Staff Awards – Staff Member of the Year, Anchor, Sunshine, Lifeguard

April 21, 2021

At P.K. Yonge, each year we recognize four staff members for important contributions they make to our school by awarding Staff Member of the Year, Sunshine, Anchor, and Lifeguard awards. This year it is hard to give just four awards. Our school community has been so fortunate to be served by such an incredibly dedicated staff. All of your areas of staff responsibility have been significantly impacted by the circumstances of the last year. Our school community is beyond grateful for all of our staff for their commitment to our school.


Staff Member of the Year is awarded to a staff member who consistently performs above expectations, is innovative in their approach to their work, demonstrates leadership and is collaborative with all stakeholders. This year, our Staff Member of the Year is Beth Kavanagh, our Cafeteria manager.

Beth Kavanagh works tirelessly to serve our student community. This year, her positivity, warmth, and “can do” attitude have remained consistent regardless of the challenges and the ever-changing meal needs she and her team have faced. She has made last-minute shifts, organized meals for off-campus families to pick up, handled meals without a kitchen in elementary, made grab and go bags, changed times for meals, and everything in between. Without fail, Beth’s problem-solving abilities and leadership sometimes even leave us feeling like there was never a problem to begin with. We know that the curves that are thrown often mean a lot of work and stress for Beth and her team. Without fail Beth makes us feel calm and always assures us that she and her team have everything in hand. Beth is the epitome of a team player and an incredible leader. We are so grateful for her strong, calming energy as we ride the waves that sailing the P.K. Yonge ship presents.


The Anchor Award is awarded to a staff member who is dependable and can always be counted on. Our Anchor Award this year is presented to Sandra Villanueva who staffs our Main Office.

Sandra Villanueva Anchor AwardSandra Villanueva stepped into the old Front Office space last school year and made it her own. She made a very challenging space SUPER functional. On “normal days” and in times of crisis she is a constant. Sandra played such a critical role in our time off campus last year, in our return this year, and in our move to our new space. Sandra’s dependability has been invaluable this year with the many shifts and changes and backing and forthing of families and students. Sandra can always be depended on to help, follow up, check in, and anything else you can imagine. We are so fortunate to have Sandra as the anchor in our Main Office.



The Sunshine Award is awarded to a staff member who is always spreading kindness and is recognized for having a positive attitude. This year, our Sunshine Award is presented to Tish Andrews-Hawkins, our cashier.

Tish Andrews-Hawkins Sunshine AwardTish Andrews-Hawkins positive energy is ever-present and all of us benefit from her upbeat attitude and laughter. As school cashier, Tish Andrews-Hawkins’ job sometimes can put her in contact with some pretty tough customers (but we hope that’s not us!). Her infectious laugh, kindness, and sense of fun shine through and can turn even the toughest conversations into positive interactions. For those of us on campus, Tish is a joy to encounter and we appreciate how her positivity impacts radiates throughout our community.




The Lifeguard Award is awarded to a staff member who consistently performs above and beyond expectations, is a team player, and is always willing to help. This year, our Lifeguard Award is presented to Julian Palechor, our custodial superintendent.

Julian Palechor Lifeguard AwardJulian Palechor is indispensable. He never stops and never fails to help or find solutions for issues that arise across campus. He thinks outside of his areas of responsibility to make sure that he and his team are playing their part in solving problems, even before they arise. Julian and his team have managed many moves on campus over the last couple of years and significant changes in cleaning protocols designed for the health and well being of our community. We moved into a new building in secondary, we opened school during a pandemic, our elementary school flooded…and the list goes on. Julian is ever present, always congenial and we are so grateful for how he, like a lifeguard, saves us from going under when the seas get rough.


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