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

2020 WASA Honorary Awards

WASA Recognized Exemplary Educational Leaders at a Special Virtual Event on November 18, 2020

Statewide Awards

Golden Gavel Award

Elissa Dyson, School Board Chair, Onion Creek SD

D.A. Davidson Barbara Mertens Legacy Award

Dr. Gene Sementi, Superintendent, West Valley (Spokane) SD

WASA Leadership Award

Kim Fry, Superintendent, Rochester SD

Service to WASA Award

Melissa Gombosky, AESD Consultant

Retirement Award

Region 101                           Glenn Frizzell, Great Northern School District
Region 101                           Edwina Hargrave, Mary Walker School District
Region 101                           Doug Matson, West Valley School District (Spokane)
Region 101                           Marcus Morgan, Reardan-Edwall School District
Region 101                           Dr. Gene Sementi, West Valley School District (Spokane)
Region 101                           Ralph Thayer, Mead School District
Region 101                           Dr. William Wadlington, Columbia-Hunters School District
Region 101                           Vance Wing, Washtucna School District
Region 108                           Dr. Carl Bruner, Mount Vernon School District
Region 108                           Randy Elsbree, Blaine School District
Region 108                           Pam Estvold, NWESD 189
Region 108                           Janice Gaare, Oak Harbor Public Schools
Region 109                           Dr. Marci Larsen, Mukilteo School District
Region 109                           Dr. Kristine McDuffy, Edmonds School District
Region 110                           Nancy Meeks, Snoqualmie Valley School District
Region 110                           Laurie Taylor, Renton School District
Region 110                           Debra Tito, Renton School District
Region 111                           Michael Hagadone, White River School District
Region 111                           Dana Harris, Puyallup School District
Region 111                           Dr. Timothy Yeomans, Puyallup School District
Region 112                           Starla Manchester, Vancouver Public Schools
Region 112                           Layne Manning, Vancouver Public Schools
Region 112                           Vickianne Prendergast, Mount Pleasant School District
Region 113                           Mark Davalos, Centralia School District
Region 113                           John Gummel, Pioneer School District
Region 113                           Edward Rothlin, Chehalis School District
Region 114                           Dr. Mark Jacobson, Quileute Tribal School
Region 123                           David Bond, Kennewick School District
Region 123                           Douglas Johnson, Dayton School District
Region 123                           Dr. Richard Schulte, Richland School District
Region 123                           Ron Williamson, Kennewick School District
Region 171                           Larry Mayfield, Wenatchee School District
Region 171                           Dr. Erik Swanson, Omak School District

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