Central Lee releases 2019-20 teacher, staff awards

DONNELLSON, IOWA — Six teachers and staff from the Central Lee Community School District have received honors for the 2019-20 school year.
This year’s Teacher of the Year recipient is Suzanne Vonderhaar, a preschool teacher at Central Lee Elementary. She has exhibited an unparalleled knowledge of how students in early childhood learn. Ms.
Vonderhaar understands how to connect students with special needs to key services, sometimes following them to the next grade level to ensure they continue to make progress.
“Suzanne has been a tremendous asset for our preschool program,” said Dr. Andy Crozier, CLCSD Superintendent. “Our parents, children and educators all appreciate the energy and dedication she puts into ensuring we have one of the best preschools in the area.”
Director of Facilities Chris Gray has received a CLCSD Employee of the Year award. Mr. Gray keeps the district running smoothly by performing maintenance on a wide variety of equipment and systems. He is truly
a jack of all trades whose knowledge and skills make him an invaluable member of the district’s staff.

“Chris is an amazing asset for the Central Lee School District,” Crozier said. “He has a wealth of knowledge and experience gained through his more than 40 years of experience with us. I am excited we are able to
honor him this year. He never looks for recognition, but is very deserving of it.”
Classroom Associate Kathleen Robinson has also been named Employee of the Year for the 2019-20 school year. She is known for being flexible in her job and placing the child at the center of the
decision-making process. During the recent school closures, she has been reaching out to students with special needs to provide lessons and let them know she is thinking about them.
“Kathleen is diligent in her efforts to positively impact each child she connects with each day. Being a certified teacher, she possesses instructional skills at a high level that support student learning,” said
Heather Fuger, Principal at Central Lee Elementary.
“She also has a background in socio-emotional learning, which is infused into every student interaction. Her whole heart is invested in making a difference in our school.”
The 2019-20 Bus Driver of the Year is Ashlee Boatwright. She is always helping other drivers prepare for routes, clean buses and make extra trips whenever needed.
“Ashlee has an energetic personality that is contagious,” said Kim Ensminger, CLCSD Director of Transportation. “She is willing to do anything asked of her—and even when not asked. She has been a great addition to the transportation department.”
Finally, Custodians Jeff Holmes and Tracy Youngquist have been named CLCSD Newcomers of the Year.
Mr. Holmes has come to the district with an attitude of positivity and hard work. He regularly interacts with students in positive ways and is always ready to respond when help is needed.
Ms. Youngquist is known for being extremely conscientious about her work, which shows in the improved cleanliness of Central Lee schools. She attends to every area and every classroom, each and every day.
“Jeff and Tracy have been tremendous additions to our culture at Central Lee,” said Crozier. “Each of them come to work with a positive attitude and a focus on making our buildings clean and safe for kids. We are so
appreciative of their outstanding work.”
Each year, the district recognizes staff members who have gone above and beyond in serving students and families. Over the coming days, CLCSD will be celebrating these award recipients via social media.

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