Cassia School District has announced its employees of the year for the 2019-2020 school year.
Sheri Allred, Jennifer Schafer and Brandell Bedke have been recognized as the classified, certified and administrative employees of the year. Assistant Superintendent, Sandra Miller honors the awardees by saying, “the selected employees of the year are role-models of caring, dedicated educators. We are excited to recognize their efforts, and we are so appreciative of all they do to provide students a solid education, as well, as contribute to the success of our district.”
Sheri Allred, classified staff, is the media specialist at Burley High and News/Vlog adviser. She started at BHS 17 years ago as a community coach for spring sports and has filled many roles along the way. Thinking about how she does her work, she shares her thoughts about taking time with students. “We must give them our best efforts, every day, with every student we come across. Whether it is a smile, helping them troubleshoot, or expanding their comfort zone by teaching them new skills, our job is teaching them to be successful in their lives.
“ Working with students provides an opportunity to mentor and guide. Allred realizes students come to school for many reasons. “ I have seen many students wake up early, look fabulous, and then simply socialize and pull D’s and F’s. Get up, make it to school, and do it all. These years are such a small fraction of life, but it is the most important foundation.” Recognizing the current strains, Allred hopes students will give their best efforts. “That is what I want the students to know. They will never regret putting themselves to the challenge during these years.” Allred resides in Burley with her husband. She is mother to three and grandmother to four.
Jennifer Schafer, certified, is Burley Junior High’s special education teacher. She started working for the district as a paraeducator in 2000, and continued for 12 years. She has been in special education for 8 years. Schafer credits her grandfather for planting the seed of teaching as a rewarding career choice. But it took time to grow her desire to be an educator. She comments that she “had no desire to attend college for a long time after high school. I finally got the courage and started at CSI. I was happy being a paraeducator and I loved working in special education.” Later Schafer decided to get her BA specializing in special education at ISU. That’s when the search was on for the right job. She found what she calls her “dream job” soon after, when she became the life skills teacher at Burley Jr. High School. Referring to the current situation, Schafer knows it’s a challenge. “I'm not going to lie, distance learning has been a challenge, but it's also been an opportunity to grow and learn. I never dreamed I would be teaching special education over the computer like I have for the past two months, but here I am. I am proud of my students and their hard work. They continue to do their best and have had fantastic attitudes throughout it all. I know teachers are working harder than ever to ensure their students are learning the essential standards needed to be successful.”
For her passion in education she shares part of her journey. “The best thing about being a teacher is being able to encourage students to do the best that they can and to follow their dreams even when learning is hard. I'm not afraid to tell my story from struggling in high school to becoming a successful teacher. I hope it inspires students to never give up.” Schafer resides in Burley with her husband and two children.
Brandell (Brandi) Bedke, Cassia administrator of the year, has been in education for 22 years. She spent five years as principal at Oakley High School and has been the administrator at Oakley Elementary for the past six years. Bedke reflects on the changing nature of her position. “The role of a school administrator is ever-changing. The days of just being the "school-building manager" are long gone. Now principals are team builders, instructional leaders, supervisors, visionaries, data analysts, and change agents, to name a few.” Although challenging, Bedke says she “loves everything about being an administrator! The relationships I have built with staff and students have shaped me over the years and will be a part of me forever. I love being a part of something that will change the world, one student at a time.” For these unusual times, she notes that “COVID-19 has proven one thing, educators can and will adapt to anything and make the most of a difficult situation. The future is unknown but one thing is certain, educators will be up for the challenge.” Bedke lives in Oakley with her husband and has three children.