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KPBSD Golden Apple Award Recognition

 KPBSD Golden Apple Award Recognition
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Mr. Eric Soderquist and Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson for their dedication to the students, parents, and staff in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

Golden Apple Awards
The Board of Education bestows Golden Apple Awards to school district employees, volunteers, and community organizations that go to extra lengths to support and advance education. Recipients are honored at a school board meeting with a proclamation and an engraved apple award. District employees, parents, school board members, volunteers, and community members are eligible to make nominations for the award.

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Golden Apple Award | August 5, 2013
Eric Soderquist
Programmer and Analyst

Eric Soderquist has been employed in the Information Services department for twelve years. And that doesn’t count the time as a kid when he was managing the Tustumena’s school network while his mother was a teacher there, or his years working for us after school while a Soldotna High School student.

After winning the Caring for the Kenai contest his senior year and graduating high school, Eric, like many other bright young people full of promise, took off for college. After one semester and with straight A grades, he returned home unchallenged by college. Fortunate for the people of the Kenai Peninsula, Eric found a challenging environment in which he could thrive—KPBSD’s Information Services department.

Eric is the technical architect and designer of much of what we have accomplished with technology infrastructure. He often charts our course in the technical arena. He is the filter through which all strategic technology must pass. Ours is a complex computing environment with many individual pieces fitting together like a puzzle; Eric is the person who makes sure all the pieces fit and will work together. When one piece is upgraded it may require other pieces to be upgraded. Or perhaps some pieces may not work in conjunction with the upgraded piece. Eric is masterful in this type of change management, keeping everything running smoothly and continually bringing new functionality to students and staff.

Eric has an incredible breadth and depth of knowledge, which seems to have no bounds. His thirst for knowledge is unequaled. He seems driven to find the answer–to solve the problem. A thorough researcher and trustworthy advisor, Eric can be relied upon to deliver the systems we need–even when we may not understand we need them! He has guided the KPBSD to Storage Area Networks, virtualized servers, district-wide wireless, upgraded server capabilities, always increasing our efficiency or reducing our costs.

A capable programmer in his own right, Eric has written most of the programs that automate our processes eliminating untold labor costs—certainly saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in Information Services staffing costs alone. Many districts may have one computer person per school, oftentimes a teacher, to deal with technology issues. We have four field techs supporting over 7,000 computers district-wide. No one can do that with the small staff we have. That is largely due to Eric’s insightful design, creative problem solving, and technical understanding of what can be possible.

Jim White, the director of information services claims, “No single person has had a greater impact on the day-to-day learning environment for students or staff than Eric Soderquist. The Technology Plan of 1999 promised a better computing environment than the district had known, but it was really Eric that delivered on the promise of the Tech Plan. It was Eric’s vision, Eric’s sweat and labor, Eric’s time and dedication that transitioned the district to a reliable, standardized computing environment where teachers could largely rely on their technology working every day. Eric designed and assembled the underlying foundation that makes technology work here and keeps it working.”

Eric’s most recent accomplishment is orchestrating the migration to Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. A truly remarkable feat, in many ways revising or revamping work done in the twelve years we’ve been totally PC-based. Anyone who has used a computer here, saved a file, or checked email on their smart phone has been influenced and touched by Eric’s work. Everyone’s work has been made easier because of his efforts.

“Eric is the smartest guy in the room. He’s the smartest guy in every room. We’re just glad he’s working in one of our rooms. And his best work is likely still ahead of him,” said White.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Mr. Eric Soderquist for his dedication to the computer users of the school district, past, present, and future.

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Golden Apple Award | August 5, 2013
Elizabeth Wilson
Community Member

If attitude makes the difference between getting tasks done and making it fun, Elizabeth Wilson is the essence of great attitude. She inspires everyone around her with dedication and caring. The Volunteer Coordinator for Central Peninsula Hospital, she is well known throughout the hospital for her compassion and energy. She is always courteous and helpful to others, and highly respected and appreciated by volunteers and the staff of Central Peninsula Hospital, Serenity House, and Heritage Place. As Director of Volunteer Services, she is responsible for 250 volunteers from the age of fourteen to eighty-eight years of age.

In 2006, Fran Stetson, a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teacher, met with Elizabeth and explained her need for high school aged students to volunteer and learn vocational job skills within a hospital setting. Without a second thought, Elizabeth agreed to help. Together they worked to find placements with Central Peninsula Hospital and Heritage Place that fit the needs and levels of the students. Elizabeth created a CPH orientation at the student’s level of understanding, and held high expectations for each individual student. Her trainings created success for the students and the departments where they volunteered. Elizabeth Wilson is a “natural born teacher” and placed students in different departments matching their interests with job skills. The partnership with CPH Volunteer Services and KPBSD students lasted for six years. Over those years, Elizabeth gave encouragement and challenges to students, and applauded them for their success.

In 2012, Fran Stetson changed teaching assignments and became an instructor in the new Project SEARCH program, located at Central Peninsula Hospital. Project SEARCH is a collaborative partnership with KPBSD, CPH, Frontier Community Services, the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Project SEARCH Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  CPH is a growing hospital, and space was hard to come by. Elizabeth demonstrated her care for students enrolled in the program, and she and her volunteers took it upon themselves to create a shelf in their office so that the KPBSD Project SEARCH interns had a safe place to keep their personal items. She offered her office space when they did not have a place to work; and provided guidance and solutions to develop the program in the different departments.

Elizabeth’s involvement in the hospital, community, and schools are a testimony to her sense of compassion. She shows great concern for the welfare of students and is actively involved in finding solutions to the difficult challenges they may face. Elizabeth Wilson has consistently promoted leadership and citizenship for the students of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Ms. Elizabeth Wilson for her dedication to the students, parents, and staff in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Golden Apple Awards
The Board of Education bestows Golden Apple Awards to school district employees, volunteers, and community organizations that go to extra lengths to support and advance education. Recipients are honored at a school board meeting with a proclamation and an engraved apple award. District employees, parents, school board members, volunteers, and community members are eligible to make nominations for the award. Complete a nomination form, write a letter of nomination explaining why you believe the nominee is deserving of special recognition. Click for additional information.

Links
Golden Apple nomination form
Student nomination form
Past Golden Apple Award Recipients

 

 


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