Golden Pride Award Winners

May 2018

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

American Falls High School Technology Teacher Hilairy Diller and Vice Principal/Athletic Director Bryan Flake were awarded the Golden Pride Award for “above and beyond” service for the month of May during the regular board meeting held on May 29, 2018. Their nominators wrote:

Bryan Flake

Bryan has been a godsend to school district #381. As a Teacher and a Coach he makes all of us around him better because his commitment to the students and the district as a whole. Because of this commitment we are able to focus on the task at hand with greater efficiency as Teachers and Coaches. Bryan always has a smile on his face and a kind word to share no matter if you are a Teacher or a student. His positive and can do attitude makes every day working beside Bryan enjoyable. For this and many other reasons I would like to nominate Bryan Flake for the Golden Pride Award.


Hilairy Diller

Hilairy Diller is the perfect candidate for the golden pride award. She is the one and only technology teacher at AFHS which means she teaches at least four different classes every trimester, most teachers only teach two or three. She is our BPA advisor, a role in which she excels, the students in BPA learn life skills and are provided opportunities and experiences that cannot be replicated in the classroom. Her business students gain valuable practical experience by running the student store. Students in her classes are challenged daily to improve their skills not only in technology but in public speaking as well. Hilairy takes on all these tasks with a smile on her face and a positive thing to say about everyone. She has taken on an additional role this year as the AFHS “Happiness Coordinator” a role perfect for her and she does a tremendous job. Students often take multiple classes from Mrs. Diller simply because she is such a great person to be around. American Falls High School stuck the jackpot four years ago when we hired Hilairy Diller and we are grateful to have her. Our students and our staff are fortunate to be able to learn from her. It is for these reasons that I am honored to be able to nominate Hilairy Diller for this Golden Pride Award.


April 2018

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

School Counselor Mindi Nielsen and Hillcrest Music Teacher LaToya Hanchey were awarded the Golden Pride Award for “above and beyond” service for the month of April during the regular board meeting April 23, 2018.

Mindi Nielsen

For many years, Mrs. Nielsen has supported students, parents and faculty with counseling services and in teaching specialized classes at Hillcrest. She is knowledgeable about community resources and always willing to support those with needs in finding help. She works with individual students, for a wide variety of reasons, and students like her. Mindi is an advocate of Love and Logic parenting classes and walks her talk by teaching these classes to sometimes “challenging” parents. Additionally, Mindi mentors struggling teachers with things like assisting a new rookie teacher in making that first uncomfortable disciple call home and in covering a classroom so a teacher can observe another teacher. She also works with staff in creating and implementing behavioral plans for our toughest students. She is not afraid to roll her sleeves up and do what is best for kids. Her versatility, knowledge, skills and willingness to step in and help where needed is invaluable at our school.

Beyond Hillcrest, Mindi Nielsen has been providing services at the Academy this year and is a wonderful addition. She has had to face difficult challenges with some of the students and has dealt with every issue in a caring and professional manner. The students took to her immediately and have willingly asked her for help with their life problems. They have been open and frank with her and she gained their trust in a very short time period, which shows the respect they have for her. Now that she is here and helping our students, we can’t imagine what we did without her. She is truly appreciated at the Academy and we are very thankful to have her.

As you can tell, our district is fortunate to have Mindi Nielsen as a counselor at Hillcrest and the Academy. She is a shiny example of what Golden Pride recipients bring to our students and schools. Thank you Mindi for all you do!


LaToya Hanchey

It is my pleasure to nominate LaToya Hanchey for the Golden Pride award. I have to admit, my first introduction to LaToya was by other administrators telling me we needed to consider hiring the wife of their amazing new high school music teacher as a para to teach Hillcrest music classes. I was skeptical about the likelihood that two awesome music people, who could actually teach children, would marry one another. I was wrong. LaToya has proven, on her own right, to be an exceptional addition to Hillcrest and the entire district’s music program.

Additionally, Mrs. Hanchey has planned, prepared for, and presented three grade level student music programs so far this year. These programs showcase a joyful presentation of some of the singing, rhythm, and musical movement her classes enjoy each week. They have been a hit and bring families into Hillcrest for a slice of our positive culture. We can’t wait for our kindergarten program!

Thank you Mrs. Hanchey for the many things you do to contribute to our school’s success. You introduce the benefits and happiness music can bring into the lives of many students, who otherwise, may not be exposed. Hillcrest and American Falls are lucky to have you!

February 2018

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

Todd Steinlicht

Todd Steinlicht

Erin Kress

Erin Kress

Todd Steinlicht and Erin Kress

of William Thomas Middle School were awarded the Golden Pride Award for “above and beyond” service for the month of February during the regular board meeting February 26, 2018. Their nominators wrote:

Todd Steinlicht

Todd Steinlicht truly exemplifies the phrase “going above and beyond.” Firstly, he always completes his custodial duties in a timely and quality fashion. As important as these duties are, they are only a small portion of his positive impact on WTMS. He is the first to lend any staff member a helping hand, even if the task he completes may not clearly fall within his job description. Todd also loves young people, and it shows. He has volunteered to help with the Skill Exploration program and can also be seen at many school sporting events. When students are assigned work detail time with Todd as behavior intervention, he ensures that they work hard, but he also takes an interest in them and shows them that he cares. Many of our students are in dire need of positive relationships, and Todd does a masterful job of forging those relationships in the limited amount of time he gets to spend with them. Finally, Todd is a great mentor and friend to Jose Villa, another custodian at our school. Jose occasionally needs some help at work, and Todd provides this help almost instinctually. He never thinks twice about giving Jose rides to and from work, taking him out to lunch or to a ball game, or giving him some work-related assistance. Ultimately, Todd not only positively impacts our school directly through all of his hard work, but indirectly via the example of kindness and integrity he sets for students, staff and parents.

Erin Kress

For the past 11 years Erin Kress has been instrumental to the success of the dance team at AFHS. Under her direction the dance team has consistently won district championships, won state championships and is always in the running for additional state titles. Aside from the success on the dance floor Erin has helped shape the live of all the young women she has worked with over the years. It is easy to see the love and appreciation her dancers have for her at every senior night. The senior girls are always in tears while they give her giant hugs at center court.

Erin puts in numerous hours working with these girls, unlike most high school sports seasons which are 3.5 months long at the most, dance season starts in August and ends the middle of March; twice as long as most other sport or activity seasons. Erin is always eager to take on new additions to the team and she successfully implements them into the routines; equally impressive is how she almost effortlessly adjusts when dancers are not available for the night or the rest of the season. Erin Kress deserves to be recognized for her efforts and her success, AFHS is fortunate to have her.

January 2018

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

Angie Morgan receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Angie Morgan receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Tia Hoag receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Tia Hoag receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Stephanie Beutler receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Stephanie Beutler receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Angie Morgan, Tia Hoag, and Stephanie Beutler

of Hillcrest Elementary were honored at the regular school board meeting on January 22, 2018 for the Golden Pride Award, given each month to celebrate the “above and beyond” service by employees of the American Falls School District.

Angie Morgan

Angie has been a Kindergarten teacher at Hillcrest Elementary for the past seven years. Her nominator wrote: In so many ways, Angie Morgan quietly demonstrates what a distinguished teacher is. Mrs. Morgan’s classroom is one of purposefully engagement. She continually assesses student learning, analyses data and then delivers what her students’ needs to move them along the learning continuum. Her class runs oh so smoothly and in a child directed and centered manner. She is always prepared and has the knack of keeping students intellectually engaged. Not an easy task in kindergarten. Beyond the classroom, Mrs. Morgan is currently mentoring a new kindergarten teacher. This teacher was lucky enough to have worked in Mrs. Morgan’s classroom as an assistant part of last year. As a result, our new kindergarten teacher is having a very good first year and has many skills that are far beyond that of a rookie. Mrs. Morgan should take a lot of credit for this. She is a leader with her peers and the kindergarten team and continually works to press better more effective practices. Additionally, Mrs. Morgan is always willing to lend a hand in school projects and committees. She volunteered to provide a “Trunk or Treat” station at Hillcrest this fall and is currently serving on our Language Arts curriculum adoption committee. She always has a “can do” attitude and positive disposition. It is easy to see why Mrs. Morgan is deserving of the Golden Pride Award. She is a pleasure to work with, highly respected and much appreciated at Hillcrest.


Tia Hoag

Tia’s nominator wrote: Over the past 2 years, Mrs. Hoag has been in charge of the library and media classes at Hillcrest. She stepped into this position with virtually no training as a paraprofessional behind a well-seasoned certificated media specialist. I have to admit I was apprehensive of any person with no training being able to bear the responsibilities of this position. Mrs. Hoag exceeds all expectations. She does so much more than check-out books. Mrs. Hoag makes our Media center sparkle with fresh ideas and new energy. Over the last 2 years she has created the atmosphere of wondrous enjoyment for our students. Her knack for theatrics and love of a good story is infectious. We always wonder what character she will be dressed like from day to day. She advocates for all children to be great readers and teaches them why reading is important. Mrs. Hoag has stripped the media center of cluttering and antiquated items to make room for a new Leveled Reader library which supports our curriculum. She currently is implementing a grant from the Idaho Commission for Libraries that allows kindergarteners to start checking out books before 1st grade. She provides an enriching media class to all classes each week. Best of all, Tia knows our students. This is impressive as she serves nearly 500 students weekly. Hillcrest recognizes the positive impact Mrs. Hoag has on our school. It is an impact that will follow our children for a life-time. Great work Mrs. Hoag you are a super hero in our school.

Stephanie Beutler

Stephanie’s nominator wrote: There are few people who have positively impacted Hillcrest like Stephanie Beutler. Over the last 11 years Mrs. Beutler has served our school in more ways than imaginable. She has been an active volunteering parent, PTO member and president. She currently serves as our most requested, dependable and competent substitute. A job that many people will not do yet Stephanie does so well. I don’t think there is a position at Hillcrest she hasn’t or couldn’t step into in a moment’s notice and do it with a smile in a high quality manner. We consider her one of our own and as part of the Hillcrest family.

Thank you Stephanie for stepping up and providing such needed help in our district. With the supply of subs short and quality shorter you really are one of the most important people we have on staff. We appreciate you so very much!






December 2018

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

Melissa Lott

Melissa Lott



Adam Anderson

Adam Anderson

Melissa Lott and Adam Anderson

Melissa Lott and Adam Anderson were awarded the Golden Pride Award for “above and beyond” service for the month of December during the regular board meeting December 18, 2017.

Melissa Lott has been the school district nurse for the past 4 years. Her nominator wrote: Melissa has done an outstanding job working with our staff and students. She makes sure to notify us of any and all of our children with medical needs and takes the time to train us on how to deal with emergencies that may arise with these children.

Melissa is patient and is always willing to come to our school even when we have minor medical situations. Even minor things to us are rarely minor to the child and she treats each child with understanding. Many times with some attention from the “nurse” kids can go back to class feeling like their needs were met.

I also appreciate the fact that Melissa works with the district staff and helps provide flu shots, health fairs, first aid and CPR training etc. We feel fortunate that Melissa is working on our staff to provide training and assistance to our staff and students.

Adam Anderson

This is Adam Anderson’s first year as a staff member at American Falls High School and he has been a great addition. Adam works part time as an ESL aide and has been assigned mainly to the freshman Physical Science classes where he helps all students’ who struggle in class not just ESL students. He quickly became a student and staff favorite because of his personality and his baking skills. He recently took on an additional role running a PLATO Science lab for 2 hours where he has done a tremendous job keeping those student on task and advancing through the online curriculum. Adam is a rare find for a part time aide. He gladly takes on any new assignment or challenge; he is eager to help in any way that he can. He is a great asset and AFHS is lucky to have him.


November 2017

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

Kimberly Walker receiving golden pride award from Bruce Hauber

Kimberly Walker receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Alberto Cruz receiving golden pride award from Bruce Hauber

Alberto Cruz receiving Golden Pride Award from School Board Chairman Bruce Hauber

Kimberly Walker and Alberto Cruz

The Golden Pride Award is given to those outstanding employees of the American Falls School District who have provided “above and beyond” service for the district, students and teachers. Kimberly Walker and Alberto Cruz were honored at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday, November 27, 2017.

Kimberly Walker

Kimberly Walker has been the director of the After School Program for the past 2 years. Her nominators wrote: It has been a pleasure working with Mrs. Kimberly Walker at the Fired-up afterschool program. She has worked diligently to help create a program that meets the needs of the students that attend. She works to balance the demands of the teachers, the administration, the requirements of the grants, and the needs of the families that benefit from this program. She challenges her staff to try new things and to incorporate new ideas into their teaching. She inspires the teachers to keep trying and to keep moving forward, even when they might become discouraged. It has not always been easy to balance all of the demands of the position, but Mrs. Walker has risen to meet and exceed all of those demands. It is so easy to get caught up in data points to see if a program like this is successful- and Mrs. Walker certainly meets those expectations- but perhaps the most telling point of them all is that the students come to a place where they feel respected and cared for because of the environment that Mrs. Walker has created. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication!

Kimberly is a great asset to the American Falls School District. She puts in many hours toward helping kids in the After School Program. Kids feel comfortable and respected at the program. Many of them look forward to seeing her on Wednesdays when she is teaching classes and on the other program days when they see her in class or on duty. She also serves the kids and community through parent and family nights and looks for new and interesting activities for families to learn alongside their children. Kimberly excels at being available for those that work with her and finds ways to help them when they need assistance. We have a new technology program this year where the students get to learn about a class and its culture from a different country. She has been very patient and understanding as we move through this uncharted program. Kimberly collaborates with her staff, the technology department, and the principals of the schools she works with. She has also worked with several seniors to help them with their senior projects and has worked with teachers as they work toward their Master’s degree. Kimberly is wonderful to work with. She works diligently to assure that the students and their families at the After School Program receive the extra help and support that they need. Kimberly Walker is very deserving of the Golden Pride Award. Thank you for all that you do for our community.

Alberto Cruz

Alberto has been the crossing guard at William Thomas Middle School for the past 2 years. The 6th Grade team wrote: We would like to nominate Albert Cruz for the Golden Pride Award because of the tremendous job he does. As the crossing guard for WTMS, he is a valuable member of our school community. He is always there, with a smile, eager to help ensure that everyone, both student and staff, are safe as they come to and fro. He is there early each day, to greet the students as they arrive and stays to make sure that everyone is able to get home safely each afternoon.


October 2017

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

Janet Turley and Robbie Hanchey

both new to the American Falls School District were awarded the Golden Pride Award for “above and beyond” service for the month of October during the regular board meeting held on October 23, 2017.

Janet Turley

is a seasoned music teacher who joined the American Falls School District this year.It is a pleasure to nominate Janet Turley for the Golden Pride Award. I would like to nominate her for many different reasons. As a coworker, I have noticed that Ms. Turley is always positive, upbeat, and enthusiastically engaged in her work. She greets each day, and each student, with a happy smile and an open heart. An outside observer can tell that she works hard to create positive relationships with the students and a warm environment in her classroom- which is a difficult task considering the amount of students that she sees in a given day and the amount of time that she has with each class. Although Ms. Turley is new to our district, it is evident that she has found a niche and that she brings a new perspective and energy to her position. As a parent I have been impressed as my children come home and can't wait to share what Ms. Turley has taught them that day- you can tell that she has a passion for her subject... and that she is sharing that passion with her students. It is amazing to see her reach beyond the expectations of her position in order to uplift, inspire, and engage. My children have certainly shared how they have been inspired by her warm personality and caring disposition. As a community member I have been impressed with her willingness to share her time and talents by volunteering at various projects in our city. Although she has many responsibilities, Ms. Turley finds the time to help build up our community. Ms. Turley embodies what education is about- creating a network of people, whether they are students in the classroom or stakeholders in the community, and showing them that they are important and inspiring them to learn. Thank you Ms. Turley- your dedication and hard work have been noticed and appreciated.


Robbie Hanchey

is the perfect example of why we have the golden pride award. In his short time here he has made a huge impact. He has lead professional development, organized multiple band trips, his guitar classes are bigger than we have ever had and he is planning a performance for these kids to showcase their new skills at Hillcrest Elementary; something that has never been done before. He incorporated the WTMS band kids into the homecoming parade. He has an infectious personality that kids love and because of this the band in going to continue to grow. I have heard many comments at games such as “I have never heard the band sound this good this early in the season” “The band director is great” one parent approached me and said “great choice with Mr. Hanchey, he is phenomenal”. I happen to agree with this parent, Robbie is phenomenal and I look forward to the next great thing that he is going to do.


May 2017

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­American Falls High School was highlighted for the Golden Pride Awards during the May board meeting On May 23, 2017. Nominated were English teacher Terri Blair and Gear-Up Director Jaxon Jensen. The Golden Pride Award is given monthly to school district employees who exemplify “above and beyond” effort in their assignment of service for the students in the American Falls School District.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Blair’s nominator wrote: Terri is a perfect example of what the golden pride award is all about. We were lucky enough to steal her from ISU six years ago and she has been our dual enrollment English teacher since and has done a phenomenal job. Along with teaching the dual enrollment classes she also has taught our Language Arts class and our regular senior English class. This teaching assignment has her teaching at opposite ends of the spectrum and she does it flawlessly. Her ability to quietly motivate her students is impressive. Equally impressive is her love for her students; every time I observe her class I am completely impressed with how she interacts with her students. It is easy to see that she truly cares for each and every one of them. She is a dedicated teacher who spends countless hours outside of school grading papers so that she can give her students feedback in a timely manner. On some occasions this time spent outside of school would easily equate to another full time job. She does so quietly with a smile on her face and never a complaint. She is the type of teacher we all wish our own kids could have. I could not think of a more deserving teacher for the golden pride award.

Jensen’s nominator wrote: This is Jaxon’s first year as a staff member at American Falls High School and he has made the transition from former AFHS student to AFHS staff without a hitch. He has really made an impact on the lives of the kids he is working with. Because of his efforts our students will be receiving more scholarship money this year than ever before. He is constantly working with students’ one on one or in small groups. Jaxon does more than help get students exposure to college campuses and testing he is our go to guy when we need someone to cover a class or activity; he does not hesitate when asked to cover for someone he simply says “sure what time?” Jaxon is also one of our assistant softball coaches and has done a great job working with our girls on the softball field where he has developed positive relationships with his players. He is truly a perfect team player and always has the best interest of the students and the rest of the staff in mind. I am so glad that the golden pride award gives us the opportunity to recognize people like Jaxon, he truly deserves to be recognized.


April 2017

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

William Thomas Middle School was highlighted during the April board meeting of the American Falls School District. Nominated were PE/Health Teacher Jacque Foster and Teacher Assistant Rebecca Gallegos. The Golden Pride Award is given monthly to school district employees who exemplify “above and beyond” effort in their service to the students in the American Falls School District.

Jacque’s nominator wrote: Jacque Foster has been a teacher at WTMS and AFIS for the past 11 years. She teaches PE, Health and Freshman Transition. In addition to teaching she also serves as the track coach. Jacque is a dedicated teacher that truly cares about the students she teaches.

Jacque starts off every day doing morning bus duty. There is not a better person to greet students with a smile and a fist bump as they get off the bus. She is especially caring for our student with down syndrome.

She has been a critical member of the 6th and 7th grade teams. She is the quintessential staff member; always being willing to do whatever is needed to help out. If there is ever a staff member in need of help she is the first to volunteer. She operates the scoreboard at basketball games and officiates volleyball games.

Her student’s level of care for her is as high as hers for them. Students adore her and appreciate the concern she has for their success. Thank you Ms. Foster for being the great teacher you are.

Rebecca has been a Teacher Assistant for the American Falls School District for the past 2 years. Her nominator wrote: Always going above and beyond in fulfilling her duties for the students at William Thomas Middle School, Rebecca Gallegos is the perfect choice for the Golden Pride Award. Rebecca spends a great deal of her time as a vital part of my classroom. Without Rebecca, I could have never used small group instruction in my lessons. She has had many successes working with students one-on-one or in small groups to help them better understand the material at hand. She works well with our students, and, in return, our students love her as well as her ability to relate them. I want to thank her for the many contributions she has made during her time at our school.

March 2017

A hearty congratulation to our Golden Pride Award recipients who have been recognized by the American Falls School Board for "above and beyond" services to our district. They represent the professional and support staff that equal excellence for our students.

The Intermediate School staff was highlighted during the March board meeting on March 27, 2017. Nominated were Marla Egbert, fifth grade teacher and Stacy Bolgen, computer lab teacher. The Golden Pride Award is given monthly to school district employees who exemplify “above and beyond” effort in their assignment of service for students in the American Falls School District

Marla Egbert has taught in the American Falls School District for 45 years! She was nominated for the Golden Pride Award by her fellow teachers, they wrote: Marla is a very positive and supportive colleague. She is also very dedicated to her job. There isn't a weekend that goes by that you don't see Marla putting in extra hours! She is also very supportive to her students, and is there for them in any way possible. We respect the fact the Marla is always trying to instill responsibility and honesty in her students. Marla has been eager to embrace new technologies even though they don’t always embrace her. Marla's true calling was to be a teacher, and you can see it in all of the lives that she has touched in her many years of teaching.


Stacy Bolgen has been at the American Falls Intermediate School for one year. She was nominated for the Golden Pride Award by the Intermediate School staff, they wrote: Stacy Bolgen is the computer teacher for the 4th and 5th graders at the Intermediate School. Besides keyboarding, she has incorporated Math, English, History, and Science Google searches into her program.

Mrs. Bolgen helps at noon with students who are struggling with math assignments or other work. On Wednesdays from 12:15-1:00 she will also work with students who are behind or who need special help.

A school newsletter was created by 5th grade students under Mrs. Bolgen’s supervision. This was done totally during the noon hour. In addition, for our Trimester 2 AR party Mrs. Bolgen volunteered to change her hours so she was able to run one of our Super Hero Stations.

We appreciate her willingness to take on extra responsibilities and do so cheerfully. She is a team player and the students and teachers are grateful for her.