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LTUSD, Lake Tahoe boys, girls club receive recognition

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — At an awards ceremony on March 14, the El Dorado County School Boards Association recognized school board and community members and organizations for their 2021 contributions which included recognizing the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe.

County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ed Manansala, facilitated the presentations.

“After an extraordinary two years, it is a pleasure to be together again and to recognize and celebrate the work of all the leaders in the room tonight,” Mansala said in a news release. “Congratulations to all of our award recipients.”



The following awards were presented:

Outstanding Community Organization — Lake Tahoe Unified School District — Under the leadership of the Club’s Executive Director Jude Wood, and through extremely generous donations from Lisa Maloff, Edgewood Companies, community members and organizations, the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe has realized its dream to build a new facility, further enhancing the lives of Tahoe’s kids.



Leader in Boardsmanship — Pioneer Union School District- Jody Westfall: Jody is a highly engaged Board member. She’s committed for years to doing what is best for the students, the district and the community. Her involvement goes well beyond the board room; she attends school activities, visits classroom, participates in fundraisers and has assisted with distribution events for the Caldor Fire victims.

Leader in Boardsmanship — Placerville Union School District- Chris Belmer: She has served on the board for many years as well as president for the last two. She has a calm presence and manages stressful situations with grace.

Educational Statesmanship — El Dorado High School Union School District- David Del Rio: During his tenure, David has demonstrated a clear commitment to the young people of the school community, the staff and to the parents who entrust the district to provide a 21st century learning experience that prepares students to be college and career ready upon graduation.

Lifetime Achievement — Buckeye Union School District- Winston Pingrey: Winston has served as a dedicated board member for 20 years. As a board member, Winston has always emphasized the importance of parent involvement and he has always taken his fiduciary duties as a Board Member very seriously.

Lifetime Achievement — El Dorado High School Union School District- Kevin Brown: Kevin’s primary focus is student wellness and academic achievement. Through his leadership in policy development, Kevin has helped to ensure EDUHSD provides a quality 21st century learning experience for all students.

Lifetime Achievement — Rescue Union School District- Suzanna George: In her 22 years on the school board, she has led with a lens of thoughtfulness, inclusiveness and “students first.” Her relentless dedication in search of what is best for students is remarkable and truly appreciated.

Dolores Garcia Memorial Spirit of Boardsmanship Award — Rescue Union School District- Nancy Brownell: Nancy is an exceptional parent, community member, mentor, educator, Assistant Superintendent and Board Member. She has served as board president several times during her tenure and has always put students first with an intense focus on equitable access to district programs and resources for all students.

Outstanding Corporate Organization — Black Oak Mine Unified School District- Black Oak Mountain Vineyard: In order to provide a sense of normalcy and elegance, the Black Oak Mountain Vineyard has opened its doors to Golden Sierra Junior Senior High School seniors for their prom. This event will be of no charge to the school district.

Outstanding Community Members — Camino Union School District, El Dorado County Office of Education- Dusty Bottings, Jesus Cordova, Krystal Owens: The Caldor Fire caused massive evacuations in El Dorado County and closed down many schools within the evacuation area. These three individuals partnered to bring instruction and activities to impacted children at the Placerville Library.

Outstanding Community Members — El Dorado High School Union District- Lance Gunnersen: Lance Gunnersen knows he’s teaching his students skills they can use straight out of high school and beyond. As a trades and industry instructor at El Dorado High School in Placerville, he teaches everything from woodworking technology to engineering and design for grades 9 through 12. He also spends a fair amount of his time as an advocate of career and technical education.

Outstanding Corporate Organization — El Dorado High School Union District- Brian Veerkamp: Brian is extremely committed to El Dorado County Schools and facilitates construction/repair projects such as water main breaks and working with PG&E to initiate EDUHSD’s Flip the Switch solar panels.

Outstanding Community Member — El Dorado High School Union District- Chief Joe Wren: Chief Wren and his team’s contribution to the local community helps to ensure that it is a safe place to live, work, and visit. Each and every day, his team at the Placerville Police Department work diligently to serve the community with professionalism, integrity, and justice.

Outstanding Community Organization — El Dorado County Office of Education- Green Valley Community Church: The church has supported the community in many ways. This includes sheltering evacuees during the Caldor Fire and partnering with EDCOE and Heal360 to open a rapid COVID-19 testing site free and open to the public.

Outstanding Community Member — Pioneer Union School District- Janine D’Agostini: Many residents were evacuated during the Caldor Fire. The D’Agostini family opened their ranch for individuals to camp. Janine worked tirelessly to help take care of evacuees by cooking meals and collecting supplies.

Outstanding Community Member — Rescue Union School District- Gina Johnston: Mrs. Johnston is exceptional in many ways, but it is her work with Project Green that is most impressive. In 2021 Gina officially founded Project Green with the sole mission “to engage youth to grow and sustain community and school gardens creating a safe outdoor environment supporting 21st century learning while nurturing emotional, and social development.”

Attendees were also treated to engaging theatrical activities, hosted by community leader and children’s book author Erin Dealey. Student performers included El Dorado High School’s Myra Pittman and Calen Romig. Flower arrangements decorating the tables were provided by Ponderosa FFA floral students.

Source: El Dorado County Office of Education


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