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Left to right: Lori Oberheide, Assistant Superintendent of Communications & Public Engagement at ESD 112, Jessica De Barros, Director of Communications and Government Relations at PSESD, Monique Dugaw, Director of Communications & Public Engagement at ESD
Left to right: Lori Oberheide, Assistant Superintendent of Communications & Public Engagement at ESD 112, Jessica De Barros, Director of Communications and Government Relations at PSESD, Monique Dugaw, Director of Communications & Public Engagement at ESD
ESD 112 Communications Department wins big for small districts at state awards (Photo) - 05/22/19

The Educational Service District 112 communications team was awarded nearly two dozen state public relations, marketing, graphic design and website awards, including four “Best in Category” winners at the Washington School Public Relations Association’s (WSPRA) awards program.

ESD 112 received more awards than any other single award winner this year. More than 180 award recipients received state recognition for creative and effective work in district and education communications. The awards program is broken into two divisions: districts with more than 10,000 students and districts with fewer than 10,000 students.

ESD 112 provides communication services for many small school districts that would not otherwise have the resources for a communications program.  Among the 18 awards ESD 112 received, 14 were projects for schools districts with fewer than 10,000 students.

“One of our primary goals at ESD 112 is to equalize education opportunities,” said ESD 112 Superintendent Tim Merlino. “Our communications team and their award-winning work for small districts clearly demonstrates this commitment.”

ESD 112's award-winning work supported the following districts and entities:

  • Schools across the state implementing changes to school funding as a result of the McCleary decision (in collaboration with Puget Sound ESD)
  • Battle Ground School District
  • Camas School District
  • Cascadia Tech Academy
  • Chehalis School District
  • Ellensburg School District
  • Ferndale School District
  • Hockinson School District
  • Kelso School District
  • Longview Public Schools
  • Washougal School District

The full list of ESD 112 awards and winning entries are available on the ESD 112 website

ESD 112 celebrates outstanding education leadership and community contributions to schools - 05/20/19

School and community leaders throughout Southwest Washington came together last week to celebrate honorary community leadership awards, outstanding educator awards, years of service and retirements.

The annual event drew attendees from the 30 school districts across ESD 112’s six-county region.

“Schools cannot do it alone and those in the room today reflect the huge commitment of our business and community leaders who volunteer hundreds of collective hours to help our schools thrive,” said ESD 112 superintendent Tim Merlino.

The Community Leadership awards, sponsored by the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), are presented to community members or groups to recognize their outstanding contributions to education. The recipients are nominated for providing services to students, leadership, motivation, success, partnerships with local districts, and history of service in the community.


The Golden Gavel award is presented to an individual, association or firm that has made an outstanding contribution to public education in the state of Washington. The Student Achievement Leadership Award recognizes innovative programs for the improvement of student achievement. The Award of Merit represents outstanding longtime educational leadership.


The 2019 WASA Award Recipients are:


Battle Ground School District

Mavis Nickels for her longtime service on the Battle Ground School Board, where she served on numerous committees at both the local and state level and always made decisions on “what’s best for kids.”

Ken Root for his service on the Battle Ground School Board after spending many years volunteering in the schools and community. Ken has a passion for the district’s homeless student population and is a tireless advocate for students in need.


Camas School District

Veronica Copeland for her commitment to serving students through participation on the Math Pathways Committee and District Equity Team. She currently chairs the Community Equity Board and has been instrumental in developing a district equity policy for positive change in Camas schools.


Heather and Rocky Fresh, who started the non-profit Camp Upward when they moved to Camas in 2014. The program provides students with positive summer activities and thoughtful skill building about choices and building community. The program has served nearly 300 students since its inception in Camas.


Centerville School District

Travis Gray for his dedication to volunteering for both student and staff activities at the school. Nicknamed the “assistant principal,” Travis volunteers in Centerville every Friday and serves in numerous capacities.


Lyle School District

Di Childers, a Lyle parent and grandparent for taking on a leadership role in helping to pass the district’s recent levy, resulting in over 70% passage rate.


Educational Service District 112

Washington Green Schools for their leadership in supporting professional development in climate science as a part of the ClimeTime statewide initiative.


Bill Marcum, President, Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce, for his advocacy of Career Connected Learning for students. With Career Connected Learning as his catalyst, Bill has already created over 35 new jobs locally.


Longview School District

Longview Rotary Literacy Committee, which distributes thousands of books each year to the children of the Longview community. Their commitment to literacy matches that of the Longview Public Schools where "Literacy is the most important thing we do."


Ridgefield School District

Georgianna Jones for her service on the district’s foundation and as campaign manager for the Citizens for Ridgefield Schools.


Scott Rose, the district’s construction manager (through R&C Management Group) for his leadership in shepherding the largest capital facilities plan in district history.


Stevenson-Carson School District

3 Squares Program for helping coordinate a program to provide meals and snacks to children in need. The program, through Shepherds of the Hills Lutheran Church, helps address hunger in the Gorge communities. Church and community volunteers pay for all expenses and manage administration of the program.   


Vancouver Public Schools

Dr. Alan Melnick and the team from Clark County Public Health who led efforts to contain a fast­

spreading measles outbreak that primarily affected youth. The outbreak resulted in 850 Southwest Washington students being excluded from school.  The public health team also worked to stem the outbreak by providing education to the public about the dangers of the measles and sharing

information about vaccinations.


Golden Gavel Award

Dr. Gene Sharratt for his contributions to public education over his distinguished 47-year career.  Gene has served as teacher, principal, superintendent, Associate Professor and led the Partnership for School Improvement, Washington Student Achievement Council and AESD/OSPI Network.  Beyond his professional leadership, Gene has been a positive, inspirational role model for many who serve public education today. Gene's legacy and impact on public education will carry on through the educational organizations he served, more importantly, through all the lives that have been touched by his mentorship. 


Student Achievement Leadership Award

Bill Oman, director of secondary schools for Evergreen Public Schools, for his leadership in the district’s growth of the graduation rate. Through creative programming, persistent support, and a focus on equity, EPS has improved their overall graduation rates from 80.1% (2014) to 87.5% (2018). In its hardest to serve populations, Mr. Oman and his team, have reformatted the district's alternative high school program, increased rigor and attendance standards, and have seen student success jump from a graduation rate of 17.1% in 2014 to 57.1% for the class of 2018. Evergreen has also accelerated the rate of growth for black students 70.1% to 80.7% and Hispanic students 70.3% to 84.8%.


Award of Merit

Doug Dearden, Superintendent of Trout Lake Schools, for his dedicated leadership for equal educational opportunities and adequate funding for small schools. As a member of the WASA Legislative and Finance Committee and Chair of the WASA Small Schools Committee, Doug's advocacy for students in our state's smallest schools has been passionate and effective. Doug is highly respected by his peers for his insight, collaboration, transparency and commitment to providing a quality public education, especially in rural school districts.






Volunteers Kelley Groen-Sieckmann from ESD 112/Prevent Coalition, and Sami Anderson and David Laux from Clark College ACES Club staff a Locks Save Lives table at PeaceHealth Southwest
Volunteers Kelley Groen-Sieckmann from ESD 112/Prevent Coalition, and Sami Anderson and David Laux from Clark College ACES Club staff a Locks Save Lives table at PeaceHealth Southwest
Drug Take-Back Event collects over 4,300 pounds of medicine (Photo) - 04/30/19

If you’ve ever been sat on by an adult male northern elephant seal, you can imagine the weight of the medications that were collected in Saturday’s three-county Drug Take-Back Event.

Sponsored by nearly three dozen community groups, the Drug Take Back Event collected a total of 4,311 pounds of medications and 1,307 pounds of Sharps at eight sites in Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties. That’s 633 pounds more of medications than were collected in a similar effort in October 2018.

Nearly half of the 1,623 participants reported it was their first time attending such an event. Compared with October’s event, the number of participants increased by 250.

“We’re pleased to see awareness is growing, and that people are seeing how important it is to properly dispose of unneeded and outdated medications—both to keep kids safe and to preserve the environment,” said Kelley Groen-Sieckmann, Prevent Coalition project coordinator.

The medications are boxed and transported for incineration by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Locks Save Lives campaign kicks off

The Take-Back Event also introduced the locally created Locks Saves Lives campaign at three sites, where volunteers encouraged families to lock up prescription medications, for their kids’ sake.

Nearly 100 lockboxes were given to families with youth in grades 6-12 in the home at the PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care and Battle Ground Police sites. Washougal Silver Star Search & Rescue promoted the campaign and surveyed participants about locking up their prescription medications.

“The war on drugs belongs to all of us,” said event attendee Marilyn Johnson, a parish nurse coordinator for Southwest Washington and a great-grandmother. “We must participate in any way that fits our circumstances, being aware and careful. Safe management of personal medications is a gift to your children and grandchildren.”

Starting May 1, you can “Take the Pledge to Lock Your Meds” and download a free toolkit for the Locks Save Lives campaign at The toolkit is designed as a platform for prevention coalitions and community organizations to implement in their communities. It encourages parents, grandparents and guardians with youth in grades 6-12 in the home to lock up their prescription pain meds to reduce youth access to prescription opioids.

Locks Save Lives has been localized for use in Washington State and includes materials for implementing the campaign nationwide.

It takes a community

The Drug Take-Back events started in 2010 with one Clark County site. This year’s eight-site event is funded in partnership with Washington State Health Care Authority and organized with assistance from the following community partners:  

  • Clark County Public Health
  • Clark County Green Neighbors
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • PeaceHealth
  • Battle Ground Police Department
  • Vancouver Police Department
  • Washougal Police Department
  • La Center Police Department
  • Ridgefield Police Department
  • Washougal Silver Star Search and Rescue
  • Skyline Hospital
  • Bingen-White Salmon Police Department
  • Skamania County Sheriff’s Office
  • Goldendale Police Department
  • Walgreens
  • Connect Evergreen
  • La Center United
  • Prevent Coalition
  • Prevent Together: Battle Ground Prevention Alliance
  • Unite! Washougal Community Coalition
  • Connect Evergreen
  • West Van for Youth
  • One Prevention Alliance
  • Our Klickitat Coalition
  • U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration

Our newest community partners are:

  • Americorps
  • Clark College ACES Club
  • Cowlitz Public Safety Department
  • Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health
  • Klickitat Valley Health

Unwanted medications can be disposed of year-round for free at several collection sites across Clark, Skamania and Klickitat Counties. For details on where to drop off medications for safe and proper disposal, visit

For more information, please visit:

Drug Take-Back Event and lock box giveaway to take place Saturday - 04/25/19

The No. 1 reason youth misuse prescription drugs is that they are easy to get—often from family and friends’ medicine cabinets.

That’s why nearly three dozen local community groups are taking action—hosting free DRUG TAKE-BACK events and raising awareness that LOCKS SAVE LIVES.

Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents of three Southwest Washington counties can safely dispose of all unused and leftover prescription and over-the-counter medications at eight Drug Take-Back Event locations. Plus, some participants will have the opportunity to receive a free lock box! 

Locks Save Lives

To encourage people to lock up their prescription medications, the community groups are giving away free lock boxes to the first 200 qualified people at two Drug Take-Back Event locations in Clark County—PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care and Battle Ground Police Department. Individuals can take a survey to determine if they qualify for a free lock box at

For more information about the event, contact Clark County Public Health at (564) 397-7352 or the Prevent Coalition at" target="_blank">, or see the event page at

These events are funded in partnership with Washington Health Care Authority.

For more information, please visit: