2020 Award Recipients



Outstanding Educator - Emily Melograna

The Outstanding Educator Award was given to Emily Melograna, a 4th grade teacher at Grand Ridge. Ms. Melograna has taught for 11 years, has a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She has taught at Grand Ridge for 6 years, both 4th and 5th grade. Ms. Melograna spent her first 4 years teaching English overseas in Poland, North Korea and Japan. She is passionate about travel and culture, having been to all 50 states and 35 countries. She incorporates travel themes into her classroom, calling the group the “Melotravelers”. Her favorite part of teaching is, “witnessing a student have a “Aha” moment. That moment when a difficult concept becomes clear. It’s simply the best ever.” Ms. Melograna pivoted to remote learning quickly and helped to make the best of the new situation as possible. Her ability to engage kids, draw them out of their shells, and keep them on task even through the computer, has been amazing. She consistently provides thoughtful feedback, as well as praise and encouragement to her students. She communicates frequently with caregivers with newsletters and weekly check-ins and makes it known to them that she is invested in the growth of each student.


Be Grand - Dave Turner
The “Be Grand” Award was awarded to Mr. Dave Turner. Mr. Dave works as the head custodian at Grand Ridge and has been at the school since 2013 after having the opportunity to work as a substitute at schools throughout the district. At Grand Ridge, he enjoys interacting and building relationships with students through discussions of sports and hobbies. Mr. Dave has been on campus the entire duration of the remote learning, working hard to prepare the school for the new learning environment. He participated in the materials distribution for remote learning, the 5th grade drive through graduation event and tiers of hybrid arrival. Prior to the pandemic, at PTSA activities and events, Mr. Dave was always offering his help to make things run smoothly and does so with a great attitude. Mr. Dave takes pride in his work at Grand Ridge and it shows.


Outstanding Advocate - Nate Perea

The Outstanding Advocate Award goes to Nate Perea. Nate is the organizer/leader behind the ISD Parents in Support of a Safe Return to School Group. His passionate leadership has empowered hundreds of families in the Issaquah area to feel safe to speak up and advocate for their kids. He has been in contact with political leaders, with other school districts, providing parents with up-to-date information and also connected other schools and parents to inform the community about students safely return in other districts. Nate is an 8-year member of Grand Ridge PTSA and has helped with PTSA events including being the emcee at the Grizzlies Got Talent Show.


Golden Acorn - Laura Gaffney
A Golden Acorn Award was awarded to Laura Gaffney. Laura Gaffney has served as our PTSA President for the past two years and has served in important roles for the PTSA in years prior including Communications Director and serving on the Auction Committee. Laura has a 5th grade daughter and twin 2nd grade sons at Grand Ridge. As the PTSA President, Laura is admired for how she has stepped into her role and spends countless hours working to better our school in every area the PTSA touches. When we entered the pandemic, Laura led the board through a gigantic pivot and kept the board focused on finding new pathways of helping support the Grand Ridge school community. Laura’s dedication to Grand Ridge students makes it easy to serve alongside her.


Golden Acorn - Kim de Booij-Moors
A Golden Acorn Award was presented to Kim de Booij who is our current Vice President & Fundraising Chairperson. Kim has served on the PTSA board for 3 years since moving from the Netherlands. Her daughters attend Grand Ridge as 4th and 5th graders. Since joining the PTSA, Kim has helped been an integral part of the PTSA fundraising efforts with Orange Ruler and Grizzlies Night Out. Kim has taken on creating the yearbook Kim, and she frequently volunteers at events and was a friendly face within the school prior to the pandemic. She has participated in many facets of our PTSA and she does so with such enthusiasm that it makes others want to volunteer alongside her.


Golden Acorn - Hannah Coblentz
A Golden Acorn Award was presented to Hannah Coblentz. Hannah serves on the PTSA Board as an Outreach Director and has sons in 2nd and 3rd grade at Grand Ridge. In addition to volunteering within the classroom prior to the pandemic, Hannah orchestrated a playground improvement project that was implemented last summer, started a PTSA Book Club, and volunteered on the district level as the ParentWiser Chairperson. She put together an amazing slate of speakers and educators for the 2020-21 school year, which has provided a lot of support for families over the past year. Hannah is an enthusiastic, action oriented, leader and goes above and beyond to support Grand Ridge students and staff.


Golden Acorn - Toni Hunter
A Golden Acorn Award was awarded to Toni Hunter for her role as Communications Director. Toni has been a long-time member of the PTSA supporting both her 10th grade and 4th grade sons. In her role as Communications Director, Toni, who has amazing organization skills, orchestrated a switch in website platforms, manages the PTSA website, plans and creates the PTSA newsletter. She also handles social media and school reader board messages. Additionally, Toni participates in several district wide committees and is a wealth of knowledge for the entire Highlands community. During this unusual year, Toni is the one keeping that school spirit alive for our PTSA.


The Grand Ridge PTSA recognizes volunteers, educators and community members who go above and beyond for the sake of our kids through the Golden Acorn, Outstanding Educator, and Outstanding Advocate awards for the previous calendar year (January - December 2020). Please take a moment to recognize the extraordinary teachers, staff, volunteers and advocates in our community by submitting a nomination.


The Golden Acorn Award recognizes people who have given exemplary volunteer service to children and youth in our school and community. The Golden Acorn Award is very special and is given for continued and dedicated service.


The Outstanding Educator Award  recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding educational opportunities for children and youth that are beyond the normal scope of their jobs. An educator can be, but is not limited to, a teacher and can include specialists, support staff, administrators, or community members.


The Outstanding Advocate Award honors an individual for a demonstrated commitment to helping create strong policies relating to the health, welfare, safety, and education of our children. Volunteers who speak up for students, or who try to change things for the benefit of children are considered advocates. Nominees for this award could be a general or specialist teacher, an assistant, administrator, other school or district staff, or a community member.


The deadline for nomination submission is Feb 24, 2021.


If you have any questions or would like to be a part of the PTSA Awards Committee, please contact Erin Michael, via email at eesmichael@gmail.com or via phone at 206-778-0235. 


We invite any parent, staff, student or community member to make a nomination. The process is simple: click on the corresponding link below, fill it out, and submit it electronically.


Grand Ridge PTSA Golden Acorn – PTSA Volunteer Award


Grand Ridge PTSA Outstanding Advocate Award 


Grand Ridge PTSA Outstanding Educator Award





Past Winners:


Golden Acorn Award

Year Recipient(s)
2020-21 Laura Gaffney, Kim de Booij-Moors, Hannah Coblentz, & Toni Hunter
2019-20 Nathalie Isensee
2018-19 Angela Bizzari & Aline Bloch
2017-18 Alicia Spinner & Joanne Mockford
2016-17 Lisa Kim
2015-16 Anne Taylor, Alicia Spinner & Angela Bizzari
2014-15 Danielle Graham, Alisa George & Michele Brode
2013-14 Lisa Callan
2012-13 Carolyn Kennedy
2011-12 Lida Buckner
2010-11 Theora Dalupan, Kristen Wisdom & Nancy Castonguay
2009-10 Theora Dalupan, Lida Buckner & Cyn Baumert
2008-09 Leslie Warrick, Lida Buckner & Cyn Baumert
2007-08 Audrey Winslow, Tina Ko & Theora Dalupan
2006-07 Audrey Winslow, Julie Siefkes, Stephanie Shipley, Celia Shells, Debbie Rossman, Donna McCloud, Robbin Hodder, Karen Hirsch, Erica Davis, Theora Dalupan, Deb Courage & Cyn Baumert


Outstanding Educator Award

Year Recipient(s)
2020-21 Emily Melograna
2019-20 Molly Bankson & Lindsey de Haan
2018-19 Sanjana Pathak

Kim Goodman

2016-17 Jennifer Houghton & Brandy Falk
2015-16 Wendy Marsh & Connie Face
2014-15 Allison King
2013-14 Alice Badgley
2012-13 Darrel Nichols
2011-12 Anne Douglas
2010-11 Maureen Bacon
2009-10 Lauren Dammers
2008-09 Kris Coleman
2007-08 Becky Rapin & Connie Face
2006-07 Lori Bunstead & Barb Walton


Outstanding Advocate Award


Year Recipient(s)
2020-21 Nate Perea
2019-20 none
2018-19 Alicia Spinner
2017-18 Justin Oppelar
2016-17 Tim Ryan
2015-16 Carrie Mount
2014-15 Pam Cabrera
2013-14 Christy Otley
2012-13 Leslie Warrick
2011-12 Leslie Warrick
2010-11 Leslie Warrick


Be Grand Award

Year Recipient(s)
2020-21 Dave Turner





Our Mission & Goals

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