Education Service District Celebrates 2021 Crystal Apple Awards


The InterMountain Education Service District (IMESD) and its component school districts are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Crystal Apple “Excellence in Education” Awards.

A total of 44 Crystal Apples were presented to deserving education staff in Eastern Oregon during the past week at three ceremonies.

On Monday, May 3, Union County school district winners were honored, followed by an event for districts in Morrow County and the west end of Umatilla County on Monday, May 10, and a final event honoring the remainder of Umatilla County districts on Tuesday, May 11. The Union County event was in La Grande, the Morrow/West End Umatilla event was in Echo and the final event was in Pendleton. Due to pandemic restrictions, no audience was allowed at the ceremony, face coverings were required and physical distancing was practiced.

Each year, the IMESD partners with its school districts to recognize outstanding administrators, teachers, educational assistants and office and building staff for their dedication and commitment to students and for their willingness to go above and beyond their regular duties. Nominations are submitted over a two-month period by administrators, coworkers, parents, students and community members. Winners are selected from these nominations by school district administration.

“In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the greatest challenges to K-12 education, but many educators have stepped up and worked even harder to serve eastern Oregon’s students,” said Michele Madril, IMESD director of communication. “Due to these challenges, celebrating this year’s Crystal Apple Award winners has been even more important and more special.”

Local 2021 Crystal Apple Award Winners

InterMountain ESD

  • Tamara Bow (Registered Nurse)
  • Deb Jones (Speech-Language Pathologist)
  • Marla Royal (Executive Assistant to the Superintendent)
  • Shane Weston (Technology Specialist)

Morrow County

Ione School District

  • Mary Rosenberg (3rd Grade Teacher), Ione Community School
  • JoAnna Lamb (Instructional Aide), Ione Community School

Morrow County School District

  • Charlene Baker (Special Education Teacher), Riverside Jr/Sr High School
  • Amber Benetti (6th Grade Teacher), Irrigon Elementary School
  • Darlene Jacobsen (1st Grade Teacher), Sam Boardman Elementary School
  • Teresa Parret (Assistant Custodian), Heppner Jr/Sr High School

Umatilla County

Athena-Weston School District

  • Becky Buckles (Lead Cook), Athena-Weston School District
  • Katherine Funderburk (Language Arts Teacher), Weston Middle School

Echo School District

  • Samantha Kordosky (Paraprofessional), Echo School District
  • Christina VanNice (Special Education Director), Echo School District

Helix School District

  • Katie Harlow (2nd Grade Teacher), Helix Elementary School
  • Mary Lewis (Lead Custodian), Helix School District

Milton-Freewater Unified School District

  • Jeff Bishop (5th Grade Teacher), Ferndale Elementary School
  • Kathleen King (Bus Driver), Milton-Freewater Unified School District
  • Denette Rhoads (Paraprofessional). Gib Olinger Elementary School
  • Cindy Saldana (Teacher), Central Middle School

Pendleton School District

  • Karen Demianew (Counselor), Pendleton High School
  • Teri McCoy (Paraprofessional/Office Assistant), Hawthorne High School
  • Jan Patton (Paraprofessional), Sunridge Middle School
  • Shellie Wyss (Kindergarten Teacher), Pendleton Early Learning Center

Pilot Rock School District

  • All Staff of the Pilot Rock School District

Stanfield School District

  • Clara Nichols (Food Service), Stanfield Secondary School
  • Lacey Sharp (Principal), Stanfield Elementary School

Ukiah School District

  • Norma Barber (Lead Teacher), Ukiah School
  • Kari Keen (Library Technician), Ukiah School

Umatilla School District

  • ESL Team: Maggie Barry, Gloria Chase, Charlotte Engelhart, Katie Goad
  • McNary Heights Elementary School
  • Desirae Zamudio (Media Assistant), Umatilla High School