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Distinguished educators 2017-2018 

May 2018 - Stacie McGraw


Stacie McGraw was awarded our May Distinguished Educator Award. 


Her nominator was David Gray, parent of a DHS student.


Here are some of the things Mr. Gray shared about Stacie McGraw:


  • She is a DHS graduate and her "local" roots provide her with special awareness for the needs and desires of the students she serves.

  • It is clear that this counselor of high school students truly relates to and forms bonds with her high school students.

  • She is always super-friendly, upbeat, and willing to help.

  • Her smile and energy are infectious, and she is always a real joy to be around.

  • She goes above and beyond to respond to questions and concerns, even on the week-end.

  • She is like a "second mom" to her students.

  • In speaking of his own student, "there is no other person who has come close to being so helpful and influential in my child's growth, development, and education.

  • He is thankful from the bottom of his heart for all she has done for his daughter. 

Please join me in congratulating Stacie!



March 2018 - Blair Cromwell

Yesterday Blair Cromwell, theater and drama teacher at Dallas High School, received the March 2018 Distinguished Educator Award. 


She was nominated by Jana Fogg, parent of a current student. 


Here are some of the things Jana shared about Blair:

  • She sees the potential in all her kids, even when they don't see it in themselves!

  • She gives them the gift of compassion and strength. 

  • Her shows are amazing and her theater kids are amazing!

  • She teaches in a loving way, it comes from her heart. 

Here are some things students shared about her:

  • In the last four years she has made a huge different in my life. I wouldn't be the same without her. 

  • She always makes sure I'm ok even with all the students she has.

  • She knows I'm having a bad day even before I know it.

  • She says and practices, "we never leave anyone behind no matter what."

  • She gets to know all of her students. 

  • She makes me feel at home. 

  • She gives us lots of confidence even when we are scared. 

  • She always comes to school with so much energy and a smile, making everyone feel alright.

Please join me in congratulating Blair!

February 2018 - Rachel Orbistondo

Mrs. Orbistondo, third grade teacher at Lyle, received the February 2018 Distinguished Educator Award. 


She was nominated by a former student and his mom, Zackery and Rita Nelson.


Here are some things Zachary Nelson wrote about Mrs. Orbistondo:

  • She makes learning fun.

  • She has us get our wiggles out by doing fun brain breaks.

  • If we give her our sports schedule she comes to them.

  • She wants us to be kind and respectful to others.

Here are some things Rita Nelson wrote about her:

  • She teaches with energy and passion.

  • Her enthusiasm for learning is contagious.

  • She is concerned not only for the academic growth of each child but also focuses on their social and behavioral growth.

  • She is connected to the hearts of her students. 

Here are some things students said about Mrs. Orbistondo:

  • She's kind.

  • She's nice.

  • She's fun.

  • She's awesome.

  • She's the best teacher I've ever had.

  • She is the nicest person in the whole world.

  • She's really funny.


Please join us in congratulating 


January 2018 - Julie Schneidecker

Ms. Schneidecker, teacher at Dallas High School, received the January 2018 Distinguished Educator Award. 


Her nominator was Jennie White, parent and co-worker. 


Here are some of the things Jennie shared about Ms. Schneidecker:

  • She looks beyond student behavior to what they need and helps them where they are.

  • Her door is always open, whether they need someone to talk to, food to eat, or a place to sleep.

  • She helps the students build and mend relationships with their teachers and peers. 

  • She treats all kids the same way and makes them feel respected. 

Here are some things Ms. Schneidecker's students shared about her:

  • She's always awesome. She always helps me with math. 

  • Leadership has a lot going on and she keeps us grounded.

  • She's pretty awesome.

  • When she started working with Leadership it changed for the better. She steps outside the box which makes us step outside the box.

  • She never loses her cool even with how stressful Leadership is.

Here are some things Ms. Schneidecker's colleagues shared about her:

  • She is a great role model for the kids and her co-workers.

  • She always gives time back to the school. 

  • She supports other special education teachers and meets them early in the morning. 

  • Who else could get boys to make quilts!

  • Before the school year started she would open her doors to the students early in the morning. 

Please join us in congratulating Julie!


October 2017 - Brian Hughes

Mr. Hughes has been selected as October's Distinguished Educator.  Mr. Hughes teaches math at LaCreole Middle School. 

Here are some of the things students said about him: 

  • He motivates us to do our best in math. 

  • Mr. Hughes makes learning fun with jokes and laughter.

  • I like how he always makes me happy when I am sad.

  • He motivates students to learn. 

  • He likes to make the classroom joyful. 

  • Inspires students to do their best. 

  • His beard is blue. 

  • And of course...."he helps me find my goat."

Please join us in congratulating Brian!

September 2017 - Candi Pedersen



Her nominator was Heidi Clegg, parent of a former 3rd grade student.


Here are some of the things Heidi shared about Mrs. Pedersen:


  • She takes each student under her wing and helps them achieve goals they themselves don't think they can.

  • She never gave up on my daughter who was having a very hard time reading and comprehending.

  • Mrs. Pedersen continued to encourage her students and taught that they could accomplish difficult things.

  • Because of Mrs. Pedersen, my daughter participated in Battle of the Books and placed second. She now loves to read!


Here are some of the things Mrs. Pedersen's colleagues shared about her:

  • She has such a heart and empathy for her students.

  • She is calm, cool, and collected.

  • She is great at building relationships with her students.

  • She is an amazing and collaborative team member.

  • She prepares her students for the real world.

  • She finds talent in every student.


Please join us in congratulating Candi!

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