Thank you LWSD Education Support Professionals!

    March 12-16 is Education Support Professionals Week (formerly known as Classified Public School Employee Week)

    Over 1,250 education support professionals in LWSD include, but are not limited to:

    • School office staff
    • Bus drivers and other transportation staff
    • School nurses
    • Maintenance personnel
    • Business office staff
    • Paraeducators
    • Nutrition services personnel
    School bus and driver

    Take a moment to thank one of these individuals who work hard to support student learning.

    Read about some of the LWSD education support professionals below. More stories will be added throughout the week.

    Charlene Luttge, Braillist and Paraeducator

    Charlene Luttge, LWSD braillist and paraeducatorCharlene Luttge learned braille 20 years ago when the district’s previous braillist offered to teach the skill during a nine-month class. Now her work area at Dickinson Elementary consists of a Perkins Brailler – which looks a bit like a six-key typewriter – and a laptop with a software program called Duxbury, which allows her to type in braille. When an assignment or textbook has been completed, Luttge uses the school’s embosser to “print” the document off the computer.

    Luttge started working with special needs students 34 years ago at Kamiakin Junior High School. She now works part-time as a paraeducator at Evergreen Middle School and part-time as a braillist at Dickinson Elementary School. She works with visually impaired students.

    Luttge must consider how to present graphics, such as those in math problems. She uses a tactile enhancer that raises the black lines in a drawing so someone who is visually impaired can touch them. During her decades working in Lake Washington School District (LWSD), she says her favorite thing has been seeing students learn to be independent and to take care of themselves.

    Luttge is one of 1,250 classified employees in LWSD. Thank you to all of our education support professionals! See the full photo album from Education Support Professionals Week (formerly Classified Public School Employee Week) March 12-16 on the district's Facebook page.

    Gail Anderson, Jamie Crum, Deb Tipple and Barb Whelan, Muir Elementary School Office Staff

    Muir Elementary office staffHave you ever wondered how your school keeps things running so smoothly? Much credit goes to the hard work of the office staff! In celebration of Education Support Professionals Week we wanted to highlight the staff in the front office at John Muir Elementary.

    In addition to their daily projects, they do everything from bandaging a scraped knee to registering new students. They’re the first point of contact in the case of an emergency. But their favorite part is interacting with your kids. Gail Anderson said she likes “watching them learn, grow and be successful.”

    We know one person can’t do it all. Deb Tipple (office manager), Gail Anderson (secretary/registrar), Jamie Crum (health room secretary), and Barb Whelan (IA/lunch program coordinator) all support one another to help things run smoothly. They said, “We work together as a team and we thrive on supporting each other. We are truly one big happy family. We take pride in our reputation for being friendly, supportive and caring.”

    The office staff at Muir are four of 1,250 classified employees in Lake Washington School District. Thank you to all of our education support professionals! We will continue to add to this album during Education Support Professionals Week (formerly Classified Public School Employee Week) from March 12-16.

    Chelsea Ding, Purchasing

    Chelsea DingAs senior buyer in the LWSD Purchasing Department, Chelsea Ding says her goal is to provide a safe, healthy and fun environment for all students. She works directly with schools to help them purchase furniture, fixtures, technology, equipment and rental services to meet their needs.

    She also purchases items that help classrooms foster collaboration. For example, she says, elementary classrooms often use larger desks so students can sit in groups. Kindergarten and first grade classrooms utilize vibrant colors that help young students transition from preschool. Some students are most comfortable sitting on the floor on a cushion. Ding has purchased floor-height tables for these students.

    One secondary classroom can have students who are a variety of different heights. Adjustable-height desks are a cost-effective way to make sure everyone can sit comfortably, Ding said. For teachers and staff who like to use a standing desk, a tall ergonomic chair allows them to sit when needed.

    Chris Huizi, Substitute Bus Driver

    Chris HuiziChris Huizi admits it was a bit intimidating at first to drive a school bus. “It is a big piece of equipment,” he says. “But everyone was very good at teaching. They help you feel comfortable behind the wheel.”

    Huizi started training to be a bus driver earlier this school year. As a substitute driver he has the flexibility to make sure his own children get to their elementary school in the morning. Then he drives a bus during mid-afternoon and evening routes.

    On a recent afternoon, he studied his clipboard, reviewing routes and the list of stops. Does he ever miss a stop? “Yes, and the kids let you know it,” he chuckles. “Turning around to get back to the stop is definitely a challenge.”

    While Huizi becomes more comfortable with LWSD school bus routes, he has been thankful for the help of others in the Transportation Department. “It’s a team effort,” he says. Dispatch helps sort out questions that come up during the route. And if a bus needs maintenance or repairs, LWSD mechanics are on the job.

    Harry Huang, Juanita High Custodian, retiring after 39 years on the job

    Harry HuangThere were smiles, tears and shared memories for Harry Huang on February 13 during his retirement party at Juanita High School (JHS). The JHS custodian of 39 years was showered with compliments and fond stories by a group of about 60 staff members. One thing everyone can agree on is that Huang and his infectious smile will surely be missed. “There’s always a smile on Harry’s face, and he is so dedicated to education,” said teacher Meg Lewis.

    Huang began his career at JHS in 1979 maintaining the pool on the school’s campus. He eventually moved into a custodian position and never looked back, building many friendships along the way. Hardworking, proud, friendly and wonderful are just some of the words staff use to describe Huang. “People were really nice here and people came from their [own] retirement to come [today] and see me, and I really appreciate it,” Huang said. Staff members presented Huang with an honorary JHS letterman’s jacket as a token of their appreciation. “Juanita’s Hero” is written on the back where a last name usually is.

    Huang says he is going to take care of his wife and continue managing a few properties while in retirement. He says it won’t be long before he can relax and enjoy his new lifestyle.