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Board Accolades

Geoff Gardner Geoff Gardner, Wood River Middle School Science Teacher, WRMS Staff and Students

Today was one heck of an experience for me participating in the Educator for a Day program (BCSD) organized and allowed me to take part in.

Thank you for opening the Middle School to me and thank you to the staff there who so willingly answered my questions and showed me their classrooms.  Everyone from the principal, administrative staff I met, and the main office staff have wonderful people skills.  I was pleased to participate in a Mindfulness session at the beginning of the day with other staff members. I was delighted to have the chance to go to check out the cafeteria/staff because that is one of the favorite spots in a school and the staff who work there are remembered by students forever.  I was delighted to spend time in the library with Susan and Laura...we had a great discussion about book censorship in public schools.  

 And most of all, I am so impressed with the students and their respect for their fellow students and the school itself.  It's the teachers like you, Geoff (and Jill your next door classroom teacher) that deserve a great big thank you from me and all the other folks living in Blaine County.  As of today, only 1/3 rd of the school year has been completed and it is clear that everything from respect and listening skills have been successfully worked on along with academics.  Your energy level amazes me. And, now I know what a water shed is.

Submitted by:  Susan Blair


Botz Amy Botz, Wood River Middle School Academic Advisory Teacher

Mrs. Botz is an Academic Advisory teacher at Wood River Middle School.  During the first week of school our daughter came home and said, "Mom, I love Mrs. Botz. She is firm but kind at the same time and that is just what I need."

Mrs. Botz helps her students succeed in all of their classes, staying in touch with the teachers and supporting students in meeting their academic goals.  She provides regular reports and celebrations of student accomplishments.  She creates a sense of community and belonging in her class.  Our daughter is thriving in this environment.

Recently we ran into Mrs. Botz during a Saturday morning soccer game.  Our daughter happened to mention that she was having trouble with a math problem.  Mrs. Botz sat down and proceeded to work with her, not only helping with her math problem but also showing her that she cared about her studies regardless of whether she was "on duty" or "off duty."

We know that Mrs. Botz is the kind of person who does this for all of her students and we are grateful to have teachers like Mrs. Botz at Wood River Middle School. She is one of the many outstanding and dedicated teachers at WRMS.

Submitted by: Heather Crocker and Brian Camilli


Group Photo

Sun Valley Center for the Arts Educator Advisory Committee: James Foster, Amy McGraw, Susan Tabor Boesch, Stephen Poklemba, Christine Leslie, Erika Liebel, Julie Berry, Bob Dix, Nancy Ruiz Meza, Joni Cashman, Brad Stansberry, Shawn Schumacher, Kate O’Brien, Jennifer Mecham, and Michael Breen

 I would like to recognize these individuals who serve on our Educators Advisory Committee. Sun Valley Center for the Arts cherishes our partnership with BCSD and an important part of that partnership is working with this committee of dedicated educators who help us shape the K-12 programming that is offered to students in our community. These individuals are advocates for The Center in their school communities. The Educator Advisory Committee and The Center work together to lead our community in understanding the necessity of arts education.

Submitted by: Katelyn Foley


Tracy Green Tracy Green, Head Custodian and Custodial Staff at Carey Schools

Tracy Green and her staff have taken the custodial services at Carey School to an entirely new level!!  They are busy and on the job immediately following an event, during an event, and at the school days’ end.  The custodial closets and offices are cleaner than ever! The locker rooms are clean and left smelling fresh every day.  This is a valid nomination- trust me.

Submitted by: Lane Kirkland

A Note from Tracy Green: Wow!!! So exciting to see our hard work being noticed! The staff here has been great as we have made changes in the custodial staff. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend.  I also do the score book for the Carey Girls basketball Team.  I will be here at Carey at a game doing books and watching my daughter play.  Doug and Bob will be working during the board meeting hours and making sure the building runs smoothly during the game.  Cheryl has other commitments and will also be unable to attend.  

Make sure the Board, Carey Staff, Superintendent Holmes and others in attendance know we are very appreciative of this honor and recognition of our dedication to our jobs at Carey Schools and Blaine County School District. 

Thanks so much!


Mora Samantha Archibald Mora, Wood River Middle School Spanish Teacher

I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed your classes yesterday. Your students’ questions were insightful and, frankly, challenging!  I was never more aware of my limited Spanish than I was sitting in front of your students so I want to commend them on their English and Spanish skills. Recently, I was at a cultural competency conference and the facilitator, Sam Byrd, said that speaking two languages was a skill set that deserved extra financial compensation from employers and that because we are becoming a more global community, speaking more than one language will go a long way to securing future employment.   Your students are well on their way!  Thank you so much for the highlight of my week.

Submitted by: Darrel Harris




Sewel Michel Sewell, Wood River High School GATE Teacher and Alvaro Jiraldo, Kim Aranda, Beck Vontver, and Emily Stone

On the day after the election, the staff and students at Hemingway Elementary came in feeling a little unsure about how to approach our day. Some students voiced concerns about their future and the safety of their families. Whether or not their fears were real was not the concern of our staff. Our concern was to ensure that at school, students felt safe. Needless-to-say, by the end of the day, many of the teachers on our staff were feeling quite exhausted from the burden of trying to find the right thing to say all day long.

Conferences were happening the next day, but we had a staff meeting and the topic was “Growth Mindset.” Michel Sewell had been asked to share with our staff. She brought four former Hemingway students to talk about how the growth mindset is an integral part of the GRIT and GATE program at the high school. Let me just tell you that within minutes, most of our teachers had tears of pride and joy flowing from our eyes.

Michel and her students shared stories of trials and triumphs. They talked about struggles in their pasts and discussed their hopes for the future. They emphasized that even with the current election, they saw an opportunity to focus on the growth mindset as an individual and the belief in our country. One student said that growth mindset is her backbone on which she holds all of her beliefs and strengths.

The presentation was supposed to teach us about Growth Mindset. It taught us so much more. We were able to see the seeds we planted, enriched by love and strong teaching, grow into trees that are ready to blossom. We are so proud. We left our meeting with moist eyes and a new determination to stay positive, reach out to every student, and to believe that when we plant a seed it will grow into an amazing human being that will give back to our society. Thank you Michel and our former students Alvaro, Kim, Beck, and Emily. We are so proud to have taught you!

Submitted by: Dorothy Madsen


Flavin Kerstin Flavin, Hemingway Elementary Kindergarten Teacher

I am writing this accolade for a very special kindergarten teacher, who has an amazing gift and uses it well. This teacher is Kerstin Flavin. Mrs. Flavin is an outstanding teacher to all of her students, but I want to comment on the students who have more difficulty adjusting to kindergarten. Mrs. Flavin has a student this year who was having some issues learning, working with others and learning the school routine. Kerstin and her student teacher, Cookie Benson, thought about the child’s issues, came up with a plan to help, and went to work. The change I have seen in this kindergartener is massive. I have observed a sad child transform into a smiling and happy child.  This student is demonstrating hard work, has adapted to school routines, and is fitting in well.  It is so exciting to see a student reach their full potential!  This all happened because Mrs. Flavin took the time and effort to fully invest in this student. Mrs. Flavin has a knack for helping struggling students each year.  Her efforts turn these students’ lives around in kindergarten and set a foundation for the rest of their school career. We are very, very fortunate to have Mrs. Flavin as a kindergarten teacher at Hemingway.

Submitted by: Scott Slonim


Telford Angie Telford, Hailey Elementary Paraprofessional

Angie Telford recently spent a Saturday judging district Drama in Twin Falls, Idaho and chaperoned the WRHS Drama team in Coeur D' Alane, Idaho for the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) sanctioned state drama competition.

This was a 5 day commitment, leaving on Thursday and returning on a Monday. Not only did Angie drive one of the mini-buses, loaded with props, costumes and students,  she acted as a chaperone during the trip and judged competition while she was at the tournament.

She did this to support the team and her daughter, Taylor, who is in the drama department and spent 3 hard days away from her one to one students at Hailey Elementary, where she serves as a parapro in the BASE program.

The drama department wants to thank Angie for her time and her sacrifice away from her own students and job to help make a memorable and educational experience possible.

Submitted by: Karl Nordstrom