Julia Barber, a physical therapy assistant at Larchmont Elementary School, was one of 13 school employees across the state recognized by state Superintendent Randy Dorn at the Classified Employee Excellence Awards ceremony held in the Washington State Senate Chambers on May 15. This program recognizes classified staff members who have made a positive difference in their profession and in their schools.
“Classified staff members are essential to the success of our schools, and these 13 individuals stand out,” said Dorn in a press release. “They are examples of dedication, creativity and teamwork.”
“It was a wonderful day in Olympia and a tremendous honor,” Barber said.” I am so grateful and so proud to have the opportunity to work with the Tacoma physical therapy staff. They have allowed me to be who I am and to be creative. It’s all about working for the kids and staying kind and true to them.” Barber has been at Larchmont for nearly seven years and in the district for 19 years. She also is a graduate of the Tacoma Public Schools.
A selection committee of school administrators, parents, classified staff and education association representatives selected recipients based on four criteria, according to a press release from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). These criteria are:
- Demonstration of outstanding work performance
- Evidence of how the candidate supports students and colleagues
- Description of the candidate’s role in a special project or assignment
- Other unique qualities or circumstances
There are more than 78,000 classified employees in the state of Washington and include paraeducators— classroom and computer assistants, tutors, translators who support teachers—as well as security officers, custodians, secretaries, cooks, bus drivers and other personnel in positions that do not require academic certification.
The Classified Employees Excellence Award is administered by the state Superintendent’s Office in collaboration with Public School Employees of Washington, PEMCO Insurance and School Employees Credit Union of Washington who sponsor the banquet following the awards ceremony.