Valley View staff member earns Columbia Heights Schools ‘Employee of the Year’

Shari Gestson, the Administrative Assistant to the Principal of Valley View, is the Columbia Heights Public Schools 2016-2017 Employee of the Year. Gestson, who attended district schools from third grade on, is the eighth recipient of the award.

Columbia Heights Public Schools Employee of the Year Shari Gestson (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)

Gestson was surprised when she was announced as the Employee of the Year at a recent Administrative Professionals’ Day event.

“I feel so honored to be chosen and it is extra special because I am a graduate of Columbia Heights,” Gestson said. “I am so proud to be able to work in the community that I grew up in and to serve all our wonderful families.”

“We are delighted with the selection of Shari Gestson as the Columbia Heights Employee of the Year,” said Supt. Kathy Kelly. “Ms. Gestson does a superb job of executing her responsibilities; she knows her job inside and out and is an incredible asset to Columbia Heights Public Schools, her Principal, staff, students and families.”

Gestson has been the principal’s secretary at Valley View for the past 11 years. Her supervisor and soon to be retired Principal Willie Fort said the entire school is proud of and for Gestson.

“Shari Gestson is the consummate professional secretary; she is personable, high energy, efficient, a multi-tasker, role model and mother to us all,” Fort said. “Shari is very well liked, highly-skilled and extremely competent; she sets a positive tone in the office that spreads to the rest of our school.”

The major themes from her five nominations are caring, competent, customer service oriented and commitment to her school and district.

“Shari is an amazing woman who treats every family, staff member, child with compassion and a caring heart,” wrote one nominator. “She is the heart of our elementary school.” A second wrote, “Shari is the consummate school employee; she is personable, efficient, organized and consistently maintains a positive office atmosphere.” “She holds us all accountable and makes sure things get done correctly,” another wrote.

Regarding customer service, another offered, “Her positive attitude when interacting with parents, staff, and administrations is always a model we follow.” Another added, “Shari is a former Heights graduate and demonstrates her love for our district daily.”

“Ms. Gestson exemplifies the very best of Height Pride,” added Supt. Kelly. “She is a true Hylander” another nominator added.

To be eligible for Employee of the Year, individuals must be a current employee of the district, have worked at least three full years and not received the recognition before. A committee reviews the nominations and makes a selection based on criteria including work ethic, demonstration of “Heights Pride,” exemplary performance and more.