Highline Schools Foundation Announces 2012 Gold Star Award Winners


From L to R: Darcy Smith, Dr. Alan Spicatti, Barbara Rodgers and Astha Tada. Photo by Mo Simon.

The Highline Schools Foundation announced the winners of the 2012 Gold Star Awards at their first Annual Gold Star Awards BASH Thursday night (March 22), held in Burien. Over 160 district teachers, parents, administrators and supporters were in attendance, many rooting on their friends and fellow co-workers who were award nominees.

The Gold Star Award winners will be honored at the Foundation’s annual Gold Star Awards Breakfast on April 20, held at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center. For information on registration, please visit www.highlineschoolsfoundation.org.

The 2012 Highline Schools Foundation Gold Star Award Winners are:

Outstanding Alumnus: David Sabey
Mr. Sabey attended Sunnydale Elementary, Sylvester Middle School, and Highline High School where he graduated in 1965.
Mr. Sabey not only founded one of the leading development companies in the Puget Sound Region, The Sabey Corporation, he has also been a civic leader for more than 30 years. Dave has a passion for promoting education at both the K-12 and higher education levels, and has volunteered his time for a number of universities both in Washington State and across the nation.

Outstanding Volunteer: Astha Tada, Cascade Middle School
Ms. Tada provided leadership and compassion to her colleagues and to the children she taught during her career as a HSD librarian from approximately 1967 – 2003, serving at McMicken Hts, Valley View, and Cascade Middle School. Currently, her biggest volunteer challenge is as a spokesperson and community advocate to save the White Center King County Library so Cascade and other students will have access to its resources.

Outstanding Classified or Professional Support Staff:

Barbara Rodgers, Office Manager, Health Sciences & Human Services High School
Barb treats students with compassion and an incredible amount of empathy. She is known as a “mother” to all students, providing snacks and breakfast for students who are coming to school hungry. She is the provider of supplies for activities, and has been known to support students who need athletic shoes, or a cap and gown for graduation, with her own dollars. She is a beloved staff member and district employee.

Outstanding Administrator: Dr. Alan Spicciati, Interim Superintendent
Dr. Alan Spicciati, Interim Superintendent of Highline Public Schools, is truly deserving of this award for his exemplary leadership for nearly two decades, including his outstanding work during our district’s current superintendent transition. Throughout his term as interim, Dr. Spicciati has made a high priority of connecting with school personnel and community members. Last fall, he launched a 50 Sites in 50 Days tour of the district, during which he as visited schools, work sites and community events meeting people and conveying how he values their work.

Alan has made numerous contributions to Highline School District. As Chief Accountability Officer, he designed the System Wide Measures of Success—which holds the district accountable for specific metrics that support student achievement.

He has worked in the district for nearly 18 years—starting as an elementary music teacher, then to high school assistant principal and elementary principal before beginning his work at the district office.

Outstanding Teacher—Darcy Smith, 6th grade teacher, McMicken Heights Elementary School
Darcy is truly exceptional in her practice. She provides a place where each and every student is welcomed, acknowledged and assured that they will learn not just academics, but how to talk, to debate, to advocate for themselves and each other. She is committed to every student’s success and whenever and however possible—-she brings the family in as partners in this work.

Darcy currently runs an after school program specifically designed for adolescent girls. The curriculum, Salvaging Sisterhood, is based on the ideas of building confidence, decision making skills, battling peer pressure, media images and messages, and developing girls’ leadership. Although this program lacks funding, Darcy keeps it going, giving her own time and resources.

Last year, 47.4% of Darcy’s incoming 6th graders were reading at benchmark, by June, 81% of the class was at benchmark or higher.

Congratulations to all the winners, as well as the nominees!


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