As the Riverview School District celebrates graduates each year from Cedarcrest High School and the Riverview Learning Center, as well as students moving up from 8th grade to high school and 5th grade to middle school, one other wing of graduates deserve our praise and congratulations.
Each year, the Riverview School District School Board of Directors hosts a Retirement Ceremony, honoring and recognizing those who retired from education. This year's class of retirees were celebrated at an in-person ceremony, held on Tuesday, June 14, at the Riverview School District ESC Assembly Hall. In total, ten retirees were recognized, comprising a combined 242 years of service to Riverview students and families.
Emceed by Riverview’s Director of Communications, Mike Ward, the event had each retiree receive a special gift presented by School Board Vice Chair, Sabrina Parnell, and saw supervisors and colleagues share remarks about each retiree as they were recognized on stage.
Here is a summary of the incredible achievements the Class of 2022 Retirees brought to their careers and Riverview School District.
Peggy Bergquist (honored by Terri Bookey) Instructional Paraeducator | Carnation Elementary | 23 Years
“Nurturing, compassionate, and honest with students” – those are words shared by Mary Downing, a former Coordinator in our Extended Day Program, describing Peggy in 2005. “She brings a wealth of knowledge in working with young children and is especially familiar with our community.”
Peggy was hired as an Educational Assistant at Carnation Elementary in 1998. She continued as an Instructional Paraeducator until she retired in 2021. She also worked many years in extended day before and after school. In addition to working at Riverview, Peggy worked as a custodian at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, while previously teaching gymnastics, working at Carnation Farms in guest services, and working for the YMCA summer program. Peggy has also logged countless volunteer hours coaching soccer, basketball, and softball in the valley, and teaching religious education classes at St. Anthony’s.
Connie Epps (honored by Jack Madigan) Teacher | Stillwater Elementary | 14 Years
In her application to join Riverview School District, Connie said: "I have learned from experience that a positive, productive learning environment begins with classroom management. I believe that all students have a right to learn in an environment that is safe and nurturing.” Hired as a Kindergarten teacher at Stillwater Elementary in 2008, Connie taught 2nd grade for five years, before transitioning to 3rd grade from 2014-present. Prior to joining Riverview, Connie taught in Hawaii for three years, and locally in the Lake Washington School District for four years.
Additionally, she worked as a kindergarten teacher and second grade teacher at Duvall Christian School. Connie has been very active in volunteer work throughout her career with Duvall Days, Duvall Church, and PTSA to name a few.
Grieg Hicks (honored by Meisha Robertson) Grounds III | District-Wide | 35 Years
Former Cedarcrest principal Harry Vanikiotis shared these words once, in a letter to Grieg: “I keep hearing about the wonderful work you are doing with one of our special education students. I hear that you are not only giving him an opportunity to learn important work skills, but you also appear to be supporting him as he makes good learning and life decisions.” He would add: “Kids say that a positive adult-kid connection is the single most effective way to help these students be successful in their lives. Thank you for caring enough to help our students.”
Hired as a Custodian I at Tolt High School, he served in that role for three years until he moved into a Maintenance/Grounds position for five years. When Cedarcrest High School opened in 1994, Grieg became a Custodian II for the building. In 2006, he moved back to Maintenance and Grounds where he retired as the Grounds III lead in November 2021.
Grieg served for 4 years in the United States Air Force, working as an egress technician, jet mechanic and an aerospace engineer. In September 2021, he was awarded the prestigious Bridge Builder Award by Riverview Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Smith.
Barb Jarett (honored by Ray LaBate) Counseling Secretary | Cedarcrest High School | 26 Years
From her Riverview application materials, here is what Katharine Hoesel, a previous Special Education Teacher at Cedarcrest, said about Barb: “She is always willing to go the extra mile to support student needs and assist them in achieving their potential. She takes great delight and pride in the accomplishments of students and students come looking for her when they needed help or wanted her input.” Hired as an Educational Assistant I at Cedarcrest High School, Barb worked in the Cub Child Care Center and as an Educational Assistant II/Special Education from 1996-1998, an EA II/Vocational from 1998-1999 and a Child Care Specialist at Cedarcrest from 1999-2000. She next became the Secretary II in the Guidance Department and Counseling Center at Cedarcrest, beginning in 2000 until her retirement.
Barb has been very active in volunteer work with Firefighters Pancake Breakfasts, concession stands for athletics, kindergarten screening/testing and more.
Leslie Johnson (honored by Ray LaBate) Special Education Teacher | Cedarcrest High School | 22 Years
Josh Searle, the former English Department Chair at Cedarcrest High School, said about Leslie: “Leslie has a way of motivating unmotivated students. Perhaps her style works so well because students know that she will never give up on them.”
Hired as a paraprofessional from 2000-2006; Leslie served as a Special Education teacher at Cedarcrest from 2006 until present day. And Josh added perhaps one of the greatest endorsements of a teacher can receive: “And even though not all students reach for the stars that she points them toward, they inevitably achieve much more than they ever would have without her.”
Jacque Mark (honored by Michelle Frank) Instructional Paraeducator | Cherry Valley Elementary | 31 Years
“A warm and caring individual,” that’s how Sharon Francois, a former Cherry Valley Elementary Special Education Teacher describes Jacque Mark.
Initially hired as a Food Server, Jacque served in that role for five years, before transitioning into the role of Educational Assistant I from 1994-2003. Jacque worked as an Educational Assistant II/Instructional Paraeducator from 2003 until her recent retirement.
Jacque is “home grown,” a Tolt High School graduate who previously worked for Tolt Farms. In additional comments, Francois added that “Jacque is as outstanding a person as she is hard-working. I appreciate how careful and precise she is in all she is asked to do.”
Orlene Olson (honored by Jack Madigan) Teacher | Stillwater Elementary | 31 Years
Orlene began her career in Riverview in 1991, hired as a 6th grade Teacher at Stillwater Elementary. After two years, she taught first grade for one year, then second, fourth, and fifth grades over the next 26 years. Most recently, Olson was Stillwater Elementary’s Art Specialist. Prior to joining Riverview, she previously taught in the Mukilteo School District, Sultan School District, Lake Washington, Northshore, and Shoreline School Districts, and select private schools. Prior to moving to Washington, she taught four years in Utah. When combining her experiences with teaching, Orlene Olson retires after serving more than 40 years in the classroom.
Orlene, in her own words: “The most visible effectiveness has been with students who most need love, acceptance, consistent, fair discipline, high expectations for personal success, and a new way to look at school and education mixed with the basic requirements.”
Dr. Anthony Smith (honored by Lori Oviatt) Superintendent | District-Wide | 28 Years
It is often said that there is not a corner of this district that has not been touched, in some impactful way, by Anthony Smith. Dr. Smith worked in education for 39 years, 28 of those in Riverview School District.
Anthony joined Riverview as a counselor in 1994 and went on to be a Principal at the Riverview Learning Center and the Director of Human Resources and Teaching and Learning. He served as the Assistant Superintendent and, most recently for nine years as Superintendent.
Prior to working in Riverview, Dr. Smith was a teacher at South Whidbey High School for 11 years. He has obtained endorsements as a K-12 Principal, a K-12 Counselor, K-12 in Special Education, K-12 in Music, grades 4-12 in Psychology and K-8 in Elementary Education. He has served on the boards of the Washington Association of School Administrators, Washington State School Directors Association, and Rotary Club of Duvall.
Prior to his retirement, Dr. Smith was overwhelmingly nominated and selected as the Grand Marshal of the recent 2022 Duvall Days Parade.
To read about that prestigious community honor, please click below: https://duvalldays.org/2022-grand-marshal/
Dr. Randy Stocker (honored by Dr. Anthony Smith) Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning | District-Wide | 10 Years
Former Riverview Assistant Superintendent, Janet Gavigan, said this about Dr. Stocker:
“I find Randy always places emphasis on what is in the best interest of the student and/or staff. Randy has true heart. Heart for kids. Heart for learning. Heart for all. He is up front and honest, reflective and supportive. He gives his time to teachers, parents and community. He is a listener and thinker. A great sounding board for ideas and is truly a supportive colleague to others…”
Hired as Principal/Administrative Support at Riverview Learning Center in 2012, Dr. Stocker became the principal of Carnation Elementary for five years. In 2017, he transitioned into the role of Director of Teaching and Learning, promoted to Assistant Superintendent in 2019.
Prior to working in Riverview, Randy worked as an Executive Director of Exemplary Programs and School Support in Bellevue School District, was the Director of Business and Operations in the Enumclaw School District, a Principal at Black Diamond Elementary and as a teacher at both the Elementary and Middle School level in Bellevue School District.
In addition, he also worked various positions at the college level, working as a mentor at the University of Washington for both the Teacher Education Program and the Danforth Educational Leadership/Principal Certificate Program. He served as an instructor for many years at Seattle University.
Vicki Welter (honored by Michelle Frank) Special Education Paraprofessional | Cherry Valley Elementary | 22 Years
A former colleague of Vicki’s shared this when she applied to join Riverview School District:
“Vicki demonstrates a genuine care and concern for her students and for the art of teaching. She has an excellent rapport with students, staff and parents. She is always supportive and cooperative of her administration. Vicki is a ‘natural’ teacher with many skills.”
Hired as an Educational Assistant in 1999, Welter was reclassified to a paraprofessional in 2000. She has worked in Special Education in Riverview from 2000 – present. Previously Vicki worked in the Spokane and Prosser School Districts as a classroom teacher in kindergarten, first grade, and middle school.