Photos by Kurt Howard
Outstanding Alumnus Brad Tilden, left, Outstanding Teacher Beverly Mowrer and Outstanding Volunteer Mike Borfitz show off their Gold Star awards at a breakfast sponsored by the Highline Schools Foundation for Excellence. Outstanding Administrator Cherrie Smith and Outstanding Classified Employee Tom Manola received their awards at a luncheon event.

Highline Schools Foundation gives out gold stars to five outstanding individuals

The Highline Schools Foundation for Excellence honored five indiduals at two events on May 13.
Gold Star awards are given to employees, volunteers and alumni in the Highline School District for their outstanding service. This year's Gold Star Award winners were selected from an extensive list of nominees submitted by people who live and work in the Highline district.

This year the foundation put on both a breakfast and lunch at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Tukwila . Each winner also received a cash prize from the foundation.

The honorees were:

Outstanding Teacher, Beverly Mowrer, New Start High School
Mowrer was nominated by citizens, students and fellow educators for her innovative approach to teaching and her ability to motivate the community around her students. Mowrer and her students recently received the King County Earth Hero Award for their science project to remove invasive plants and restore native plants at Salmon Creek Park and Salmon Creek Ravine. The foundation also cites Mowrer's ability to identify and work with student's individual needs-- everything from transportation to clothing to study skills---she seeks resources for her students no matter how much time and effort it takes, and continues to be an outstanding role model in her classroom year after year.

Outstanding Administrator, Cherrie Smith, Coordinator of Student Advancement, Highline School District
Smith was nominated by many of her colleagues at the Highline School District for her focus on students, service to families, and excellence in teaching. She is noted for her outstanding relationships with parents, students and staff, for her work to help establish the AVID program in secondary schools, and for her support of the district's "Beyond the Bell" programs that offer the opportunity for students to earn credit outside the regular school day. In her role as coordinator of Student Advancement, Smith has successfully ensured that all students have a path to success from Kindergarten through high school. Smith will retire later this year.

Outstanding Alumnus, Brad Tilden, President of Alaska Airlines
As a former Highline High School student (class of 1979) and as the current leader of a major corporation headquartered in the Highline School District, Tilden has maintained strong ties with the local community. He is a strong supporter of Highline Schools, continually taking a leadership role in campaigns to support education in our district. Alaska Airlines and Tilden personally have been major contributors to Aviation High School and the campaign to build the new school at Tukwila's Museum of Flight. In 2009 the Puget Sound Business Journal honored him with the "Outstanding Achievement Award."

Outstanding Volunteer, Mike Borfitz, Aviation High School
Borfitz is being honored as the Outstanding Volunteer for his work at Aviation High School. Borfitz, an engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration, has been sharing the vision and gathering support for Aviation High School since 2003-- a year before the school opened. He brought together the first group of engineers to provide guidance in developing Aviation's 9th grade Physical Science & Physics of Flight program and was instrumental in developing Aviation's mentor program. He currently serves as a mentor to both students and staff at Aviation and is a treasured volunteer in the Highline School District.

Outstanding Classified Employee, Tom Manola, Puget Sound Skills Center
Tom Manola is a Special Education para professional at Puget Sound Skills Center. He was nominated by numerous colleagues-- all of which are inspired by Manola's enthusiasm to help students succeed. Manola is a local resident, who, after retirement from a successful business career, decided he wanted to give back to his community. He is known as personable, dependable, and for always putting the needs of his students first.

The Highline Schools Foundation provides community resources to help Highline Schools succeed. For more information visit, or call 206-248-5196.

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