On Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, the Highline Schools Foundation (HSF) announced its 2024 Gold Star Award nominees.

These are prestigious honors in our school community, recognizing Highline Public Schools’ best and brightest — celebrating Outstanding Teachers, Volunteers, Alumni, Staff and Administrators throughout the district. 

“These awards provide us with the opportunity to honor those who have shown exceptional support for students and their education, and those who inspire us,” organizers said.

This year, the foundation received 156 nominations (for 118 individuals) representing 36 schools, programs, and departments across Highline Public Schools. This year’s list of impressive nominees includes well-deserving teachers, staff, administrators, and volunteers nominated by their peers and coworkers, parents, and even students! 

HSF will celebrate all nominees and announce the winners at the Gold Star Bash on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024 at the SeaTac Community Center, as well as their Gold Star Fundraising Breakfast on Friday, May 3 at Cedarbrook Lodge

Read on for more details on the Gold Star nominees and events, or visit HSF’s website for more information:


And the 2024 Gold Star Award Nominees are… 

Outstanding Administrator

  • Christina Fritch, White Center Heights Elementary
  • Corbin Busby, Hilltop Elementary
  • Jacqueline Downey, Teaching, Learning and Leadership
  • Joe Boyer, Evergreen High School
  • Juan Lozano, Puget Sound Skills Center
  • Kevin Takisaki, Innovation Heights Academy
  • Kimberly Jones, North Hill Elementary
  • Kimberly Nelson, Valley View Early Learning
  • Maggie Heater, Marvista Elementary
  • Phil Willenbrock, Athletics
  • Victoria Terry, Tyee High School

Outstanding Classified Staff 

  • Amanda Gean, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Amleset Legesse, P-5 Early Learning and Elementary Success
  • Audris Pettit, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Birdie Rocha, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Brandi Schnell, Evergreen High School
  • Brandy Nelli, Gregory Heights Elementary
  • Charleisha Cox, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Christy Birch, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Deloris McConnell, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Denise Avitia, Cedarhurst Elementary
  • Denise Dagley, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Eduwiges Prieto, Madrona Elementary
  • Elizabeth Mijal , North Hill Elementary
  • Fawn Rinker, Midway Elementary
  • Isabel Leveron, Chinook Middle School 
  • Jaimee Shaug, Tyee High School
  • Jeri Rickard, North Hill Elementary
  • Jocee Whisner, Puget Sound Skills Center
  • Kimiko Lozan, North Hill Elementary
  • Lisa Lay, Hilltop Elementary
  • Nicole Arguello, Pacific Middle School
  • Rebecca Schreiner, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Renee Stanton , Bow Lake Elementary
  • Scott Villa, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Sherrie McIntyre, Parkside Elementary
  • Susan Hope, Evergreen High School
  • Taresa Herrmann, Puget Sound Skills Center
  • Teresa Christensen, Parkside Elementary

Outstanding Professional Staff

  • Alison Hogue, Evergreen High School
  • Christofer Rothrock, Midway Elementary 
  • Deanne Conrad, Chinook Middle School 
  • Emily Mruk, Pacific Middle School
  • Isuzu Niizuma, Highline Public Schools
  • Jenn Truong, Tyee High School
  • Jill Wilson Zahn, Social Work
  • Jonas Buck, Pacific Middle School
  • Lori McEwen, Innovation Heights Academy
  • L’Shray Jones, Pacific Middle School
  • Rachel Kerr, Evergreen High School 
  • Rosie Allen-Garibaldi, Tyee High School & Bow Lake
  • Shauna Pierson, Innovation Heights Academy
  • Shawna Moore, Puget Sound Skills Center

Outstanding Volunteer

  • Dan Harrington, Highline Public Schools
  • Nimat Aljabori , White Center Heights Elementary
  • Susan Stefanini, McMicken Heights Elementary

Outstanding Rookie Teacher

  • Ashley La, Mount Rainier High School
  • Chris Darling, Puget Sound Skills Center
  • Jessenia Hernandez, Evergreen High School
  • Kaitlin Beidas, Evergreen High School
  • Kelly Shilhanek, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Kristen O’Conner, Gregory Heights Elementary
  • Liana Garvett, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Olivia Pierce-Bluhm, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Riley Lindheimer, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Stacy Williamson, Shorewood Elementary
  • Sydney Farrer, Madrona Elementary

Outstanding Teacher

  • Alicia Elms, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Amy Razo, Evergreen High School
  • Angela Madrid-Lara, White Center Heights Elementary
  • Bethany Tate, Evergreen High School
  • Catherine Cassidy, Pacific Middle School
  • Cathy Reinsel Torres, North Hill Elementary
  • Corey Mikkelson, White Center Heights Elementary
  • Cristina Velez-Gracia, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Darrell Chase Jr., Highline High School
  • Dawn Gardner , Hilltop Elementary
  • Diana Arenas Castillo, Hazel Valley Elementary
  • Elba Martin, Hilltop Elementary
  • Erik Kory, Evergreen High School
  • Erika Castellon, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Erin Enquist, Mount View Elementary
  • Erin Hocevar-Ortiz, Evergreen High School
  • Jaymie Torres-Ibarra, McMicken Heights Elementary
  • Jeni Estrada, Hilltop Elementary
  • Julie Rice, Marvista Elementary
  • Justin Deary, Puget Sound Skills Center
  • Katherine Huh, Midway Elementary
  • Katie Asare, Puget Sound Skills Center
  • Katie Reka, Gregory Heights Elementary
  • Katie Yore (Ashaba), Marvista Elementary
  • Kimberly Burton, Cedarhurst Elementary
  • Lisa Penor, Chinook Middle School 
  • Lisa Snyder, Marvista Elementary
  • Lorena Engle, Pacific Middle School
  • Lynne Terpenning, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Mason Costantino,Hilltop Elementary
  • Meghan Stewart, Cedarhurst Elementary
  • Mia Mlekarov, Maritime High School
  • Michael Hecklinger, Madrona Elementary
  • Mikayla Smith, CHOICE Academy
  • Mirabella Escobar, Evergreen High School
  • Mireya Roldan Guzman, Midway Elementary
  • Naomi True, Evergreen High School 
  • Nicole Leisy, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Nora Duarte, Hilltop Elementary
  • Renee Agatsuma, Evergreen High School
  • Richard Coker, Evergreen High School
  • Sydney Wagner, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Timothy Wind, Pacific Middle School
  • Traci Washington, Big Picture High School
  • Tristyn Ward, Bow Lake Elementary
  • Tyler Defrees, Sylvester Middle School
  • Vaughn Rohrdanz, Seahurt Elementary – Virtual Program
  • Wennie Hong, Evergreen High School
  • Yipsi Barallobre, Mount View Elementary
  • Zachary Hermsen, Evergreen High School

Gold Star Awards BASH! will be Wed., Mar. 27

We have so many wonderful, outstanding employees and volunteers in Highline Public Schools, and we will honor and celebrate all our nominees at the 2024 Gold Star BASH! The Gold Star Award winners will be announced at the BASH on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024 at the SeaTac Community Center.

“Whether you are supporting a specific nominee or just want to be in on the fun and the first to hear who wins, join us for the fun!”

BASH Details:

  • WHEN:  Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024; doors open at 5:30 p.m., program from 6-7 p.m.
  • WHERE: SeaTac Community Center Banquet Room, 13735 24th Ave. SW, SeaTac (map below).
  • TICKETS: $25 each, and includes one drink ticket, appetizers, and dessert. Tickets available here: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GoldStarBash24

Due to venue restrictions, tickets will not be available at the door, so preregistration is necessary. Must be 21 or older to attend.

Get more details on the Gold Star Awards, Nominees, and the Gold Star Bash on HSF’s website: