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Peoria honors employees at annual recognition event

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  • Erin Dunsey/Peoria Unified School District

Three Peoria Unified employees were awarded top honors in Administration, Teaching and Support Services during the 29th Annual Pride of Peoria Employee Recognition Celebration on April 28 at the Arizona Broadway Theatre.

Raymond S. Kellis High School nurse assistant, Paula Bradbury, Vistancia Elementary band teacher, Julie Carlson, and Frontier Elementary principal, Rae Conelley, were awarded the 2014 Raymond S. Kellis Leadership Awards – the highest honor a Peoria Unified School District employee can receive. These three honorees were surprised with their award during the event.

As part of the event, 36 Peoria Unified employees were publicly honored as Pride of Peoria award recipients for their contributions to their schools and the district. These teachers and support staff were nominated by their colleagues for outstanding service.

All of the Pride of Peoria winners come from different sites, represent different career lengths and work in a variety of positions, yet share one common attribute: They were selected because letters written on their behalf revealed countless examples of how their dedication to the Peoria Unified School District consistently went above and beyond.

The Pride of Peoria winners are: Debra Adams, Zuni Hills; Michael Albert, District-wide; Deyanira Aranda, Raymond S. Kellis; Elizabeth Barnes, Cholla Annex; Lisa Bengtsson, Oasis; Julie Blake, Sundance; Dianne Bottcher, Oakwood; Krista Calvano, Centennial; Vicki Cline, Apache; Margaret Crabtree, Cotton Boll; Sarah Crowley, Sahuaro Ranch; Pam Darby, Pioneer; Judy Glatting, Centennial; Amy Gunnels, Parkridge; Terri Haugan, Foothills; Lizz Hounihan, Oasis; Kelly Knapp, Apache; Fernando Lavin, Sundance; Leanore Lewandowski, Lake Pleasant; Kaliko Martin, Copperwood; Melissa Mireles, Centennial; Chrissy Mulvihill, Heritage; George Munoz, District Administration Center; Cheryl Noe, Desert Harbor; Efren Parra, Frontier; Dan Prendergast, Oakwood; Kelli Priebe, Zuni Hills; Marcy Robb, Ironwood; Suzanne Robinson, Marshall Ranch; Felix Rodriguez, Ironwood; Lori Rotenberger, District Administration Center; Mike Scholtz, Centennial; Joyce Staehle, Frontier; Gonzalo Vasquez, Sahuaro Ranch; Michael Wakeford, Raymond S. Kellis; Debbie Webster, Apache.

The event will air this month on Cox Cable Channel 99 and on YouTube at More than 350 individuals attended the event, including Peoria Unified School District’s Superintendent Dr. Denton Santarelli, Governing Board members, principals, co-workers and relatives of the award recipients.

The event is made possible by financial support from the Peoria Education Foundation, Hunt and Caraway Architects, TSA Consulting Group and Brockhurst & Associates.

As one of the largest unified school districts in Arizona, Peoria Unified prides itself on excelling schools, award-winning teachers, high AIMS test scores, specialized Signature Programs and championship sports programs. With 32 elementary schools, seven high schools, one non-traditional high school, 11 Signature Programs and several Career and Technical Education programs, Peoria Unified offers unique learning opportunities for Pre-K through 12th grade students.

With ongoing open enrollment and alternative educational opportunities, the district boasts a 94 percent high school graduation rate. The Vision of the Peoria Unified School District is, “Every student, every day, prepared to shape tomorrow.”