Congratulations to Briceida Gonzalez and Amber Finch

by Loni Rahm 

Monday morning was the traditional late start for Chelan students, but the school district staff was at the high school commons bright and early for the “All Staff Appreciation Breakfast” where retirees are honored and Employee of the Year awards announced.

After grateful applause for the food service staff (pictured below), Superintendent Barry DePaoli announced this year’s retirement class which includes Cyndie Gocke, a 24-year employee, and Karla Sackenreuter, an 11-year employee. He also thanked Crosby Carpenter and Chrystal Ellis for their dedication to the district and wished them well as they move into new professional capacities in the Methow Valley and Wenatchee School Districts.

Cyndie Gocke and Karla Sackenreuter – enjoy your retirement!

Cyndie Gocke

From Chelan School District: Cyndie Gocke has worked with the district for 24 years. Over these years she has touched the lives of many students, families and staff members. Several of her co-workers have had wonderful things to say about her:

“Our students refer to her as “Nana” for her kind, loving heart. She is incredible with parents and sets them at ease and checks in with them often while riding the bus, getting them to meetings, or on field trips.” Another commented “She always has a warm smile and a laugh for everyone. So fun to work with her, and the kids in our SPED program adore her.”

“Cyndie has been a positive role model to students, staff, parents and the community by “working hard, teaching everyone to not give up and to not let your disabilities stop you from doing what you want in life”.

Editor’s Note: Cyndie Gocke is incredibly camera shy. After 24 years, this is a rare photo we were able to find of her in the school district archives. Not surprisingly, she is smiling as she hugs one of her students (who was cropped out for privacy).

Karla Sackenreuter

From Chelan School District: Karla Sackenreuter has been a “Lunch Lady” with the district for 11 years. Being at work at 5:00 a.m. for 11 years is an amazing thing! Not everyone could do it…or even want to!

Karla has a great memory. She knows just about every student on a first name basis and always asks how they are doing. She is so good with the kids, making each one feel extra important.

She also tends to give special nicknames to the people she is around. These little nicknames are just another way that Karla can make you feel special!

Her career highlight has been being around the kids since as she put it “they make my day”. Karla’s words of wisdom to others is “work hard and be kind along the way.”

Congratulations to the Chelan School District Employees of the Year!

Each year school district staff nominate co-workers they feel are deserving for recognition as Employee of the Year. Congratulations to the 2019 recipients: Briceida Gonzalez and Amber Finch (pictured above with DePaoli). Excerpts from their nomination form are presented next to their pictures below.

Briceida Gonzalez 

Excerpts from her nomination form:

Briceida Gonzalez is hard-working, knows her job and advocates for all her students and their families. She is the special education parapro in Lake Chelan Preschool, but that’s just the beginning of her job. She helps students with many different special needs feel safe as they begin the school learning process. She successfully implements programs given to her by multiple supervisors – from the speech therapist to the preschool teacher – and she is diligent about implementing these various curriculums with each student.

She is the lead teacher for Play-and-Learn preschool which occurs every Monday morning in the preschool classroom and includes parents and caregivers. For most of the students, this is their first introduction to school. Many students are shy and have not been away from their parents. She works with each student and their parents to provide a safe way to begin to separate, explore learning and try new activities in a school setting.

Briceida is a dedicated mother to two young daughters at MOE and participates in community and family life with them and her extended family. She’s an accomplished preschool teacher bringing her calm and welcoming demeanor to our youngest students, setting up their first learning experience to be successful.

Amber Finch

Excerpts from her nomination form:

Amber Finch has taken on the difficult task of running the student ASB. If there is an activity at the high school, Mrs. Finch is there….whether it’s concessions or selling booster club gear or at prom or a homecoming concert downtown, she is there. She is one of the last to leave the school on a daily basis and it seems like every weekend she has something going on at our school.

She does all of this while being the EL teacher. She has great connections with our EL students, especially with students who are new to Chelan and even new to the country. She makes the transition a positive experience for the students and their teachers. Her inclusive mind set towards EL students gives them a chance to achieve at the highest level…making for many success stories.

Mrs. Finch and two students created the “Kind Club” — a club which promotes kindness throughout the school. Being inclusive to the entire student body and doing what they can to lift others up — all of these combined efforts have had a direct impact on developing a positive learning environment within the school. Helping kids to feel cared for and included in turn helps them care more about others.