School district employees are 'apples' of board's eyes

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2003

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education honored six district employees Sept. 8 who have gone the extra mile in their work.

The board presented Golden Apple awards to Janet Clark, retired Ninilchik secretary; Bernie Clark, retired Ninilchik teacher; Debbie Tressler, Kalifornsky Beach Ele-mentary School secretary; Lori Olson, payroll supervisor; Lana King, payroll specialist; and Jimmy Love, payroll specialist.

Janet and Bernie Clark have been with the district since 1981, when they started working at Seward Middle-Senior High School. They both moved to Ninilchik School in 1990, where Bernie taught, coached and acted as athletic director while Janet served as school secretary. They both retired at the end of last school year.

"Bernie is a personal friend and outstanding teacher," board member Al Poindexter said Monday. "The students and staff are better off for having Bernie Clark as a teacher, co-worker and friend."

Paul Kubena, former principal at Ninilchik, said Janet Clark taught him what was expected of an administrator when he began his tenure at the school and served as a role model not only in the school but also the community.

"(Janet) held unusual credibility with the public. She was all things to all people," he said. "A visit with Janet inspired the belief that Ninilchik just naturally sprouted winners.

"Janet Clark was always there. She was the wheel that made the school go round," he said. "I don't think anyone could ask for a greater legacy."

Another secretary, Tressler, also received high praise.

Tressler has spent the last 12 years at Kalifornsky Beach Ele-mentary School and acted as the "front line of defense" for the school, said board member Sammy Crawford.

"She manages the school office with expertise and tact and always is pleasant and extremely professional," Crawford said. "Principal Sylvia Reynolds said Debbie has the strength and tenacity to keep order and the kindness and gentle heart to encourage."

Also honored Monday night were members of the district's payroll department.

As board President Joe Arness called Olson, King and Love forward, he explained that the district is the single largest employer on the peninsula, issuing 1,800 payroll checks each month. In addition, last year's contract negotiations resulted in nine-month retroactive pay increases for each of those employees.

"I'd like to introduce you to the payroll department," he said, pointing to the three individuals.

Olson has worked in the district's business office for 13 years and is a model employee, Arness said. She oversaw the retroactive pay increases, which were completed on time and accurately, he said.

"Her duties are extremely technical," he said. "Lori was the manager of the successful, extensive project."

King and Love also were instrumental in the project, Arness said.

King, who began her service with the district at Mountain View Elementary School then Kenai Middle School, had worked as a payroll specialist for less than a year when she was asked to help with the retroactive pay increases.

"She determined the process and credited retirement accounts," Arness said. He added that she also is responsible for making sure all employees receive their checks on time each month.

"Jimmy also has been a key player in the successful completion of this monumental task," Arness added.

Love has been with the district since 1996 and is responsible for monitoring employee leave time and answering their questions.

Arness noted Love's flexibility and positive attitude as assets to the district and said, "He goes above and beyond with employee questions."

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