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).
  • D.A. Davidson 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.

The STATE Award process will be open from February 23 through May 4, 2022.


  • 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.
  • WASA Student Leadership Award. (WASA provides one plaque; additional plaques will be paid by region or district.) This award recognizes student leaders who have created or played a significant leadership role in initiatives or programs that promote inclusivity, access, equity, or social justice in their school and community. Consideration for recognition is based on criteria that includes demonstrating leadership and serving as a role model participating in and organizing events that promote respect for diversity, equity, and individual differences; through collaboration and community engagement demonstrates the ability to inspire, motivate, and impact the growth and development of others; exemplifies integrity in all words and actions and maintains a positive image and presence with the school and greater community; evokes hope and demonstrates initiative by seeking ways to enrich the future; and displays a strong work ethic inside and outside the classroom. 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.

Contact the region president  or Honorary Awards committee chair for deadlines in your region.

Questions may be directed to Shari Parsons.

Awards History

2021 WASA Honorary Awards Recipients

WASA Recognized Exemplary Educational Leaders at the a virtual event held on June 23, 2021.

Statewide Awards

Golden Gavel Award

Superintendent Chris Reykdal and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

D.A. Davidson Barbara Mertens Legacy Award

Dr. Mike Starosky, Executive Director PK-12, Seattle PS

WASA Leadership Award

Tim Merlino, Superintendent ESD 112

Service to WASA Award

Dr. Sam Artzis, Health Officer, NE Tri County HD

Retirement Award

Region 101                           Mark Anderson, Spokane School District
Region 101                           Jill Christiansen, Deer Park School District
Region 101                           Ramona Griffin, NEWESD 101 
Region 101                           Pete Lewis, Colville School District
Region 101                           Richard, Linehan, Rosalia School District
Region 101                           Kelly Shea, East Valley, Spokane School District
Region 101                           Greg Swartz, Deer Park School District
Region 105                           Mike Nollan, Kittitas School District
Region 105                           John Schieche, East Valley, Yakima School District
Region 108                           Phil Brockman, Sedro-Woolley School District
Region 108                           Mark Johnson, Nooksack Valley School District
Region 108                           Linda Quinn, Ferndale School District
Region 108                           Leilani Thomas, Concrete School District
Region 109                           Jamie Boyd, Snohomish School District
Region 109                           Amy Beth Cook, Lake Stevens School District
Region 109                           Bruce Hobert, Mukilteo School District
Region 109                           Debra Kovacs, Everett School District
Region 109                           Lloy Schaaf, Stanwood-Camano School District
Region 109                           Jean Shumate, Stanwood-Camano School District
Region 110                           Jodi Bongard, Issaquah School District
Region 110                           Debra Hawkins, Issaquah School District
Region 110                           Lewis Keliher, Auburn School District
Region 110                           Robert Manahan, Snoqualmie Valley School District
Region 110                           Sally McLean, Federal Way School District
Region 110                           Pamela Smith, Auburn School District
Region 110                           Gary Van Hee, Auburn School District
Region 110                           Amy Vujovich, Federal Way School District
Region 111                           Ailene Baxter, Puyallup School District
Region 111                           Nancy Fitta, Fife School District
Region 111                           Corinne Pennington, Puyallup School District
Region 111                           Carolyn Treleven, Franklin Pierce School District
Region 112                           Loy Dale, ESD 112
Region 112                           Debra Hale, Vancouver School District
Region 112                           Dave Holmes, La Center School District
Region 112                           Jerry Lewis, White Salmon School District
Region 112                           Mark Ross, Battle Ground School District
Region 112                           Hilary Snitker, Vancouver School District
Region 112                           Tyson Vogeler, Green Mountain School District
Region 112                           Steven Webb, Vancouver School District
Region 113                           Kevin Acuff, Elma School District
Region 113                           Alex Apostle, Shelton School District
Region 113                           John Bash, Tenino School District
Region 113                           Joseph Belmonte, Tenino School District
Region 113                           Jim Forrest, Adna School District
Region 113                           Marsha Hendrick, Satsop School District
Region 113                           Stephen Holland, Raymond School District
Region 113                           Glenn Malone, Mossyrock School District
Region 114                           Anita Chandler. South Kitsap School District
Region 114                           Linda Sullivan-Dudzie, Bremerton School District
Region 171                           David Balcom, Moses Lake School District
Region 171                           Diane Hull, Bridgeport School District
Region 171                           Dave LaBounty, Warden School District

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