Behind every successful student are extraordinary educators, and Corvallis Public Schools honors exemplary teachers with the Golden Apple Award each year.
The Golden Apple Awards were created in 1996 by Mario Pastega. Every year Corvallis Public Schools Foundation (CPSF) awards four Mario and Alma Pastega Golden Apple Awards to three teachers and one classified staff member. Golden apple winners receive a monetary gift, a golden apple bell, and a professional portrait by the Ball Studio.
Over the past month, CPSF has recognized five staff members to celebrate their outstanding contributions to students and the school communities where they work.
The winners are Keith Moses, Kelsey Hibbert, Elton Kikuta and Nancy Hausen. This year, the Corvallis School District also presented a Stellar Service Award to Student Support Specialist Chris Hawkins.
The CPSF had to go through a multitude of nominations to select this year’s winners. Below are some of the big feelings shared about the winners. Check out the recipients’ highlights video for the 2022 Golden Apple Award.
Keith Mosesart teacher, Crescent Valley High School
For many years Keith has provided a supportive learning environment where our students thrive. He is especially good at supporting our historically marginalized students at Crescent Valley High School. He made the CV art program what it is today: an environment where all students feel safe and included. It creates a particularly welcoming place for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students in Crescent Valley.
He is also deeply invested in our greater community, either supporting adults in their learning or introducing young students to the joy of art. He is the expert in our community that people turn to to support their art programs. Frequently, Keith opens the art rooms on weekends and evenings for students to work on projects. It’s amazing how he individually challenges each student to do their best, even students who aren’t officially enrolled in one of his classes. Keith is a humble and compassionate servant who frequently helps students seek recognition for their incredible work.
He personally delivered art supplies and ceramic wheels to our students so they could work from home during distance learning. Whatever the challenge, Keith will find a way to provide the most amazing learning opportunities for our students. He is exactly the type of educator and person who deserves the Golden Apple Award.
Kelsey HibertDean of Students, Linus Pauling Middle School
As Dean of Students, Kelsey keeps her hand on the pulse of the building. She has created a space at the Student Center where students feel comfortable, where they feel listened to and supported, and where they can solve some of their unusual problems. There’s a reason students seek her out; his relations with them are positive and kind. Additionally, Kelsey reaches out to students who often go unheard otherwise.
As a colleague, Kelsey helps foster positive relationships between staff and students. It’s very organized, and each week Kelsey puts together videos when the administrators read the positive references that go out to all the classes. She creates mini-lessons each week for school-wide shows that promote positive behaviors. Over the years, Kelsey has created strong working relationships with the families. Kelsey is always positive about her work. She is always ready to step in to cover a class, organize an event or give a presentation. Corvallis School District is a better place with Kelsey as one of its employees.
Elton Kikutathird grade teacher, Kathryn Jones Harrison Elementary
Belonging, trust, security, confidence, love, endless compassion and humor – these are values that only begin to describe Elton Kikuta. These values are not what Elton is looking for; they are part of the fabric that makes him who he is. Elton sees the beauty in every child and deeply believes in their potential. More importantly, the children know this.
It is at the heart of our school community. Elton seems to know exactly what each student needs. Sometimes it can be simple – extra help to practice math facts or read a story with him before a lesson. Other times, like when he left a note on a student’s desk before school in the morning saying, “Today is a new day. I believe in you and I’m here for you. Let’s have lunch together today”, whereas the day before the pupil had received a behavioral reference at recess.
He showed up at the house of a student who had been really sick with the treasure chest so they wouldn’t miss anything. He sent letters to his students over the summer to let them know he was always thinking of them and was there if they needed anything. He is the first to defend his students, especially those who need it the most. His belief in them is unconditional. He touched the lives of many.
Nancy HausenCampus Steward/Chief Custodian, Linus Pauling Middle School
Nancy is a leader in our daycare. His commitment to supporting staff and students is evident in his work. She is a trusted expert in her field and is often called upon to help with hiring, developing protocols and procedures, and to help train new staff. She is ready to take on any challenge. Thanks to COVID, she helped develop safety protocols and endured many challenges, always facing them with a smile and a positive attitude.
Nancy was part of the Bond Design Consulting Operations team, providing valuable insight into the impact of building design on construction operations. She is highly respected by her building staff and her department. Our school community is better thanks to Nancy.
Chris Hawkinstudent support specialist
Chris is a trusted and compassionate first responder to students, staff and schools. His wisdom and ability to connect people in need to resources is one of his many strengths. Whether his work is prevention, intervention or postvention, Chris sees the forest as well as each tree. It unites our school district as well as our community to create systems of care for students and families as needed. Chris’ immediate response to the pandemic was to secure funds and donations from the community for the district food pantry which continues to supply and deliver food to students and families.
Chris is an innovator, a great listener and approachable. It is accessible 24/7. She’ll text, email, call, or show up in a heartbeat for those in need. She is generous with her time and more. Chris is a one-stop-shop to help our students, families and teachers through times of crisis, supporting those involved in emotional and stressful times. She also supports our staff by conducting training on crisis situations, including suicide, and is recognized as a suicide expert statewide.
In addition to performing his work at an exemplary level, Chris has been instrumental in building lasting relationships with his colleagues. These relationships provide an inclusive work environment where staff feel heard, supported and cared for. Staff often seek her out as a calming, reassuring resource that points to a solution.
Chris does all of these things with a calm attitude, making those around him believe that things are under control and that our community can help students deal with their difficulties.
Our sincere congratulations and thanks to these five remarkable people. – Corvallis Advocate staff
By Stacey Newman Weldon