diane Dal Santo
31 Years of Service
Enumclaw Middle School will not be the same without Denise. She began as a paraeducator in 1989 and in 2001 she became the library para. She has helped run the library with efficiency and care. She works diligently making sure students can find their way around the library and pick out books they will enjoy.
Denise has a positive and calm demeanor and leaves a huge impact at EMS. She has built strong relationships with everyone. Her love for students was evident on a daily basis and the same could be said for how she cared for her colleagues.
Denise has been in charge of Hearts and Flowers for EMS staff members. She always knows the gift that is just right for everyone because she takes effort in getting to know each staff member.
Her coworkers will definitely be missing all the amazing baked goods Denise loved to share. We wish her all the best and thank her for being a part of our workplace family.
10 Years of Service
Since 2010, Alice has been making a positive impact on students through her role as our district Occupational Therapy Assistant.
Alice is one of those people who can see what is needed and jump right in to help. She is creative, smart, and a great listener.
She is able to see into her student's struggles/challenges and do whatever is needed to help them be successful. She is especially good at diffusing escalating behaviors and calming a frustrated student. Sometimes it is what seems like the smallest gesture that changes a person’s life for the better. Alice has accomplished this and so much more!
As she strolls off to her next adventure, spending time with her grandchildren and the rest of her family, we wish her many new memories along the way. Thank you Alice for bringing joy to your department and for being so special to the students you have met along the way!
Thunder Mountain Middle School
31 Years of Service
Penny Lilly has been a part of Enumclaw Schools since 1989. As the attendance office secretary, she helped many students at Enumclaw Junior High until 2000 and then moved onto Thunder Mountain when it opened, continuing her role.
She is the first person many of our families meet when they walk through the door at Thunder Mountain. A warm smile greets them as they check their children in or out of school. She is welcoming and displays an interest in getting to know each of the middle school students. Many students have been lucky enough to be her assistant, a well sought after elective they vie to be assigned to each trimester.
She is fun loving and creative, a love for frogs is apparent all around her office!
Her cheery voice will be missed! We wish her many happy memories as she now has more time to spend with her family, especially her grandchildren.
Thank you Penny for all the years you have shared with us. We wish you many adventures in your next chapter! Enjoy retirement!
20 Years of Service
Sheri came to our transportation department in 1999. She has lovingly delivered many students safely to and from school, greeting each one with a smile.
Our drivers are the first staff members to greet our students and the last to wish them well at the end of the day. Sheri demonstrated great driving skills and was awarded Safe Driving Awards many years in a row for her diligence behind the wheel.
Sheri loves hunting for unique rocks, spending time with her husky dogs and gardening. Enjoy your time Sheri, travelling in your new 5th wheel and spending time with your grandchildren!
Thank you and congratulations! We wish you relaxation and happiness in retirement!
20 Years of Service
Liz started with the Enumclaw School District in April 2000. Over her 20 year career with the Enumclaw School District, Liz developed many personal and professional relationships in her role as Head Groundskeeper.
She cares about people and about kids, which reflected in the teams that she led. Liz collaborated regularly with staff to ensure fields were safe, prepped and ready for athletics. Visiting guests and coaches consistently remarked about the high quality of the grounds and facilities in Enumclaw.
When Liz is not working, she could often be found spending time with friends, riding her horse or caring for her dogs.
We miss Liz’s smile and positive attitude that shares with everyone she meets. She has brought warmth and comfort to so many and we wish her many happy trails riding horses and being with all her dogs!
Birth to 5 Center
Family Support Specialist
21 Years of Service
Garie has worked with ECEAP students (3-5 yr olds) and their families since 1999. She is so helpful and loving to each family! She advocates for them and provides them with the necessary resources that their families may need. She is compassionate, meeting the many needs of our students, helping them successfully navigate into kindergarten.
She is active in her church and goes on mission trips to help others. She has a fun collection of earrings and is always wearing different kinds of earrings to match whatever holiday it may be.
Now that she has time to spend with her family, she plans on travelling with her husband, possibly moving to sunnier weather in the south. She can now take time to read the books on her must read list, take art classes and start painting again.
Thank you Garie for your kindness and compassion. You will be missed and can’t wait to hear about your next adventure! According to Garie there may be a kitten in her future! We wish her well and thank her for the years she has spent with us.
Thank you Garie!
12 years of service
Steve came to ESD after spending 23 years at Boeing. Steve has worked in several different positions always bringing professionalism to his duties. He began in 2005 working in transportation, as a substitute bus driver and then as a shop assistant. He has worked his way around the district working with custodial staff, driving school buses, working in the classroom with students and finishing his career as our district courier.
Steve works hard to make sure all of our students get their lunches on time as well as providing district mail delivery with accuracy and a smile. Those who work closely with him, know they can count on him. He has a can do attitude and is a true helper.
We have been fortunate to have Steve . He has made many friends along the way and will be missed. We wish him all the best as he retires.
Enumclaw Middle School
Physical Education Teacher
39 years in Enumclaw (39 total)
Rick began his career in education in Enumclaw 39 years ago. He taught PE at Kibler and Southwood before moving on to middle school where he has taught PE, social studies and woodshop to 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
Rick has been an integral part of the development of the Physical Education Department at Enumclaw Middle School, building relationships with students and their family members and mentoring staff members. Rick has utilized humor and sincerity to build a positive culture throughout EMS. Rick has modeled the importance of learning to his students every day.
Making himself ever present in the halls before and after school, a stranded student can look over their shoulder and find Mr. Carel ready to help them get into their locker. He provides an environment his students have become accustomed to. He has enjoyed seeing former students' children become students of his.
Many hours have been spent on the volleyball or tennis courts, building teams, taking the girls to state many, many times. Rick has passion for coaching and plans to continue coaching after retirement. We will miss Rick on the campus but are thankful he will still be present on the court, continuing to coach. Thank you for all the years you have given to the Enumclaw School District!
Enumclaw High School
Physical Education Teacher
21 years in Enumclaw (30 years total)
Ted came to Enumclaw in 1999 after spending 9 years in Federal Way. He began his Enumclaw career sharing his time between JJ Smith and Black Diamond teaching elementary PE. He joined the Thunder Mountain staff for 10 years teaching PE and health, before transitioning to the high school as a PE, Health and Weights and Conditioning.
Ted has a calm demeanor and has played an essential role creating team participation, building trust and skills in the physical education department.
Ted has been an active member of the Hornet community, coaching for the last 22 years. Over the years Ted has coached hundreds of local athletes at both the Middle and High School level. He has been the Head Coach of girls basketball, boys basketball, and has been an assistant coach with girls tennis, and football. He’s even been named SPLC Coach of the year!
Ted has always been willing to step in and support students both in the classroom and in athletics whenever he was needed. Thank you Ted for your dedication to both our students and our community.
Enumclaw High School
29 years in Enumclaw (37 years total)
Jeff began his career in Kelso in 1982 and after one year moved to the Kent School District. In 1990, he was hired in Enumclaw.
Jeff has been a fixture of Enumclaw High School for the last 30 years. He taught a variety of subjects at EHS as a member of our CTE department. Often, you may find Jeff’s students out and about in the halls taking pictures that they turn into masterpieces acquiring new digital photography skills.
Jeff’s passion outside of the classroom has always been with Distance running. Jeff has spent the last 31 years coaching boys and girls cross-country as well as numerous years as an assistant track coach and although he has retired from the classroom Coach Jacobson continues on as our Distance running coach.
In addition, Jeff has been the official scoreboard keeper for Hornets basketball for decades and has helped the Athletic Department transition into the 21st century by transforming many of our old documents into electronic forms to facilitate both communication and celebrations for student athletes.
Thank you Jeff for the impact you have made on the lives of the kids you have served.
Enumclaw High School
Career and Tech Ed Teacher
35 years in Enumclaw (36 years total)
Bob came to Enumclaw in 1985 and has taught middle and high school students CAD, woodworking, algebra, welding and even building a couple tiny houses from start to finish! He dives in, always seeking opportunities to better himself, his students and his co-workers.
Bob is a problem solver. He motivated his students to do something about the homeless crisis in our area. He applied for and was awarded $100,000 for Teaching Excellence in Skilled Trades by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools in 2017. He engaged his students in his Construction and Architecture class to create tiny homes for persons in need. The student’s designed and completed one home and the following year the student’s began another.
Bob has many passions, one of his favorites has been coaching. He has spent more than 30 years coaching. He led the wrestling team and boys and girls golf teams to state, winning a total of 51 championships earning 12 state trophies and championships.
He has built lifelong relationships with his students and their families and has found his greatest satisfaction inspiring students to be positive contributors to our community.
He is a true changemaker. We appreciate all he has brought to our district and wish him all the best as he strolls off to his next adventure!
Enumclaw High School
25 years in Enumclaw (26 years total)
Rod Lobdell is a man of integrity with a true teacher’s heart, using every opportunity to instruct students and staff. He holds those he is around to the highest standards of excellence! Everyone who has been around him has grown to be a better person.
Rod’s life path headed in a different direction when he started subbing at EHS. His future plans were not to be a contracted teacher, but once he started working in the classroom, he knew his life was going to change. He went back to college and completed his teaching degree and has been working in Special Education since 1994.
He was able to step into his classroom, give the message that he was there to get the job done with little nonsense, but was always happy to be there and wanted to help his students experience success.
He shared a smile with everyone he worked with, was respectful and brought a sense of humor to his classroom! He had a positive influence immediately. The students bonded with him easily because of his sincere desire to show them acceptance and the true value he saw in them. He created programs that taught students to have confidence in themselves and to become trusted hard workers.
Thank you Rod for choosing Enumclaw. We wish you all the best in retirement!
Mike Nelson embodies what it is to be a servant leader and successful change architect in a challenging semi-rural district. Over the past 12+ years, he has skillfully embedded professional development, driven resources, and engaged two communities to address the district’s mission of “Ensuring the equity of all students achieving at high levels.” He is a long-range planner who identifies the direction to lead toward and then sets about creating a successful path. Whether it be curriculum alignment, teacher-principal evaluations, capital improvements, legislation, or local politics with two cities, Mr. Nelson led in a manner that was inclusive, highly respectful, sought input, and created the culture needed to reach goals. Mike consistently models leadership integrity and fosters what it means to build a culture of kindness wherever he goes.
Nelson holds a master of arts in education administration and a bachelor of arts in elementary education degrees, both from Pacific Lutheran University. He earned his superintendent certification from Seattle Pacific University. Early in his career, he was an assistant principal in the Sumner School District; he then moved to the Federal Way School District where he was both a building principal and director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. He returned to his home town in 1999, joining the school district as assistant superintendent. He became the superintendent of the Enumclaw School District in 2007, spending 13 years in the position.
During his time as superintendent, Mike received many local and state awards. In 2019, Mr. Nelson was named the Washington Association of School Administrators 2019 Superintendent of the Year for Washington State! He has also received the Washington Association of School Administrators Award of Merit and Student Achievement Leadership Award. He also received the Washington State Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development Educating the Whole Child Award. The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe awarded him with their official blanket, the highest honor of the Tribe, for building a collaborative partnership focused on the success of Muckleshoot students in the Enumclaw School District.
Mike has also been a member and held offices in various professional organizations while acting as superintendent of the Enumclaw School District:
WASA President: July 2013 - June 2014
WASA Board of Directors: July 2012 - June 2015
WSASCD Board of Directors: July 2000 - June 2003 and July 2006 - June 2008
Chair of King County Superintendents: 2009 - 2010, and 2017 - 2018.
Mike also assisted WASA in the development of programs called WASA Mentor Academy and WASA Early Career Superintendent Academy to train mentors to support first-year superintendents and superintendents with three years or less experience.
Nelson’s impact in the communities of Enumclaw and Black Diamond extends beyond the school district administration building. Mike serves on the boards for Books for Babies Program at St. Elizabeth Hospital (founder) and Enumclaw Schools Foundation (founding board member), has also served as the Enumclaw Rotary Foundation president, Enumclaw Rotary Club president, and on the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He also met once monthly with a group titled Plateau Community Network, connecting agencies of Black Diamond and Enumclaw working together for the greater good of the communities.