A principal, transportation supervisor and teacher were recognized for their hard work at the 2016 Kings County Excellence in Education Awards ceremony Tuesday evening.
The awards ceremony honored educational employees in three categories: Administrator of the Year, Employee of the Year and Teacher of the Year. School districts in Kings County could nominate an employee in each category. Applications were submitted in October 2015.
Administrator of the Year
“I’m very honored to be chosen as the Kings County Administrator of the Year,” said Jamison High School Principal Sandi Lowe.
Lowe has been with the Lemoore Union High School District for 24 years and principal for 14 years.
During her acceptance speech, Lowe expressed her gratitude to the district and staff. She said she found her calling working with at-risk students.
Jamison High School is the continuation high school for the Lemoore school district. The school serves students who are at risk of not graduating for various reasons.
“[The school] is important because it gives kids a second chance to be successful in school,” she said. “I was an at-risk student as well."
“You just see so many rewards working with at-risk youth,” she said.
Employee of the Year
“I am very, very honored to have been picked as the Employee of the Year,” said Kings River-Hardwick transportation supervisor Amparo Vryhof.
During her speech she thanked God for her blessings and the opportunity to work with children. She has worked at the district for 34 years including secretary, aide and then bus driver.
Vryhof said her staff is always supportive and the district is a good place to work at. She added that she enjoys being around children and hopes she can guide them in a positive way.
“Bus drivers rock,” she said as she was ending her speech.
Teacher of the Year
“I’m just really overwhelmed with pride — pride for our profession,” said Pioneer Elementary School teacher Stacey Pagter Snodgrass, who was named Teacher of the Year.
Snodgrass has been with Pioneer Union Elementary School District for 17 years. She currently teaches a combination class of fourth- and fifth-grade students. She was a student teacher at the district and decided to stay because of the "wonderful" staff and students.
“The thing that makes us special is the people here,” she said.
During her acceptance speech she thanked the district for giving teachers the “freedom to be creative and inventive” in their classrooms. She said the No. 1 reason she comes to school every day is the students.
“I love young people,” she said. “I thought what a better way to hopefully make a difference in people’s lives — by impacting them when they are young.”
Snodgrass said she is honored for having received the award. She said there are many great teachers out in the community who deserve an award too.
Educational Employees Credit Union sponsored the ceremony at West Hills College Lemoore Golden Eagle Arena.
“I think if you asked any educator they would tell you that they don’t need the recognition — that being able to impact the lives of children is the true award,” said Leana Cantrell, a member of the event committee. “I think it is really important to be able to take a moment and put them in the spotlight and thank them for all they have done for the children of Kings County.”