Pawhuska Public Schools recognizes honor teachers

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska Public Schools last week recognized its honor teachers for the 2020-21 school year, and all four honorees were special education teachers.

Honor teacher designations are voted on by teachers, which means the winners were chosen by their peers. There is one honor teacher per school in the Pawhuska district. The district teacher of the year is chosen from this group.

Pawhuska’s honor teachers for 2020-21 are Melyndie James-Adams for Indian Camp Elementary School; Gerry Craun for Pawhuska Elementary School; Lindsay Bruno for Pawhuska Junior High School; and Sarah Taylor for Pawhuska High School.

Craun, Bruno and Taylor appeared before the Pawhuska Board of Education on Jan. 11, as did their school principals. James-Adams and her principal, Daniel McEntire, were not present, but McEntire’s comments about James-Adams’ contribution to Indian Camp were shared with the board.

McEntire described James-Adams as the “showcase teacher for Indian Camp.”

“She’s a joy to be around and makes us all better educators,” McEntire said. James-Adams has been in early childhood education for 24 years.

Gerry Craun has 45 years of teaching experience, including 42 years in Pawhuska, and returned to the classroom after having retired.

“She’s amazing with those kids,” her principal, Byron Cowan, told the Journal-Capital.

Bruno has 24 years of teaching experience and her principal, Chris Walker, said he considers her a model of devotion to students.

“She’s always doing what’s best for the kids in our building,” Walker said.

Pawhuska High School Principal Lori Justus credited Sarah Taylor, a graduate of California State University who is new to Pawhuska, with having made transition into the district easily.

Superintendent David Cash said he has never before seen a situation where special education teachers won all of the honor teacher designations in a school district in a single school year, and he characterized that occurrence this year in Pawhuska as something praiseworthy. Cash also complimented the work of Pawhuska teachers generally.

“Our most important employees are teachers. That’s where the magic happens,” Cash said.

Justus, who made a report Jan. 11 to the Board of Education, credited Pawhuska High School teachers with having made a sustained and successful effort to include students who are connecting virtually (electronically) with classrooms are actively included in class activities.

“They have taken that. They have owned it, and they are still doing it,” Justus said of PHS teachers.

District given test site status

Cash also announced Jan. 11 to the Board of Education and visitors that Pawhuska Public Schools had been granted permission and supplies necessary to test its teachers for COVID-19. The superintendent said he had been the first test subject, and had tested negative for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Cash said a “COVID closet” area had been set up at the district administration building for testing purposes, and the tests that the district is authorized to administer are the quick-response variety, where results take just 15 minutes. In a follow-up conversation Friday, Cash said several faculty members had been tested and their results had been negative for COVID-19.