MIHS graduate and 27-year MISD teacher Joan Vetto Papasedero honored with 2023 Pathfinder Award
Joan Vetto Papasedero with the School Board at the announcement of her receiving the 2023 Pathfinder Award on Thursday, March 23, 2023
Mercer Island, WA, March 23, 2023 – The Mercer Island School District is pleased to present its eighth annual Pathfinder Award to a 1974 graduate of Mercer Island High School whose achievements, strength of character, and citizenship inspire and challenge today’s youth to make significant contributions to humankind.
The 2023 Pathfinder Award recipient is:
Joan Vetto Papasedero, 27-year MISD special education teacher, instructional coach, MIHS Class of 1974
“Our Pathfinder Award committee felt Joan’s contributions to our District as a teacher, coach, and curriculum instruction assessment assistant over 27 years, even returning to the District recently to help with a staffing shortfall in special services demonstrate her impact on the community. A Pathfinder can be someone who changes the world beyond Mercer Island, but in Joan’s case she exemplifies how a graduate can return to Mercer Island to make a difference in the world as well,” said Superintendent Dr. Fred Rundle.
“The committee also felt that for the last three years MISD teachers have been inventive, creative, and imaginative as they navigated teaching students through the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee felt that to be able to select a MIHS graduate who has impacted our world can show how all our teachers are doing exactly what she did as a teacher - serving, educating, inspiring. I have had the privilege to work with Joan during my 13 years in the school district and observed first-hand the impact she has had across the district,” continued Rundle.
Joan, originally hired in the early 90's to teach, helped create and secure curriculum for Special Services and was a mentor the Special Services Department. She created, taught and implemented the Individualized Education Program (IEP) online program that the District uses. In addition, she was tabbed to be an instructional coach and IEP reader/reviewer for the entire Special Services department.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education (SPED) from Washington State University and a Master’s of Education Tech from City University. Papasedero’s Master’s project was to expand and update a previously created digital IEP development database bringing it into compliance with new regulations, including the creation of a guidebook to assist teachers with its use.
Papasedero will be honored at the Mercer Island Schools Foundation Breakfast of Champions on Tuesday, April 25.
At Mercer Island High School there is a permanent display that recognizes all Pathfinder Awards recipients as well distinguished graduates recognized prior to the Pathfinder Awards.
Papasedero was selected from over 20 nominations submitted by the community and chosen by the Pathfinder Selection Committee comprised of:
Andrew Howison – MIHS Senior. Student Representative to the School Board
Annabelle Hegarty – MIHS Junior
Asha Woerner – MIHS Junior. Student Representative to the School Board
Daniel Becker – MIHS Class of 2001. Parent of future MISD student.
Ian Henry – MIHS Class of 1991, Communications Coordinator MISD
David Rosenbaum – City of Mercer Island Deputy Mayor
Tammy Shoop – Executive Director, Mercer Island Schools Foundation
Vivek Mehta – MIHS Class of 1989. Parent of two MISD students
The students, staff, and community continue to amaze and inspire me. Students are excelling in and out of the classroom through athletics, clubs and organizations, and even personal pursuits beyond MISD. Some of our staff members are gaining recognition by local, state, and national organizations. And our families, they are volunteering through the schools and PTA, supporting the Mercer Island Schools Foundation, and sending eager learners to school each day. I will highlight specific events coming in May, but also invite you to read more about recent accomplishments and points of pride at the end of this letter.
The Mercer Island School District, in partnership with the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA), hosted an Inclusionary Practices Roundtable for Mercer Island Preschool Directors this afternoon. The roundtable took place in the Board Room in the MISD Administration Building.
The Mercer Island Destination Imagination (DI) teams had a fantastic showing at both the Regional and State DI competitions. At the regional tournament 21 of the 24 teams earned awards and recognition for their work. This included several special awards recognizing exceptional technical designs, integration of music into their solutions, and the inclusion of superior engineering elements.
Upcoming in April, we have more religious and cultural celebrations to recognize. Though some of these spiritual or days of significance fall either on a weekend or when the schools are closed for spring break, we will continue to recognize and make space for our students and staff who participate in the many traditions.