Employees and a trustee of Highline have earned a wide range of awards for their professional excellence and achievements. The honors reflect their contributions to their communities and students at the college.
Those honored during the 2017–18 academic year include Toni Castro, Karin Hirschfeld, Katy Kachmarik, Christie Knighton, Rickitia Reid, Sili Savusa and Dave Weber.
The college itself also received special recognition from the Highline School District.
Toni Castro, vice president of Student Services, was honored for her leadership and service to Seattle University’s graduate preparation program. The university’s College of Education and its Student Development Administration (SDA) program recognized Castro for her more than 12 years on the SDA advisory board.
Castro has spent 29 years in higher education, 21 of which have been at Highline. For over two decades, she has been a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), a professional organization for student affairs administrators in higher education.
She has a master’s degree from California State University, Stanislaus, and a bachelor’s degree from University of the Pacific.
During a March 2018 reception held in Philadelphia for the national NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education conference, Dr. Thai-Huy Nguyen presented Castro with a plaque to mark her recognition. Nguyen is an assistant professor in Seattle University’s College of Education. Here is a portion of Nguyen’s remarks:
“In her leadership at Highline, she has hired at least 10 alumni of Seattle University (80 percent from SDA program), she and her divisional staff have hosted at least 20 SDA graduate interns, and Highline Student Services has welcomed our Best Practice course for full-day site visits for at least five distinct summers.
“She has also served as a faculty instructor of our American Community College course, which … is a signature dimension of the SDA program.
“Toni’s own story as a first-generation, low socioeconomic status, Latina college student from Stockton, Calif., shapes her commitment to open access, safe and inclusive learning environments and her professional identity as a social justice educator.”
Karin Hirschfeld, of Seattle, received the Highline College Outstanding Adjunct Faculty award for 2018. It is one of the college’s three premier awards given annually, recognizing professional excellence by faculty members and full-time staff.
Hirschfeld has been teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at Highline for the past 11 years.
For her many contributions to Highline’s ESL program, Hirschfeld was selected by her peers for the award. She is described by colleagues as someone who is collaborative, someone who is truly committed to equity and someone who recognizes when change is necessary to really help students prepare for the next step in theirs lives.
She has a master’s degree in teaching and a TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) certificate from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.
A $1,500 cash award provided by the Highline College Foundation accompanies the honor. This is the second year an award has been given to an adjunct faculty member.
See the Outstanding Faculty Award Winners list for past recipients of the award.
Katy Kachmarik with Highline College’s Marine Science and Technology (MaST) Center was named a 2018 Hero by Federal Way Public Schools.
The district’s Woodmont K-8 nominated her for the honor for building on the partnership between the MaST Center and Woodmont’s STEM afterschool program. Each school in the district nominated a school partner for the award for enriching the lives and learning opportunities of students.
“We brought marine invertebrates to classrooms for students to meet their underwater neighbors. We designed classroom curriculum and even a board game around invasive species, and partnered with the 8th grade class to pilot test our middle school ROV [remotely operated underwater vehicle] class,” said Kachmarik.
“I am highly honored to be recognized and hope to continue our partnership with the school district as it is so close to the MaST.”
Kachmarik, who lives in Kent, started with the MaST Center in 2016 as an AmeriCorps member. She now works as coordinator of the center’s education and outreach programs.
She has a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from University of Oregon.
Christie Knighton, of Burien, received the Highline College Outstanding Tenured Faculty award for 2018, recognizing her professional excellence.
She has taught at Highline since 1995 in the ABE/ESL Department as an adjunct faculty member, later moving to a tenure-track position. She received tenure in 2008.
In nominating her for the award, peers described Knighton as well organized, approachable, flexible, dedicated and passionate. They noted that she is responsive to cultural differences and to student needs. She is known for valuing research, data and best practices in education.
Knighton has a master’s degree in education from University of Washington, a bachelor’s degree in education from Pacific Lutheran University and an associate degree from Highline College. She is working on a doctorate in adult and higher education at Oregon State University.
A $1,500 cash award provided by the Highline College Foundation accompanies the honor. The Outstanding Faculty award has been given annually to a full-time tenured faculty member since the 1987–88 academic year. It is one of the college’s three premier awards.
See the Outstanding Faculty Award Winners list for past recipients of the award.
Rickitia Reid, of Seattle, received the Highline College Employee of the Year award for 2018.
Reid is program manager for Profession-Technical Education, a position she has held for three of the 15 years she has worked at the college.
Known for being patient, resourceful and supportive, Reid is a go-to person who is always ready and willing to help, said her peers in nominating her for the award. Colleagues report she connects with anyone, really listens and bridges divides. She is a champion of Highline, one who acts on the principles the college aspires to and is dedicated to finding a better future for us all.
She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Central Washington University and two associate degrees, one in accounting and one in business, from Highline College.
A $1,500 cash award provided by the Highline College Foundation accompanies the honor. All permanent classified staff, professional staff and administrative employees are eligible for the award. The Employee of the Year award has been given each year since the 1990–91 academic year. It is one of the college’s three premier awards.
See the Employee of the Year Award Winners list for past recipients of the award.
Sili Savusa, who serves on the Highline College Board of Trustees, received an award from the University of Washington’s College of Education and the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition for her work as one of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community’s local leaders in education. The award recognizes individuals who support youth, advance social justice and enrich our community.
A Highline College trustee since June 2013, Savusa is in her second term. Highline’s board members serve five-year terms and can be reappointed once.
Savusa is executive director of the White Center Community Development Association.
She has a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Washington and an associate degree from Seattle Central Community College.
Dave Weber, of SeaTac, earned educator of the year honors when Pacific Printing Industries (PPI) Association presented him with the 2017 Printastic Educator award. The award recognizes his volunteer efforts and educational outreach initiatives.
A regional nonprofit trade organization, PPI serves members who design and produce print, visual and graphic products.
Weber’s efforts include developing a workforce pipeline that connects high school students with Highline’s Visual Communications program and employment opportunities in the industry.
A Highline employee since 1995, Weber manages the college’s Print Services. Students studying graphic design often intern in the shop to learn printing processes, helping them prepare for their career.
He also serves as advisory committee chair for the Auburn School District Visual Communications program.
Weber has a bachelor’s degree in workforce education and development from Southern Illinois University and an associate degree from Highline College.