Educational Service District 105

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East Valley custodian is our Regional Classified School Employee of the Year

Holzer at assembly Dan Holzer, a custodian universally known as “Dan the Jan” by the students in the East Valley School District’s Terrace Heights Elementary School, is the Educational Service District 105 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year for 2017.  Holzer learned of the honor during a surprise announcement held during a student assembly at the school on March 15 in conjunction with the statewide Classified Public School Employees Week.    

Holzer is in his 21st year with the school district.  The award recognizes not only his exemplary work role of consistently maintaining the pristine condition of the Terrace Heights Elementary building, but also the custodian’s numerous contributions in organizing activities and providing interpersonal connections that have all enhanced students’ experiences and safety at the school. 

Holzer joined the East Valley School District’s custodial staff in 1996, and currently serves as the day custodian at Terrace Heights Elementary School.

Since joining the school district staff in 1996, "Dan the Jan" has built an ongoing reputation for nurturing numerous positive connections with the school’s students.  He routinely joins students’ P.E. activities for a few minutes in the gym, and will sometimes walk a mile during his lunch time to support the school’s PTA-sponsored Mileage Club program.  Several years ago, after a kindergarten class was unable to have its field trip to a local pumpkin patch, Holzer drove to a site in Wapato to fill his own pickup with pumpkins and (dressed as a scarecrow) set them up at the school to await the students when they came to classes the following Monday morning.  He’s also been the disk jockey for the school’s annual Sock Hop, where he’ll lead the students in the Bunny Hop or to the arm motions of “YMCA.”  He also created a “Golden Dustpan Award” that Holzer personally presents each month during school assemblies to the building’s cleanest classroom.

Among staff, Holzer serves as a member of the school district and Terrace Heights Elementary crisis teams, and has been instrumental in connecting with emergency management personnel and other organizations to develop emergency plans for enhanced student safety.  He’s also served on the school’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) Committee and was part of East Valley’s Strategic Plan Committee. 

Dan Holzer award group In her letter of recommendation for the award, Terrace Heights Elementary principal Tami Scrivner wrote:  “Dan is someone the kids trust.  I cannot tell you how many want to be a custodian helper on a weekly basis.  Achievement increases when children feel safe and connected, and sometimes all it takes is a connection with one person to make school a better place.”

Holzer will now serve as the south central Washington region’s candidate for the title of the 2017 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year.  The statewide award will be announced on May 8 by OSPI during a special reception at the Old Capitol Building in Olympia.  Holzer will be one of up to nine candidates, each selected through their respective ESDs, to be considered for that state title.

Holzer was one of six nominees for the ESD 105 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year for 2017.  The other local candidates were:  Tracie Johnson, attendance secretary and athletics secretary at Yakima’s Davis High School; Murray Campbell, head custodian and building engineer at Yakima’s Davis High School; Francisca Perez, special education assistant at White Swan High School in the Mt. Adams School District; Laura Perez, English language learners bilingual paraeducator at John Campbell Primary in the Selah School District; and Salliejo Evers, district security coordinator in the Sunnyside School District.

(Pictured above:  East Valley School District Supt. John Schieche, Dan Holzer, Terrace Heights Elementary principal Tami Scrivner, and ESD 105 Supt. Kevin Chase)