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News Releases
In honor of Classified School Employee Week
In honor of Classified School Employee Week
Graduation Success Coordinator at Kennewick High School Named Regional Classified Employee of the Year (Photo) - 03/16/17

PASCO, WA -- After competing against a pool of highly-qualified nominees across seven counties, Laura Jepsen, Kennewick High School Graduation Success Coordinator, has been named the Regional Classified Employee of the Year by Educational Service District (ESD) 123.

The Classified School Employee of the Year program recognizes excellence in the work of public school employees, including paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians, food service workers, and others. Anyone may nominate a classified public school employee for this award, which is overseen by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). All completed nominations are sent to the regional coordinator at each ESD, who in turn selects a regional winner. Ms. Jepsen is one of nine regional winners who will go on to compete for the State Classified Employee of the Year award.

As the Graduation Success Coordinator at KHS, Ms. Jepsen works with high-risk, failing, and credit-deficient students. Since beginning her role in Kennewick in 2010, Ms. Jepsen has been instrumental in raising Kennewick High School's graduation rate from 76.6 percent to 91 percent. She is an invaluable resource to students, parents, administrators, and teachers through her identification of and assistance to struggling students, who might otherwise have dropped out of school.

ESD 123 Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, Mr. Troy Tornow, says that, while the 2017 classified employee applicant pool was very competitive and difficult to narrow down, Ms. Jepsen's nomination and recommendations stood above the rest.

"Classified employees play a very important role in providing high quality educational experiences for students," says Tornow. "All of the nominees this year should be proud of their contributions to their school and district. Laura Jepsen stood out as a key player in improving Kennewick High School's extended graduation rate from 76% to 91% over the past six years. Her collaborative approach and dedication to working with both students and staff at Kennewick High School is inspiring and a great representation of the impact classified employees have in public education."

After advancing on to the statewide competition, regional finalists will be recognized by OSPI at an annual award ceremony in Olympia (date TBD), where OSPI will announce their selection of the State Classified Employee of the Year. For more information on these awards, contact OSPI Recognition Coordinator, Hilary Seidel, at 360.725.6117.


About ESD 123: Educational Service District 123, based in Pasco, WA, is one of nine ESDs in Washington. Dedicated to delivering collaborative solutions that promote learning, ESD 123 serves 23 school districts in seven counties of Southeastern Washington. Under Superintendent Darcy Weisner and its board of directors, this legislatively mandated, not-for-profit educational organization provides efficiency of educational systems and equity of learning opportunities for over 70,000 Washington students. For more information about ESD 123, please call 509-544-5700 or 888-547-8441 or visit

MEDIA ALERT - Crystal Apple Awards Tomorrow - 03/08/17

PASCO, WA -- More than 300 people are expected to join in a celebration recognizing teachers from nine public school districts. The 19th Annual Crystal Apple Awards begins at 4:30 PM tomorrow, March 9 at the Educational Service District 123 in Pasco.

Unlike any teacher recognition program in the State, the Crystal Apple Awards began in 1999 in an effort to recognize some of the extraordinary local educators responsible for shaping our students' future. Each winner receives a $1,000 check, glass apple, gift cards to area dining, tickets to sporting events, and more! (See attached list of 2017 Crystal Apple winners.)

The public is invited to attend the 2017 Crystal Apple Award ceremony from 4:30 to 6 PM on March 9 at ESD 123, located at 3924 W. Court St. in Pasco. For more information, contact Molly Curtiss at 509.544.5787 or


Attached Media Files: Crystal Apple Winners