Classified School Employee of the Year named

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Classified School Employee of the Year named
Classified employee of the year poses with flowers and two of her coworkersCongratulations to Linda Kim-Zaccagnini, administrative assistant at Garfield Elementary School, for being named this year’s Olympia School District Classified School Employee of the Year.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy delivered the news during an impromptu Garfield Elementary staff meeting. Cheers and applause filled the room as Murphy announced Kim-Zaccagnini as this year’s award winner.

The annual award recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration. This is the third year in a row that a Garfield employee has been recognized with the district honor. Denise Pigue received the award in 2018, preceded by Michell Orwig in 2017.

Kim-Zaccagnini began working in the district as a paraeducator in 1997 after serving many years as a parent volunteer. She is in her thirteenth year as the school’s administrative assistant.

Library full of school employees clapping and smiling“For many years Linda has been the point person for Garfield Elementary,” said Principal Brendon Chertok. “Her thoughtful approach toward students, families and staff has contributed to an environment that is inclusive and compassionate. Particularly with families who do not speak English, Linda's ability to speak several languages has eased the transition for many of our families. Linda has also created and organized after-school opportunities for Garfield students. In cooperation with community volunteers, staff and parents, these classes include arts/crafts, sports and a homework club among many others.”

The long-time employee will be honored at a special recognition ceremony during the December 16, 2019 Olympia School Board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox 111 Administrative Center, 111 Bethel St. N.E. in Olympia.

Kim-Zaccagnini was selected for the honor from among a pool of nominations submitted by staff, families and community members. The district opened nominations for Classified School Employee of the Year in September. A screening committee made up of OSD employees and community members reviewed the submissions and recommended the award winner to the superintendent.

Principal and superintendent pose with classified employee of the yearThe nomination letter praised Kim-Zaccagnini for her “innate ability to relate with kids and support them in a thoughtful and kind manner,” which has contributed to a warm and inviting environment at the school. It went on to say that she has a particular ability to “create comfort to families for whom English is not their primary language,” and added that Garfield is strong as a community because of her work.

Classified School Employee of the Year is an annual statewide awards program through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It begins with local nominations from school districts throughout Washington. Those individuals have a chance of then being named a regional Classified School Employee of the Year, which allows them to advance to the state competition.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction recognizes the regional finalists and announces the state Classified School Employee of the Year at the annual spring award ceremony at the Old Capitol Building in Olympia.

The state award winner and regional finalists are invited to several annual recognition events including the Governor's Reception for Exceptional Educators.