Meet the 2021-22 CSEYs

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Meet the 2021-22 CSEYs
Meet the 2021-22 CSEYsCongratulations to Hansen Elementary Paraeducator Scott Boe, Washington Middle School Office Administrator Cathy Shea and Pioneer Elementary Lead Custodian Nguyen Phan for being named this year’s Classified School Employees of the Year. The annual award recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration.


Scott Boe, Paraeducator, Hansen Elementary

Patience is perhaps the most important quality that makes Scott Boe well equipped to work with kids, he said. Boe, a paraeducator at Hansen Elementary, gets opportunities to showcase his patience regularly -- when solving playground disputes during recess, directing traffic before and after school, and coaching struggling new readers.


“You just kind of have to sit back and let them feel the emotions that they are feeling and help them move through those emotions,” Boe said. “Also with kids who are struggling, it gives me time to apply my patience. You’ve got to just give them time to move through their lesson. I’ve always felt that one of my strengths is patience. I’ve always had it.”


Boe has been a paraeducator at Hansen for 14 years. He plans to continue working there until he’s ready for retirement. “The staff and students are so awesome it almost felt like it was destiny to be here, so I’m going to stay.”


Boe continued, “I’m a product of the Olympia School District so I wanted to repay what I gained from the district.” He graduated from Olympia High School in 1984.


Boe wears many hats in his role at Hansen. In addition to patrol before and after school, recess and lunch duty, he also helps with teaching small groups. Boe also holds an emergency substitute certification and is usually the first choice for teachers who need a substitute.


“Kids love it when Mr. Boe is there,” said Principal Billy Harris. “Every day no matter what, he will come in with an amazing smile and leave at the end of the day with an amazing smile, regardless if it’s been a hard day or it’s raining.”


Creating a positive environment is Boe’s biggest mission, he said. “My goal is to value each and every kid and make sure they are heard and helped and feel valued. I do that by listening to them and really honoring each kid as an individual and trying to give them as much time and focus as I can.”


Cathy Shea, Office Administrator, Washington Middle School

Although there’s a lot of paperwork and administrative tasks to handle in the office at Washington Middle School, office administrator Cathy Shea said her primary job is customer service.


“I work for the kids. This is their school, their community. And I work for the staff. If I can help them have a good day that’s the goal,” Shea said.


“I love the relationships with the kids. I love small talk with them about how their day is, their hobbies outside of school and things like that,” Shea said. “And then, when they come back to the school to visit and say ‘Mrs. Shea do you remember me?’ Of course I do. I love that. I cry a lot. It’s very sweet if they just come back and say ‘thank you.’”


It’s not just her employment that makes Shea feel such a strong connection to Washington. She also lives in the neighborhood. “I think I take more pride because it’s my community, my neighbors. Kids live next door and behind me, so this is my community,” she said. “I just feel like I’m an ambassador for the schools and I can just make everyone feel comfortable when they come in.”


Students at Washington agree that Shea sets a positive tone for the school. “Mrs. Shea is super cool,” said 8th grader Ethan Sharp. “She is kind and respectful to all students and teachers. She has a happy and outgoing attitude and always greets us with a smile.”


Nguyen Phan, Lead Custodian, Pioneer Elementary

At Pioneer Elementary School, lead custodian Nguyen Phan is like a constant ray of sunshine, colleagues say. His attitude is always positive and he likes to spread good cheer among everyone he crosses paths with. For example, every Friday Phan sends out an email to all school staff wishing them a good weekend.


“We’re always laughing and having fun every day,” Phan said. “I’m trying to figure out the best way to make everybody comfortable.”


Phan’s formula for success in his role involves hard work, skill, communication and relentless positivity, he said. “You need the skill and you need good communication and a good attitude, and when you combine those you will be successful.”


As a lead custodian, Phan’s job involves more than what one traditionally thinks of as a janitor, Phan said. In addition to keeping the campus clean and sanitized, Phan completes basic repairs, sets up for lunches and is responsible for campus security.


He also engages with students when they have a problem, for example if they approach him for help cleaning up a mess on the playground. “I pick it up right away so the kids have safety,” Phan said. “There’s no reason to get mad or upset. They are like the customer, and we need to serve the customer.”


Getting to work among children is one of the perks of the job, Phan said. “On the one side, you have a lot of responsibility and on the other side, you love the job and the kids.”