Issaquah PTSA honors outstanding volunteers at Golden Acorn Awards

April 3, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

The primary decorations were orange construction cones and yellow caution tape. Winners were described in terms keeping with that theme, such as construction tools or architects. One winner from the Issaquah School District PTSA Council was described as “the construction glue” that holds the council together.

Gathered in the commons of Pacific Cascade Middle School, the Issaquah PTSA Council held its annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremony March 27.

Not counting the several winners from the districtwide PTSA council, the night honored approximately 75 winners from 23 PTSA units, said Becky Lawrence, vice-president of elementary schools for the PTSA council. A committee of PTSA leaders from each school picked the winners from their individual schools, Lawrence added. As you might expect, criteria included what PTSA members have done for their schools, but also the district and their involvement in the community as a whole.

Wearing hard hats and construction vests, PTSA Council Co-Presidents Janine Kotan and Caroline Brown presided over the evening. For the most part, the award ceremony was light-hearted, filled with gentle jokes about cookie-making skills and so on.

But Brown said later there was a serious side to the evening. The PTSA is all about helping students, she said, and she respects anyone who can find time to volunteer at their local schools.

“I’m very proud of the work we do,” said Brown, who took home a surprise Golden Acorn award herself.

As an example of a worthy districtwide program, Brown pointed to art docents present in many elementary schools. Those docents help students with art projects tied into what they are studying in other classes.

“It puts arts inside the elementary schools when they might not otherwise be there,” Brown said.

Perhaps the biggest award of the night went to PTSA district council webmaster, Deborah Parsons, who was named the 2012 lifetime honoree.

2012 Golden Acorns and Outstanding Advocates

High schools

  • Issaquah: Pat Batt, Kim Dreiblatt, Patty Flynn and Issaquah School Board member Anne Moore
  • Skyline: Carol Stamper, Sunita Dublish
  • Liberty: Lynn Bisset, Sabrina Zimmerman

Middle schools

  • Beaver Lake: Leslie Miniken, Karen Ishimaru, Page Meyer
  • Issaquah: Kristen Allen-Bentsen, Elaine Sakamoto, Anne Watanabe
  • Maywood: Leslie Kahler, Kim Weiss
  • Pacific Cascade: Tami Curtis, Jody Moll, Dana Bailey
  • Pine Lake: Keri Monroe, Mary Jesse, Kim Klinke

Elementary schools

  • Apollo: Tina White, Loan Chen
  • Briarwood: Laila Collins, Karen Nelson, Beth Donahoe
  • Cascade Ridge: Ann Brooks, Pam Gross, Deanne King, Krystl McCandlish, Mary Jo Webb
  • Challenger: Bev Sakamoto, Amy Turvey, Buttons Hunter
  • Clark: Gigi Vazinkhoo, Melia Krohn
  • Cougar Ridge: Michelle Cash, Jill Dixon, Joan Perry, Valerie Yanni, Becky Gordon
  • Creekside: Heather McClure-Coleman, Ashlyn Leahy, Theresa Nguyen
  • Discovery: Dee Camp, Elizabeth Wirasnik
  • Endeavour: Molly Kremer, Dawn Goehner, Alison Takenaka, Heidi De La Garrigue, Anne Burns, Teresa Czaja
  • Grand Ridge: Lida Buckner, Leslie Warrick
  • Issaquah Valley: Leslie MacInnes, Sharilyn Tokumi, Patricia Neill, Issaquah City Councilman Tola Marts
  • Maple Hills: Laurae Briggs, Rosamund Vaughan
  • Newcastle: Lani Pedersen, Kim Plowman
  • Sunny Hills: Shannon Holliway, Kym Clayton; Jenell Tamaela
  • Sunset: Ellen Yoon, Mille Crithfield, Tom Victory, Juliette Dunkelberger

PTSA council

  • Golden Acorns: Janine Kotan, Beth Donahoe, Lida Buckner
  • Outstanding Advocate: Deb Smith
  • Outstanding Service: Suzie Kuflik, Alison Meryweather

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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