Kent School District announces employee of the year winners

Eleven staff members recognized

From left to right: Top row – Patricia Stallard. Lyndy Baron, Erica Wolfskill, Emily Collado; Middle row - Zhanna Cheban, Guy Byers, Judy Franklin, Bonita Webb; Bottom row - Laura Haffner, Alyssa Tabolsky, Arlene George. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

From left to right: Top row – Patricia Stallard. Lyndy Baron, Erica Wolfskill, Emily Collado; Middle row - Zhanna Cheban, Guy Byers, Judy Franklin, Bonita Webb; Bottom row - Laura Haffner, Alyssa Tabolsky, Arlene George. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Every year, the Kent School District celebrates and honors 11 employees for their dedication to teaching, serving, and supporting students and families.

The district announced May 28 the 10 employee of the year honorees and one teacher of the year who demonstrate impeccable qualities every day to earn this year’s award.

District staff members submitted their this spring to honor individuals from each employee labor group. From the nominees, a committee was responsible for selecting individuals to receive an employee of the year award.

The Kent School District Board of Directors plan to honor these individuals during the June 9 school board meeting:

• Guy Byers, Meridian Elementary School head custodian

Byers works hard to ensure Meridian students and his fellow colleagues have a clean and safe environment in which to both learn and teach. When school buildings were closed, he kept working on deep cleaning and projects that he did not have time for when buildings were open.

• Lyndy Baron, Health Services assistant director

Baron has stepped up during this pandemic to help our staff and students remain safe and well. She said “this has been a team approach over this last year and I could not have done it without the help of my team.”

• Zhanna Cheban, Nutrition Services assistant lead packaging line

Cheban has been with KSD for 15 years and the last two working as a packaging leader in Central Kitchen. Due to the pandemic, she has been distributing meal boxes at school distribution sites. She is both grateful and proud to receive this award and credits her team for the work done during this pandemic.

• Emily Collado, Student and Family Support Services executive assistant

Collado has been the backbone in her community at the administration center. She enjoys supporting parents in understanding the educational system so they can advocate for their children to get the most out of their education.

• Judy Franklin, Kent Academy administrative assistant

Franklin greets each student by name every morning and encourages students to keep trying even when it is tough. For the past 24 years, she has loved her job and watching students continue to grow into the kind and amazing people they were meant to be.

• Arlene George, bus driver

George enjoys seeing her students and has missed them due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been with the district for 31 years and appreciates her fellow bus drivers and Transportation team for this recognition.

• Laura Haffner, The Outreach Program (TOP) paraeducator

Haffner said, “I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this recognition.” She enjoys working with students at jobsites and watching them progress throughout their time at TOP.

• Patricia Stallard, Cedar Valley Elementary School principal

Stallard loves the challenge of influencing school culture and inspiring a growth mindset with staff and students. She said, “The most rewarding part of being the principal at Cedar Valley Elementary is being present for the moments when scholars and staff recognize their own success.”

• Alyssa Tabolsky, Ridgewood Elementary School counselor

Tabolsky loves working with all students and teaching social emotional skills that develop problem-solving and collaboration skills. She finds joy in seeing progress in each student as they navigate their educational journey.

• Bonita Webb, Meridian Middle School teacher

Webb’s commitment to building connections with each and every student to enhance academic growth is truly one of a kind. Webb said, “finding connections with even the most introverted student helps foster academic growth. I make sure they know I believe in them, that we can do it together, and then they can do it on their own.”

• Erica Wolfskill, Kent-Meridian High School cheer coach

Wolfskill’s favorite part of coaching is when student-athletes find that moment of success and pride in their accomplishment, whether it is big or small, in the classroom or in cheerleading. She said, “coaching is one of the greatest jobs in the world and I would not trade it for anything.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Rep. Mia Gregerson. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services
Gregerson state bill aims to improve immigration support

Designed to better address needs of refugees, immigrants arriving in Washington state

Federal Way man faces charges for shooting, injuring trooper in Kent

Trooper reportedly shot nine times Feb. 16 after a struggle following foot pursuit

Courtesy image, U.S. Department of Justice
Kent man pleads guilty to selling guns to those with criminal histories

Sold more than 100 firearms to those barred from possessing guns

Man dies after shooting in Kent on King County Metro bus

Altercation between two men led to shooting Friday afternoon, Feb. 16

File photo
Puget Sound Energy files two-year rate plan for electric, natural gas

Driven by the state’s clean energy laws, the plan has been filed to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Washington Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program advocacy group at the State Capitol for HB 1916. (Photo Courtesy of Kindering)
‘When services decline, it’s the kids who pay the price’

Legislative bill would recover funding for the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program - and could save the state millions.

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office
Kent man, woman charged in carjackings, stolen vehicles case

Tracking by King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter lasted nearly 50 minutes Feb. 13 across Kent

Donald Cook. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Cook accuses fellow Kent School Board members of improper actions

Claims they made decisions during private executive sessions that should be made in public

Port Townsend man injured in I-5 hit-and-run crash near Kent

Early Thursday morning, Feb. 15 near South 200th Street; driver flees on foot

Kent Police Blotter: Jan. 30 to Feb. 10

Incidents include 11 shootings: two at city parks, two at apartments, one at WinCo

Vine Maple Place receives $200,000 grant from KeyBank

Group has centers in Kent and Maple Valley to help families who are homeless

File Photo
DOJ settles with King County Sheriff’s Office in agreement to improve language access

OLEO has previously expressed concerns about the office’s language access policies.