Mt. Adams parapro is our 2019 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year!
Lola Sarsfield, who has made numerous contributions for students in the Mt. Adams School District as a special education paraprofessional for nearly 40 years, is now the Educational Service District 105 Classified School Employee of the Year for 2019.
Sarsfield was presented the award during a surprise announcement by ESD 105 superintendent Kevin Chase at the March 13 Mt. Adams School Board meeting during a scheduled recognition of school employees in conjunction with the statewide Education Support Professionals Week.
Sarsfield began her job at Mt. Adams in September of 1979. With her years of experience athere and the existing positive relationships she’s established with the students, Sarsfield was asked to apply for emergency substitute certification and now fills in to manage classrooms on an as-needed basis. She’s also become a staff leader in helping new teachers and para educators understand the importance of relationships in Mt. Adams’ school community.
Among Sarsfield’s accomplishments during her years with Mt. Adams:
- She assisted in developing a student store called The Charger Trading Post that sells smoothies and cookies during lunchtime. The store helps students learn to build a budget, purchase ingredients, and acquire the math and social skills that occur during customer interactions.
- Sarsfield helped start an archery program for middle school and high school students, and for many years has been a lead instructor of the Archery Club. She and her family provided much of the archery equipment for the school program.
- Sarsfield revamped a lunch detention program this school year by sending “lunch invites” to students who have tardies or other referrals. She then picks up those students a few minutes before lunch, has the students walk quietly in line to the lunchroom to get their lunches, then leads them into a classroom to work on their missed assignments during lunchtime. This program has helped tardies at the school drop by more than 75% since the start of the school year.
- Throughout the year, Sarsfield collects donations of coats, gloves, and hats to provide winter clothing for the students she supervises during the morning and afternoon bus runs.
- As part of her work in enforcing the concepts of responsibility, respect, and safety to students, Sarsfield greets all visitors to her buildings by asking everyone -- from the superintendent to community members -- to show their I.D. badges or visitor passes when she greets them at the classroom. This practice helps import to students the importance the expectations involved in following rules as she meets with guests and wishes each one of them a good visit.
Sarsfield was one of three nominated applicants for the ESD 105 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year for 2019. The other local candidates were: Shari Chapman, a human resources program supervisor with the Yakima School District; and Austin Cooper, a paraprofessional at Naches Valley High School.