WASA Honorary Awards

WASA annually honors and recognizes outstanding educational administrators and individuals in other professions who have made extraordinary contributions to K–12 education.

Based on the award type for which a person is nominated, the Committee will make the following considerations:

  • Could the nominee be considered a positive change agent in public education locally or at the state level?
  • Has the nominee positively affected one or more areas: Program development, staff morale, community support, student interest, learning environment, or general support for public education?
  • Has the nominee provided creative leadership in inspiring or motivating others to achieve or contribute to public education?
  • Has the nominee personally provided a special service or achieved above and beyond what is expected in the usual public school program?
  • Have others recognized the nominee as a force for constructive change in public education at the community and/or state level.


  • Golden Gavel Award. The recipient shall be an individual, group, association, or firm that has made an outstanding contribution to public education in the state of Washington. The contribution to education should have statewide application and be of lasting value. This award does not require current or past WASA membership. One recipient per year (award not necessarily given every year).
  • Barbara Mertens Legacy Award. Presented to an individual or group who has had a significant impact on public education in Washington—a legacy that has a lasting influence. The person or group does not have to be a member of WASA. The award comes with a $1,000 gift from D.A. Davidson & Company that is awarded to a school, foundation, or similar in the awardee's name and at his/her direction. One recipient per year (award not necessarily given every year). 
  • Service to WASA Award. The recipient shall have made contributions at the state level toward goals of WASA and shall not be a voting member of WASA. One recipient per year (award not necessarily given every year).
  • WASA Leadership Award. This award is presented to a selected WASA member who demonstrates and exemplifies outstanding leadership abilities and has made significant contributions to the field of education on a statewide level. Each region may nominate one individual from that region. The nominee must be a current member of WASA for a minimum of two years. One recipient per year.


  • WASA Student Achievement Leadership Award (one award per region). Recognizes innovative programs for the improvement of student achievement. This award is presented to select WASA members who have provided leadership for the implementation of an innovation that has resulted in measurable growth in student achievement. Ideally, the innovation can serve as a tool for modeling new programs. Each region shall nominate one individual. The nominee must be a current and active WASA member for a minimum of TWO years.
  • Award of Merit (one award per region). The recipient of this award shall have demonstrated effective leadership at the region level and have made a significant contribution to WASA through his/her work in the field of education in Washington. The nominee must be a current and active member of WASA for a minimum of THREE years.
  • Community Leadership Award. (WASA provides one plaque; additional plaques will be paid by region). This award is presented to community members or groups in recognition of their outstanding contributions toward education. Recipients are non-WASA members. Specific criteria includes: benefit to students, leadership, motivation, success, cooperation/coordination with local district, recognition by others, and history of service. One or more recipients per region, per year.
  • Twenty-Year Award (self-nomination). Recognizes individual’s years of service to education. This award shall be granted to any school administrator who has served as an administrator for 20 years in public school districts. The recipient must have been a member of WASA for TEN years.
  • Retirement Award (self-nomination). Honors service to the profession. The recipient must be retiring from his/her administrative responsibilities and no longer eligible for active WASA membership. The recipient must be a current member of WASA.

Awards History

2017 WASA Honorary Awards

WASA Recognizes Exemplary Educational Leaders at the 2017 WASA Summer Conference

Statewide Awards

Golden Gavel Award

Washington State Senator Andy Billig

Barbara Mertens Legacy Award

Dr. Gay Selby

WASA Leadership Award

Dr. Rich McBride
Superintendent, North Central ESD 171

Service to WASA Award

Merle Kirkley

2017 Region Awards

Award of Merit
Region 101                          Gene Sementi, West Valley, Spokane
Region 105                          Mike Brophy, West Valley, Yakima
Region 108                          Charles Burleigh, Mount Baker
Region 109                          Mike Johnson, Arlington
Region 110                          Janene Fogard, Lake Washington
Region 111                          Michelle Ledbetter, Bethel
Region 112                          John Deeder, Evergreen
Region 113                          Paula Akerlund, Ocosta
Region 171                          Rich McBride, ESD 171

WASA Student Achievement Leadership Award

Region 101                          Shelley Redinger, Spokane
Region 105                          Linda Martin, Thorp
Region 108                          Laurel Browning, Burlington-Edison
Region 109                          Kristine McDuffy, Edmonds
Region 112                          Mark Hottowe, Battle Ground
Region 113                          Judy Holliday, Aberdeen
Region 171                          John Boyd, Quincy

Twenty-Year Award
Region 105                          Kurt Hilyard, Union Gap
Region 110                          Mike Nelson, Enumclaw
Region 110                          Chris Beals, Enumclaw
Region 110                          Janene Fogard, Lake Washington
Region 113                          John Dekker, WASA
Region 113                          Steve Holland, Raymond
Region 113                          Rick Jones, Napavine
Region 113                          Tom Opstad, Aberdeen
Region 114                          Patty Page, North Kitsap

Retirement Award
Region 101                           Steve Gaub, Wilber
Region 108                           Barbara Hawkings, Concrete
Region 110                           Terry Parker, Enumclaw
Region 110                           Janene Fogard, Lake Washington
Region 112                           John Deeder, Evergreen
Region 112                           Mark Hottowe, Battle Ground
Region 112                           Sally Godwin, Skamania
Region 113                           Paula Akerlund, Ocosta
Region 113                           Dick Cvitanich, Olympia
Region 113                           Judy Holliday, Aberdeen
Region 113                           Rick Jones, Napavine
Region 113                           Tom Opstad, Aberdeen
Region 113                           Mike Parker, Hoquiam
Region 114                           Patty Page, North Kitsap        
Region 123                           Carol Clarke, Waitsburg
Region 123                            Glenda Cloud, Pasco
Region 123                            JoAnn Henderson, ESD 123
Region 171                            Rich McBride, ESD 171

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