News & Notes: Here’s What’s Happening Around the Northwest

OnPoint Community Credit Union Honors Teachers with Excellence in Education Prize

OnPoint Community Credit Union President/CEO Rob Stuart (left) and KGW-TV anchor Joe Donlon celebrate with Educators of the Year Elizabeth Lawson and Susan Bartley after their awards were announced Thursday on live television.

Elizabeth Lawson, a 5th-grade teacher at Crestline Elementary School in Vancouver, and Susan Bartley, an English and leadership teacher at Franklin High School in Portland, have been named Educators of the Year by OnPoint Community Credit Union.

The annual OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education recognizes exceptional teachers throughout Oregon and southwest Washington for their ability to encourage creativity, inspire and positively impact their students. Every year, hundreds of teachers are nominated by their peers, students, parents and communities for the OnPoint Prize.

As Educators of the Year, Lawson and Bartley will have their mortgages paid by OnPoint for a full school year. In addition, the credit union will donate $1,000 to each of their schools for resources and supplies.

“Our annual OnPoint Prize celebrates extraordinary teachers whose work sparks enthusiasm and passion in students and their parents,” says Rob Stuart, OnPoint’s president and CEO. “This award is an opportunity to recognize educators who make a difference in the lives of students and the communities where we live.”

Lawson, the K-8 Educator of the Year, was recognized for creating an environment of engaged students built on mutual trust, empowerment and critical thinking. An inspirational leader among peers, Lawson works collaboratively with teachers, parents and students to create a community of lifelong learners.

Lawson’s teaching methods are recognized in professional development courses, and she presented on the importance of providing critical thinking opportunities for students living in poverty at the National Council of Teachers of English annual conference in 2013.

Bartley, the 9-12 Educator of the Year, has been instrumental in developing Advanced Placement classes and the Advanced Scholar Program at Franklin. Her focus on diversity and equity work has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of students of color, Special Education students and English Language Learners in the school’s AP program.

Bartley is the recipient of the Council Trenholm Memorial Award from the National Education Association as part of its 2013 Human and Civil Rights awards, and is a founding member of the College Essay Writing Project with Literary Arts Portland.

In addition to Lawson and Bartley’s awards, OnPoint is honoring four finalists who will each receive $500 for themselves and $500 for their schools. The finalists are:

  • Dian Christensen (K-8 finalist), who teaches physical education at Sunnyside Environmental School in Portland;
  • Meg Greiner (K-8 finalist), who teaches physical education at Independence Elementary School in Independence;
  • Rachel Davidson (9-12 finalist), a science teacher at Centennial High School in Gresham; and
  • Ryan Rowley (9-12 finalist), who teaches agriculture science and technology at Sheridan High School in Sheridan.

Gesa Credit Union Announces Winners of $25,000 in Educational Scholarships

Gesa Credit Union has announced the recipients of its 2014 Gesa Educational Scholarships, awarding $25,000 to 11 local students.

Gesa, which is based in Richland, Washington, has been offering scholarships to new college students since 1987. Winning students attend colleges and universities throughout the country and represent diverse backgrounds and educational goals. Applicants were selected by a volunteer committee of Gesa members who also serve the community in a variety of leadership positions.

“Education is important to our economy and our local community. Here at Gesa, we recognize the importance of our role as a dedicated community partner,” says Gesa President and CEO Don Miller. “Helping students achieve their educational dreams not only benefits the student, but it brings tremendous benefit to our communities.”

Kaileah Akker, a student at Kamiakin High School, was awarded the $5,000 President’s Choice Scholarship. Ten students received $2,000 Gesa Educational Scholarships:

  • Jose Anguiano, Kamiakin High School;
  • Trevan Strean, Cashmere High School;
  • Sabrina Habib, Chiawana High School;
  • Tiara Johnson, Kamiakin High School;
  • Courtney Sarver, Kamiakin High School;
  • Daisy Rodriguez, Kennewick High School;
  • Kathleen Burnett, Prosser High School;
  • Amanda Miller, Kamiakin High School;
  • Alyssa Parra, Pasco High School; and
  • Courtney Lybbert, Southridge High School.

With this year’s awards, the credit union has now given $220,000 to deserving local students.

Columbia Credit Union Names Darcie Williams Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager

Columbia Credit Union has promoted Darcie Williams to assistant vice president and manager of its Washougal branch. She replaces Ed Hakanovic, who now manages the credit union’s EastRidge branch in Vancouver.

Williams will be responsible for ensuring the branch’s overall success and meeting goals for production, sales, service and market growth. She will develop and initiate plans for staff leadership and development; ensure branch compliance with regulations and policies; and assist in advancing the strategic direction of credit union.

“Darcie started as the Washougal assistant branch manager in 2013,” says Paul Stednitz, Columbia’s vice president branch services. “She has demonstrated the leadership, sales, service and management skills necessary to drive our success in the Camas?Washougal market. We look forward to her contributions.”

Williams has 14 years of industry experience and stays active in the community through memberships with the Camas/Washougal and Greater Vancouver chambers of commerce.

“Columbia Credit Union is known for providing outstanding member service,” Williams says. “I look forward to giving members the best branch experience possible, and to growing our relationship with the Camas?Washougal community.”

Two New Employees Join STCU’s Community Relations Team

STCU has added two new employees to key roles on its community relations team:

  • Marianne McCormack is the credit union’s new community relations officer. In her new role, McCormack will organize and support community events, present volunteer opportunities to STCU staff, and help guide STCU’s philanthropic giving. A native of Oakesdale, Wash., she earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Montana and most recently worked as a news producer and special project coordinator for KREM-TV.
  • Erik Puthoff joins the credit union as a community development officer. He will present student and adult financial education workshops and work to deepen STCU’s relationship with its community business partners and community organizations. Puthoff earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Eastern Washington University and most recently worked as marketing director at Spokane City Credit Union.

Questions about this story? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216,

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