Employee Award

Minnetonka Employee Awards for Child-Centered Excellence

We are pleased to introduce a new recognition program to shine a spotlight on our many exemplary employees. This recognition is not a selection of Minnetonka’s best employee in each category—which varies by year, by day, and by moment. This award seeks to select the best representatives of the many outstanding employees in the Minnetonka School District. The program includes recognition for representatives from every employee group.

2019 award recipients

  • Pete Dymit, Principal, Minnetonka Middle School East
  • Ann Foss, Nurse
  • Lynda Hartmann, Paraprofessional, Minnetonka Middle School East
  • Zina Hilgers, Cook Manager, Minnewashta Elementary
  • Debbie Kopischke, Paraprofessional, Groveland
  • Kathryn Larsen, Receptionist/Communications Assistant, District Service Center
  • Randy Phillips, Head Custodian, Minnetonka Community Education Center
  • Nicholas Pyzdrowski, Assistant Site Leader for Explorers Club, Minnetonka Community Education Center

Award criteria

  • Demonstrates exemplary commitment, enthusiasm, student-focus, effectiveness, and professionalism
  • Maintains a helpful attitude and responsive behavior with encouraging words and outstanding customer service
  • Takes pride in surroundings and being a member of the Minnetonka School District educational team
  • Displays personal and professional integrity
  • Advocates for the best interest of students, exhibits a genuine love of children and a professional commitment to children’s learning; recognizes and appreciates being a partner in the educational success of each student
  • Demonstrates a commitment to professional growth, system improvement, and community involvement

Awards may be presented in each of the following employee categories:

  • Administrative and Support Personnel
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Clerical
  • Community Ed
  • Coaches or co-curricular advisors
  • Food Service
  • Licensed professionals district-wide (Guidance, Social Workers, Nurses, OT/PT, Speech Lang., Psychologists, etc.)
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Principals
  • Teachers (please refer to the Excellence in Teaching award)

Nomination process

  • Any Minnetonka colleague, administrator, student, parent, community member, or alumnus may make the nomination. Self-nominations are not accepted.
  • The nomination shall include:
    • Nominator’s name and phone number
    • Nominee’s name, job title, and school or department
    • Answers to the following questions
      • Briefly describe this nominee’s strengths in relation to the criteria for this award.
      • Briefly describe how this nominee displays a genuine love of children and commitment to their learning.
      • Briefly describe this nominee’s attitude, responsiveness and customer service.
      • Briefly describe this nominee’s involvement in our schools and community, beyond regular duties.
  • Submit one or more letters of support which share personal observations of how the nominee demonstrates a commitment to child-centered excellence. It is suggested that letters be from both an employee and non-employee of the District.
  • Deadline is March 8.
  • Recipients are selected by the District Recognition Committee and shall be notified in late April.

The Awards

Past Recipients


  • Alexis Beckman, Office Assistant, Minnetonka Community Education
  • Lyssa Campbell, Communications Coordinator, Districtwide
  • Curt Carpenter, Principal, Clear Springs Elementary
  • Zach Fremder, Field Technician, Districtwide
  • Al Harris, Paraprofessional, Minnetonka Middle School East
  • Jeremy Johnson, Explorer's Club Site Supervisor, Minnetonka Community Education
  • Jeff Luedloff, Head Custodian, Scenic Heights Elementary
  • Aimee Sinkler, Recreational Program Coordinator, Minnetonka Aquatics
  • Lindsay Stashek, School Counselor, Minnetonka Middle School East
  • Christine Svihel, Paraprofessional, Districtwide
  • Deneen Vanek, Cook Manager, Minnetonka Middle School West


  • Dan Berve – District Aquatics Director and Swim Coach
  • J.J. Cabrera – Head Custodian, Minnetonka Middle School West
  • Monica Clark – Student Records, District Service Center
  • Mary Hauge – Nutrition Services, Groveland
  • Paula Hoff – Principal, Minnetonka Middle School West
  • Jane Jacobson – Paraprofessional, Minnetonka Middle School East
  • Debbie Kanan – Paraprofessional, ECFE/Minnetonka Preschool
  • Laura Rosati – School Counselor, Minnetonka Middle School West
  • Amber Yang – Music Academy Program Manager, Minnetonka Community Education


  • Julie Baeb - Paraprofessional, Clear Springs
  • Sarah Guse - Office Clerical, MCEC
  • Sally Heard - Paraprofessional, MME
  • Todd Johnson - Custodial Maintenance, MCEC
  • Shari Pribble - Nutrition Services, Groveland
  • Elmer Schoon - First Student
  • Andy Smith - Video Specialist, MHS
  • Steve Urbanski - Curriculum Director
  • Matt Wiitala - Minnetonka Community Education


  • Beth Allen, Deephaven, Paraprofessional
  • Heidi Koehnen, Deephaven, Paraprofessional
  • Diane Rundquist, Administrator DSC
  • Jeff Erickson, Minnetonka High School, Principal
  • Ellen Schilling, Office Assistant MCE/MMW
  • Greg Merck, Custodian Groveland
  • Sue Rockers, School Nurse Scenic Heights
  • Tina Schmoller, Nutrition Services MME
  • Louise Bagshaw, Community Education-Youth Programs MCEC
  • Dustin Michel, Coach/Advisor MME Wrestling


  • Cindy Andress, Minnewashta Elementary, Principal
  • Jan Bootsma, Executive Director of Student Support Services
  • Dawn Bruesehoff, Middle School East, Guidance Counselor
  • Robin Chandler, Middle School East, Head Secretary
  • Lindy Hanson, Early Childhood Special Education, paraprofessional
  • Jared Little, Middle School West, Paraprofessional
  • Mary Nassiri, MCEC , Paraprofessional
  • James Plaziak, Clear Springs Elementary, Custodian
  • Darryl Schorle, Minnetonka High School, The Cove


  • Mike Condon, District Service Center, Buildings and Grounds
  • Paula Erbisch, Minnetonka Middle School West, Guidance Counselor
  • Debbie Guido, Clear Springs Elementary, Clerical
  • Gary McGrorty, District Service Center, Custodian
  • Christy Snede, MCEC & Clear Springs Elementary, Paraprofessional
  • Deb Waldenmaier, Minnetonka High School, Nutrition Services
  • Janie Warner, Clear Springs Elementary, Paraprofessional
  • Lisa Zimmermann, MCEC, Junior Explorers Supervisor
  • Kent Knutson, Minnetonka Theatre, Artistic Director


  • Curt Carpenter, Clear Springs Elementary, Principal
  • Cathy Lynch, Scenic Heights Elementary, School Secretary
  • Trent Boyum, Arts Center Associate Director/Program Development
  • Mark Mason, Minnetonka High School, Custodian
  • Pat Larson, Scenic Heights Elementary, Nutrition Services
  • Jodi Blais, District Service Center, Benefits Coordinator
  • Jeanne Kraker, Minnetonka Middle School West, Paraprofessional
  • Judy Ford, Excelsior Elementary, Paraprofessional


  • Dave Eisenmann, District Service Center, Administrator
  • Merle Jensen, Clear Springs Elementary, Clerical Staff
  • Susan Gillespie, Scenic Heights Elementary, Community Ed
  • Mike Dixon, Minnetonka Middle School West, Custodian
  • Francine Boyce, Minnewashta Elementary, Nutrition Services
  • Donna Dahl, Groveland Elementary, School Social Worker
  • Angie Wilz, Deephaven Elementary, Paraprofessional
  • Therese Meyer, Excelsior Elementary, Paraprofessional
  • Karin Maas and Wendi Hammond, Minnetonka Middle School West, Co-curricular Advisors


  • Bryan McGinley, Deephaven Elementary, Principal
  • Sharri Hokanson, Minnetonka High School, Counseling Support Staff
  • Dave Nelson, Minnetonka High School, Teacher & Football Head Coach
  • Mike Wyman, MCEC, Custodian
  • Diane Cody, Scenic Heights Elementary, Cook Manager
  • Keri Brenden, Minnetonka High School, Guidance Counselor
  • Lynn Lapointe, Clear Springs Elementary, Paraprofessional
  • Gretchen Kellogg, MME, Paraprofessional
  • Mary Hall, MCEC, Support Staff


  • Jerry Christianson, Lead Custodian, MHS
  • Peggy Dressel, Guidance Secretary, MHS
  • Kathleen Frazier, Explorers Club, Clear Springs
  • Rosemary Sparkman, Kitchen Manager, Deephaven
  • Mary Campbell, Nurse, Clear Springs and Scenic Heights
  • Cindy Kohman, Paraprofessional, Minnewashta
  • Julie Koski, Health Paraprofessional, MHS
  • Tony Mulhern, Technology Service Help Desk
  • Julie Carter, Executive Director of Technology
  • Dave Parker, Principal, Groveland Elementary


  • Jim Gosewisch Head Custodian/Building Engineer, MME
  • Susan Williams Head Secretary, MHS
  • Shirley Snyder Parent Education Manager
  • Beth Erickson District Caterer
  • Candy Curry Social Worker, Clear Springs
  • Robyn Klinker Human Resources Coordinator
  • Terry Balfanz Paraprofessional, MHS
  • Pam Bromme Science Center Paraprofessional
  • Dave Adney Principal, MHS


  • Judy Bandy. School Nurse, MMW
  • Myles Ginther, Coach, MHS
  • Kathy Jorgenson, Supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services
  • Nancy Woelffer, Custodian, MHS Arts Center
  • Joyce Murphy, Clerical, Deephaven Elementary
  • Sue Rusk, Paraprofessional, ECFE
  • Barb Olson, Heath Paraprofessional, Excelsior Elementary
  • Jake Sturgis, District Video Specialist
  • Lee Drolet, Principal, Excelsior
  • Mary Beth Medwid, Minnetonka Community Education
  • Tim Litfin and the Tour de Tonka Committee


  • Mary Beth Wiig, Counselor, MHS
  • Jim Nunn, Coach, MHS
  • Linda Chase, Cook/Manager, MHS
  • Barb Landis, Custodian, Excelsior Elementary
  • Jerry McNeal, Paraprofessional, Scenic Heights Elementary
  • Loie Paul, Paraprofessional, Groveland Elementary
  • Lauree Schmidt, Clerical, MCE
  • Pam Scott, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and School Board
  • Tom Berge, Executive Director of Finance & Operations
  • Pete Dymit, Assistant Principal, MME


  • Charlie Wermerskirchen, Groveland
  • Amy LaGrange, Minnetonka Middle School East
  • Gary Olson, Minnewashta
  • Dana Teller, Deephaven Education Center
  • Paul Pistner, Minnetonka High School
  • Mark Larson, Minnetonka Middle School East
  • Barb Graf, Minnetonka Middle School West
  • Sam You, Minnetonka High School
  • Cynthia “Sam” Kinney (Presented posthumously)