A Woodland School District employee has been named 2017 Classified School Employee of the Year for the ESD 112 region. The award is given by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and recognizes an outstanding classified school employee in each ESD region of the state.
Mary Ann Sturdivan is a Career Counselor at Woodland High School. Initially, her job consisted primarily of coordinating the school’s Senior Culminating Project, but her knack for identifying and meeting student needs has led to the implementation of new and efficient programs to serve the school’s diverse student population.
Overseeing the Senior Project means ensuring that more than 150 seniors meet all requirements of the project, from completing 10-20 hours of service learning, tracking essays, scheduling presentations, and keeping tabs on job shadowing to help ensure that all students are on track for this important graduation requirement. This alone is a great responsibility, but Sturdivan recognized other areas that she could improve for students, including the development of an electronic scholarship application in partnership with other staff, the development of the Service Opportunities webpage, and organization of the first Woodland Community Career Fair and a student pantry.
Sturdivan was instrumental in developing the community job fair, which allowed Woodland High School seniors an opportunity to practice resume writing and job interviewing skills with local employers. At the end of the school day community members attended the job fair to learn about potential employment opportunities within the community.
Concerned about students with limited access to resources, Sturdivan started a school pantry which provides food, clothing, hygiene items and school supplies so that students can focus on academics and not worry about basic needs. She has also partnered with community organizations to collect formal dresses and suits so that students can have access to formal attire for school dances, breaking down the barrier between the haves and the have nots.
An online scholarship application system has resulted in a greater number of WHS students applying for college scholarships. A Service Opportunities Webpage has raised student awareness regarding need within the community and allowed students to have a direct positive impact. These are just a few examples of how Sturdivan is making a difference for students.
“I believe each student has a unique role in the world,” said Sturdivan. “I encourage students to understand that their circumstances need not define them, that change can lead to personal growth, and there are countless educators supporting their efforts. Helping students achieve their goals is not a job but a gift.”
“During Mary Ann’s tenure, there has never been a student fail to graduate as a result of missing the mark on their culminating project,” said Woodland High School Principal John Shoup. “This is a significant statistic and I am very proud of her work to help our students cross this rigorous educational milestone.”
Shoup praises Sturdivan’s “can do” attitude and ability to motivate others. “Students, staff, parents and the community love working with Mary Ann because she exhibits a caring and loving attitude with everyone and her light shines so brightly you can clearly see her vision and want to be a member of her team!”
“Mary Ann has an enormous impact on the success of our students,” writes WHS Counselor Sarah Gray. “Within our counseling department, students know they can come to Mary Ann with both academic and social/emotional concerns and be treated respectfully with compassion and confidentiality.”
“Whether it is through providing career readiness, mental health support, equitable support through personal items or establishing community supported relationships, students know I am their advocate,” writes Sturdivan. “I am honored when a student is comfortable enough to ask for assistance, whether it be with their post-secondary plan, scholarships or items from the Student Pantry. As a result, each year I am rewarded by overseeing presentations of seniors who share their high school experiences and future plans. I am in awe as they discuss their community service, their successes and sometimes the struggles they have overcome. It is a privilege to witness their growth and maturity as well as participate in their education, goals and accomplishments.”
Sturdivan will be recognized along with honorees from other regions of the state by Superintendent Chris Reykdal later this spring. Her application will be forwarded to the state level for consideration for the Washington State Classified Employee of the Year award.