2021 Impact Award Winners

As this school year comes to an end, ESS has selected and awarded winners for our 7th Annual Impact Awards! The Impact Award was created in 2014 to recognize employees based on frequency of work, feedback from our partner school district(s), and a commitment to exceed the expectations of their role.

This year, we honored seven individuals who make an impact on the schools they serve every day. With a positive attitude, they perpetually perform above and beyond their assigned duties. The 2021 honorees were each recognized at their school districts, where they received a $500 cash prize, an additional $500 to donate to their school of choice, and a crystal apple trophy.

Without further adieu, here are this years winners (in no particular order):

Susan Fowler
Vassar Public Schools, MI

Susan Fowler has been substituting with ESS since 2007. In the one-year eligibility period, she has worked 144 assignments at various schools within Vassar Public Schools in Michigan and chose to award the $500 check to Vassar Senior High School. We received the following warm words from Vassar Public Schools Secretary Andrea Legue:

“Mrs. Fowler has been subbing in our building for 16 years after retiring from 30+ years of teaching at a neighboring school district! Susan was a regular sub for many years in our school. Approximately five years ago, she started with us as a ‘floating sub’, working five days a week and available to sub where ever needed.

I oversee the subs each day and Mrs. Fowler has been amazing to work with! No matter where I place her, she gladly accepts and handles each assignment given to her with ease. The teachers are always happy with her coverage and many times will request that she covers for them during their absences, especially if they are going to be out of the classroom for consecutive days. Our students are used to seeing her face every day and know her expectations – when she is placed in a classroom, it is business as usual.

Susan is also asked to help wherever needed when she isn’t given a classroom to cover. She has helped with testing in our media center, cleaning areas like our life skills lab or lounges, helping the secretaries with mailings, and much, much more! I can’t even begin to tell you how dependable and efficient Mrs. Fowler is. She has more energy than many younger than her! She is a treasure to our school district!”

Pictured: ESS Regional Manager Jessica Johnson, Impact Award Winner Susan Fowler, ESS Regional Manager Terri Schrauben, and ESS Client Engagement Manager Laurie Crane.

Kelly Dumbauld
Brookfield Public Schools, CT

Kelly Dumbauld has covered 176 absences since joining ESS in August 2020. She primarily serves at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School, part of Brookfield Public Schools in Connecticut, and chose to honor the school with the $500 donation check.

Huckleberry Hill Principal Melissa Labrosciano said: “I am excited to nominate Kelly Dumbauld for this opportunity. We are lucky to have her at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School, where she has been a long-term building substitute since the start of the 2020-2021 school year. She has gone above and beyond this school year to support the students in her class. She is a gem and a gift to our school!

Kelly took over a classroom during a time of uncertainty for many due to the illness of the classroom teacher. She provided hope and consistency to her students even when the classroom teacher passed away. Kelly has been teaching in this classroom since the third week of September and has been with us throughout in-person and remote instruction.

She attends weekly PLC meetings with her fourth-grade team. Some of the discussions Kelly has taken part in include (but are not limited to) curriculum and planning, student data and next steps, calibration training for assessments, and small group instruction while remote. She assesses data, creates SRBI plans, and attends all SRBI meetings to discuss student growth and performance to determine student goals and needs every six to eight weeks. Not to mention, Kelly takes part in all faculty meetings and district initiatives.”

Furthermore, one of the student’s parents in Kelly’s class said: “We have had opportunities to hear Mrs. Dumbauld’s lessons, and she is very respectful and effective in the way she interacts with her students. Her passion for teaching and love for her students is very apparent. We know she gives up quite a bit of her own time to ensure that students understand their assignments and provide extra help.

In addition, she has a wonderful way of explaining challenging mathematical concepts. I have to say that our daughter is very passionate about school and learning. In September when she was faced with so many unknowns with regards to hybrid/remote/in-person learning, including the uncertainty with whom her teacher would be, Mrs. Dumbauld brought stability. Her clear communication style and upbeat approach rekindled that passion in our daughter. We truly appreciate Mrs. Dumbauld’s willingness to be in the classroom in person, as it is so important for children’s overall well-being during this challenging time of many uncertainties and disappointments.”

Pictured: Huckleberry Hill School Principal Melissa Labrosciano, ESS Regional Manager Beth Salaris, ESS District Manager Dan Diamond, and Impact Award Winner Kelly Dumbauld.

Melinda Thomas
Centennial School District 28J, OR

Melinda Thomas has filled over 500 absences since joining ESS in April 2017. She primarily serves at Oliver Elementary School within Centennial School District 28J in Oregon. She decided to honor the school by selecting them to receive the $500 donation check.

Oliver Elementary School Lead Secretary Jill Moss said, “Melinda is our go-to substitute! She has covered three different long-term positions this year alone in our building. She is willing to take on any task we ask of her and always has a positive attitude. In her first job this year, the tech access was missing while we were doing Comprehensive Distance Learning. She couldn’t get on to any of the platforms to post homework, grade homework, or check emails! But she just rolled with it. She reached out to team members and other staff and made it work until the problem was fixed.

Just before her first position ended, another long-term sub was unable to continue with her position. Melinda stepped in to cover that position without a blink! She has done subbing in our building for so long that all the kids know who she is and are happy to see her. She is an amazing sub and an amazing person. She fully deserves this award!”

In response to receiving a 2021 Impact Award, Melinda said, “I am truly appreciative and humbled that my colleagues took time out of their incredibly busy schedules to write on my behalf. I am grateful to ESS for acknowledging the work we do. Thank you so much for this honor. I couldn’t do what I do without the amazing support of my family, the Oliver staff, and the remarkable students who welcome me into their classrooms.”

Pictured: Oliver Elementary School Principal Jeb Hubbs, ESS VP of Operations Dan Hall, Impact Award Winner Melinda Thomas, ESS Regional Manager Melissa Merritt, and Centennial School District 28J Assistant Superintendent James Owens.

Dora Maynard
Leander Independent School District, TX

Dora Maynard has worked nearly 100 assignments since joining ESS in December 2020. She donated the $500 award check to Block House Creek Elementary School, part of Leander ISD in Texas. Among several nominations, Block House Creek Nurse Meredith Aldins said:

“Dora, or ‘Coach DJ’ as the kids and staff call her, is such a pleasure to have as a substitute at our school. She is here so often, it’s hard to think of her as a substitute and not part of our permanent staff. She has been so helpful, especially during this time of COVID-19, when teachers are having to be quarantined often. We know that we can count on her to pitch in wherever she is needed.

She has a way with children that is difficult to explain. They seem drawn to her, and she seems to set them at ease. Especially our students with behavioral issues, she has a very calming effect on them, and they seem to have immense respect for her. Teachers also love having her here, and ask for her specifically if they need to be out of the classroom for some reason. They also ask for her help when our IA’s are short-staffed and they need help with a behavioral issue in the classroom. We love her and don’t know how we would have gotten through this school year without her. She definitely deserves this Impact Award.”

Pictured: ESS Account Manager Maggie Ortego, ESS VP of Operations Jenna Cruz, Impact Award Winner Dora Maynard, and ESS Executive VP of Operations Thomas Gifford.

Suzanne Barber
Clover School District, SC

Suzanne Barber has covered 150 absences at Clover School District in South Carolina since joining ESS in December 2019. Most frequently, she works at Oakridge Elementary School, where she donated the $500 award check. Special Education Assistant Teacher Kimberly Taylor reached out to share words of praise for Suzanne:

“Suzanne is amazing! She is all in no matter what job she is subbing for. I’ve seen her sub one day in special education and the next day she’s subbing in general education. She always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude. She isn’t afraid of a challenge and has been moved to different positions within our school last minute when she was needed most. She never complains and loves our kids!

One day, we had a situation arise in the bus line during dismissal, and I needed an extra set of hands. Suzanne was subbing in special education that day and was coming back from putting her kids on the bus when she saw the situation. She immediately said, ‘What can I do to help?’ Her positive attitude and willingness to do anything and go above and beyond what is asked of her is a breath of fresh air. The love that she has for our kids, staff, and school is just icing on the cake. We need more Mrs. Barber’s in the world!”

Pictured: ESS Account Manager Jessica Davis, Impact Award Winner Suzanne Barber, and Oakridge Elementary School Principal Lori Maczko.

Bibi Isahak
Englewood Public School District, NJ

Bibi Isahak has worked in a permanent Support Services role with ESS since 2013. She chose to donate her $500 award check to Dwight Morrow High School, part of Englewood School District in New Jersey. She currently serves at the school as an office secretary.

ESS Senior Regional Manager Tom Basehore said, “Bibi Isahak has been an excellent employee of ESS Support Services since 2013. Ms. Isahak serves as the school secretary at the North Building at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ.

Ms. Isahak is a leader at her school. She works directly with administration, teachers, paraprofessionals, security, and support staff to manage the day-to-day operations of the school’s main office, which includes interfacing with students, families, and community members. Ms. Isahak’s professionalism, dedication, attention to detail, and hard work are commendable. She is an excellent example of what it means to be a true professional. We are fortunate to have her as a member of our team.”

Pictured: ESS District Manager Massiel Batista, Dwight Morrow High School Principal Ben Suro, Supervisor Rosemary Seitel, Impact Award Winner Bibi Isahak, Supervisor of Student Affairs Carol Ann Bender, and ESS Senior Regional Manager Tom Basehore.

Josh Beiningen
David Douglas School District, OR

Josh Beiningen has been substituting at various schools and districts throughout Oregon with ESS since 2017. He recently covered a long-term absence at Alice Ott Middle School, part of the David Douglas School District in Oregon. He chose to honor the school by selecting them to receive the $500 award check. Alice Ott Middle School Principal Duane Larson said:

“Josh has been a respected substitute teacher in our school in past school years. We have strong science teachers, and each of them trusts Josh to run labs or activities correctly when they need a substitute. That in itself is high praise!

In October 2020, we had just begun our school year in Comprehensive Distance Learning. What a transition and a time of learning for our staff! A science teacher’s wife got a very sad diagnosis of an aggressive cancer and the teacher needed a long-term sub immediately. This is a stressful situation at any time, but COVID and distance learning made it even more so. We were very fortunate that Josh made himself available to jump into this complicated situation.

The science curriculum was not something that would be easy for someone without a science background. Josh has a great deal of education and real-life experience. We missed him during parts of last year while he was doing scientific studies in Antarctica (I believe!). These experiences add depth to his resume.

The initial plan was for him to teach with us for about eight weeks. When the teacher needed more time to care for his wife, he remained for the entire semester and did an exceptional job. Josh not only did well with students, but he was also a great addition to our staff, even when we only met virtually. I have been in education for over 30 years, and I have had a lot of experience with both good and bad substitute teachers. Josh is clearly at the top of the list and is deserving of this recognition!”

Congratulations to all of our 2021 Impact Award Honorees
Keep up the great work!