2018 Crystal Apple Awards Gala

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Klamath County School District Honors Inspiring Staff

The Klamath County School District shone a spotlight on eight educators who brighten the lives of students every day. The district held the sixth annual Crystal Apple Awards Gala, honoring five teachers and three classified staff, on Tuesday evening.

“The Crystal Apple Awards celebrates those educators who have gone above and beyond expectations to serve and inspire their students,” said Superintendent Greg Thede.


The 2018 Crystal Apple Awardees are:

  • Deb Cornelison – Special Education Teacher – Keno Elementary School
  • Carly Fullerton – Science Teacher – Henley High School
  • Cathy Nevala – Art Teacher – Mazama High School
  • Aleasha Tacchini – Special Education Teacher – Henley Middle School
  • Stacy Wright – Third Grade Teacher – Shasta Elementary School
  • Tess Gonzales – Special Education Paraprofessional – Ferguson Elementary School
  • Jen Johnson – Paraprofessional/Librarian – Lost River Jr./Sr. High School
  • Terri Robinette – Secretary – Merrill Elementary School

“These teachers, secretaries and paraprofessionals exemplify the type of people in our schools who inspire and care for our students,” Thede said. “They represent a fraction of those deserving this recognition.”

Choirs from Henley High School and Mazama High School performed throughout the evening at the Ross Ragland Theater. Henley JROTC presented colors to the National Anthem, and Mazama FBLA and Henley FFA also assisted at the event. Shasta Elementary Principal David Wehr served as emcee.

Part of a team
All the Crystal Apple Awardees said they represented the teams of teachers and staff at their schools and throughout the district. They credited their teammates with the awards more than themselves, saying recognition should go to all who work to make students’ lives better.

“There are so many amazing people I work with and have worked with, I feel this honor allows me a moment to represent them,” Aleasha Tacchini said. “Without them, I would not be here. I would not be the teacher that I am.”

“I work with so many amazing people. It truly takes a team to educate our children,” said Tess Gonzales.” I am very blessed to be a part of the Ferguson team.”

“Merrill Elementary is a small school with a big heart,” said Terri Robinette. “I get to be a part of that heartbeat every day. That is my privilege.”

“As a teacher you are part of a team of individuals who dedicate themselves to working toward a common goal,” said Stacy Wright. “The energy I create in my classroom is because I watch and learn from every classroom I step foot in. I try to take something from every partner teacher and principal I have worked with and incorporate it into my classroom to make the best learning environment I can.”


Dedicated to students
Deb Cornelison recited a quote she lives by: It is impossible to teach without learning something yourself.

“I would like to dedicate those words to the many students, both past and present, that have made this saying ring true each and every day,” she said. “I have opportunities daily to congratulate my students for each accomplishment, whether small or large. That, to me, is a beautiful thing,”

Carly Fullerton thanked her students, past and present.

“They are the driving force behind what we do,” she said, “and why we show up to love what we do every day.”

“As I have always said, it’s all about the students. The best part of my career, hands down, has been our Lost River students,” said Jen Johnson.

In her career at Lost River, she has seen two generations of students pass through her library and been to 28 proms.

“Yes, I’m exactly where I am supposed to be,” she said.

Cathy Nevala considered herself fortunate to still be teaching art to her students. 

“I see myself as an advocate for the arts, an advocate for my students,” she said. “An art guide who connects and bridges art to other subjects. A guide for students to help connect to themselves and the world beyond.”


On mission
The Klamath County School District’s mission statement is to “Inspiring Today’s Students to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges.” Thede said there is an unofficial mission statement that uses the KCSD acronym to spell Knowledge, Creativity, Success and Dedication. All the Crystal Apple awardees epitomize both those goals, he said.

“All of them are knowledgeable and highly skilled. All of them stand out for their creativity. All of them contribute to the success of their students at school and beyond. And all of them are dedicated to their craft and their profession,” he said. “It is an honor to recognize such highly skilled, caring and compassionate people. Their service to our district and students is truly inspiring.”

Press release and photography provided from Samantha Tipler, Public Relations, Klamath County School District.

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