Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Community Education is happy to announce the winners of the first annual Outstanding Achievement Award! This award will be given annually to Community Education staff, instructors, and volunteers who show an extraordinary commitment to their role and positively impact Community Education and its participants. It is an honor that recognizes the best of the best in Community Education.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate the community educator who has made a difference in their lives!

    Be sure to extend your personal congratulations the next time you see one of our 2020 winners!


    Download a PDF of this years winners.

  • Maren Olson


    Discovery Club

    Winner - Full-Time Staff Member

    Maren builds community in all aspects of her role as a Discovery Club staff member. She has gracefully moved from before and after school child care (Discovery Club), to working with children in Essential Kid’s Care. She builds relationships and trust with colleagues and children alike and is committed to bringing out children and staff’s strengths. Maren gave children the opportunity to collaborate and co-create what their child care space looked and felt like.

    Maren inspires children and her team to be creative in supporting children with special needs with a calming environment and a positive attitude. Maren also shows an ability to lead equity work: she brings resources to class, leads conversations and supports children individually regarding anti-racism work. Maren leads social justice story time for children.

    During a year that has been difficult because of Coronavirus and racial tensions, Maren has shown tremendous commitment to working positively with children and staff.



    Christopher Holmes


    Community Programs

    Winner - Part-Time Instructor

    Chris has been teaching French language classes with Community Programs since 2015. In his classes, French 1, 2, 3, and Conversation, Chris uses a variety of teaching methods to keep the class fresh and exciting and has even adapted classes to an online format amid the pandemic. It is clear the time and effort that is put into each class to make learning fun -grammar exercises, writing, reciting poetry, reading assignments, pronunciation exercises- and he ensures everyone has the opportunity to speak.

    Chris gives attention to each student and is able to teach people at different skill levels. Not only is he respectful of the students’ varying abilities, he is a patient and determined, which is reflected in the students’ loyalty and commitment to his classes. Over the years, the students new and old have developed a bond under his leadership which many students have shared as being empowering, encouraging, and a “bright spot” to their week.



    Gary Havir


    Community Programs

    Winner - Volunteer


    Gary’s longtime volunteer commitment to serving as a guest speaker in Driver Education classes has been ongoing for almost 20 years.

    He shares his time, knowledge, and experiences about all the aspects concerning auto insurance. Gary’s presentation is one of the most interesting to the students and adds so much value coming from an expert. He holds their attention the entire time and presents in a way that all students can understand. Gary also broadens his message beyond driver education to impact his audience as students in general and to consider future careers in the industry.

    Gary’s service goes beyond the classroom as well. Besides being known by students as the ‘insurance guy’ and being stopped in the halls for questions, Gary often visits our schools for insurance purposes with staff, is involved with other education related organizations, and checks in with students and teachers about their concerns and advocates for positive educational changes.

    Gary is a valuable and valued component of the Driver Education program.



    Tammy Twiggs


    Adult Basic Education

    Honorable Mention - Full-Time Staff Member


    Tammy is an experienced teacher with the Adult Basic Education program. Her diligence and genuine desire to help her students succeed has not gone unnoticed. Tammy often goes out of her way to assist her students with whatever they may be having trouble with, whether that takes the form of answering questions, having flexible class hours, or showing compassion. She is able to work and connect with students on an individual level, no matter what level they are at or where they are in their life journey, which gives them the motivation, encouragement, and drive to continue their learning. One student praised Tammy by saying, “She makes you feel like a person and not just a school number.”



    Nikol Gordon


    Community Programs

    Honorable Mention - Full-Time Staff Member


    Nikol’s positive energy and smiles radiate whether she is teaching in-person or online classes, writing to her Cahoots buddies, or working behind the scenes as a Program Assistant for the Youth Enrichment program. She has an incredible knack for making any activity or topic fun and memorable. She keeps her classes exciting and her students engaged in a number of ways, including costumes, music, games, and challenges and never seems to be short on ideas. Her uplifting spirit is contagious and welcomed and puts a smile on everyone’s face.



    Joy Laine


    Community Programs

    Honorable Mention - Part-Time Instructor

    Joy is a dedicated teacher who has been sharing her passion and deep knowledge of yoga and spreading its benefits throughout the community since the 1980s. In her long tenure with Community Education, she has helped thousands of individuals practice the asanas (poses) as well introduce the deep traditions and underlying philosophies of yoga which creates a rich physical, emotional, and spiritual experience.

    Her rigorous and varying class offerings provide opportunities for young and not so young, new and experienced alike. Joy’s classes are always evolving and innovative and are tailored to the participants. She is flexible and able to provide adaptations for any type of body or ability and even provides resources for students to continue their practice outside of class.

    Joy is a gifted teacher who welcomes and respects every student and their capabilities. Her genuine care for her students and their needs is obvious and inspiring and has participants coming back time after time, year after year.



    Paige Tighe


    Community Programs

    Honorable Mention -  Part-Time Instructor


    Paige is a visual artist who has been teaching a variety of different art classes with Community Programs for the past three years. She shares her skills and varied knowledge of medias and techniques in classes like abstract painting, watercolor painting, and still life sketching.

    Paige was quick to figure out how to adapt her classes to an online format. She collaborated with Community Programs and local art supply store, Wet Paint, to develop supply kits for her classes. This not only helped bring the art classes into the homes of her students but also supported a small business in our community.

    Paige incorporates her artistic passions with her own meditative philosophies to create classes like drawing to de-stress and meditation painting, that have been extremely valuable to her students during these tense times. Her kind and encouraging approach to teaching allows her students to learn and create in an environment that is non-judgmental and motivating, no matter their skill level. One of Paige’s student summed it up best, “She includes everyone in the class, answers questions, sees everyone’s work as important and creates a most giving and safe atmosphere for people to feel they can do something they might never have tried before.”