Return to Headlines

Mercer Island PTA Council presents awards to outstanding volunteers and MISD staff

The Mercer Island PTA Council presented its annual awards to outstanding volunteers and MISD staff in a virtual ceremony on May 26. 


  • MISD Instructional Coaches for their hard work every year, but especially during this pandemic when they were instrumental in helping teachers get set up with remote and hybrid learning. The recipients of this award include:
    • MIHS: Jamie Cooke, Brian Hampsch, Kristina Getty, Clay Laughary
    • IMS: Emily Mills, Maria Fontana, Kat Kuszak
    • Elementary: Katy Gibson, Julie Newcomer, Heidi Clark, Matt Lavigne, Lisa Bienstock, Kara Millsap, and Julie Hovind
    • Special Services / Special Education: Julie Riccio, Debra Limon, Nikki Winder


  • Island Books for their long term support of Mercer Island Schools, including their ongoing support for fundraisers and their support for school fundraising during this particularly difficult year when small businesses were impacted by the pandemic. 


  • Karla Rimmer for all of her leadership and hard work ensuring safety for students, teachers, and staff members in the District’s response to Covid 19.  
  • Kyle McKenna and Nick Wold for their leadership to ensure MIHS students could practice and play sports safely during the pandemic. 


  • Carol Bus for her and her team’s amazing hard work to ensure that all Mercer Island students had access to nutritious meals during the pandemic at no charge. 


  • Michelle Ritter for her ongoing leadership at the PTA level and with Parents Edge, in particular for being able to pivot to meaningful educational opportunities for parents and families in a remote environment during the pandemic.
  • Tammy Heydon for her amazing hard work in the community and with the Band Boosters program and being able to help the Band program pivot throughout the pandemic and address unique fundraising, PPE, and audience seating challenges.


  • West Mercer teacher Chris Cocklin Ray for her exceptional and innovative teaching at West Mercer and her commitment to going above and beyond to help all of her students raise the bar during this global pandemic.
  • Islander Middle School co-principals Mary Jo Budzius and Aaron Miller for their long history of outstanding leadership at IMS, their commitment to making IMS a welcoming and safe place for all students, and their overall response to the coronavirus pandemic. 


  • Jennifer Selby for her hard work during the pandemic to keep the community and parents informed about the City and the School Board’s pandemic response and for her history of volunteer service in the PTA.
  • Kristy Sieckhaus for her incredible leadership at both the Council and the IMS level during the pandemic and for her long history of amazing service to the Mercer Island parent community.


  • Julie Ogata Ciobanu, for her incredible, long term leadership in the Mercer Island community and in the PTA including her service on many community Boards, her leadership at the PTA level and the PTA Council level, and her many volunteer activities over the years.
  • Ivy Suzuki-Jaecks for her amazing leadership in Mercer Island, including starting the Lakeridge Science Fair, serving on the Board of Band Boosters, serving as Reflections Chair, serving as PTA President at MIHS, and serving as Chair of the Senior Activities committee this year.