Area teachers to get Crystal Apple Awards

Each year, teachers and education staff are honored for their dedication to students and willingness to go beyond their regular duties.

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PENDLETON -- The Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District will honor 35 education staff members on Wednesday as part of its 12th annual Crystal Apple Awards.

Among the winners to be recognized with the "Excellence in Education" awards will be four employees of the Milton-Freewater School District, and two representing the Athena-Weston School District.

Each year, teachers and education staff from the ESD's 12 represented school districts are honored for their dedication to students, and willingness to go beyond their regular duties.

Crystal apples will be presented to Debrah Glover, a Weston Middle School teacher for 26 years, and Kirsten Zerba, a para-professional at the middle school with eight years in the district.

From Milton-Freewater, honors will go to Rosemary Guardado, a para-professional at Freewater Elementary over four years; Cathy Hendricks, who has taught at Freewater for 24 years; Kristy McKinney, who teaches kindergarten and physical education at Grove Elementary and has 24 years with the district; and Mary Jo Sult, executive assistant to the district for 16 years.

Nominations for the awards are submitted over a two-month period by administrators, coworkers, parents, students and community members. Winners are chosen from the nominations by district office administrators.

Winners will be honored on Wednesday and presented with their crystal apples during a ceremony at the Pendleton Red Lion Ballroom.

"The Crystal Apple Awards are a way for the UMESD and our local school districts to show their appreciation for staff who have shined over the past year," said Casey White, director of the Crystal Apple Awards, in a news release. "Since our area has so many outstanding teachers and education staff, it is truly an honor for those who are selected to receive this award."

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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