OLYMPIA — An employee of Vancouver Public Schools who works with homeless students was named state Classified School Employee of the Year on Friday by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Anne Galvas serves as the homeless liaison for the district, and coordinates the school district’s Homeless Outreach Promoting Education program.
OSPI Chief of Staff Ken Kanikeberg presented the award to a flustered and excited Galvas.
“We do what we do because it is the right thing, and we love it, not for recognition,” she told the audience of about 50.
Galvas said afterward that winning made her feel awkward, because she is not used to speaking in front of people, but also very grateful.
Her work with HOPE assists homeless families and youth in Vancouver. Through HOPE, homeless families with school-aged children have the option to meet with individuals like Galvas to register their children for school, arrange transportation to and from school, and to receive tutoring and school supplies.
Galvas said her activities vary by day, but she often spends time arranging for transportation for homeless youth or working with at-risk students.
She has been homeless liaison for Vancouver Public Schools for six years, and said she’s glad the award will bring attention to the homeless program in Vancouver.
“I had over 650 kids and families last year who needed help,” she said, adding that she expects that number to be greater at the end of this year.
OSPI gives the award to classified school employees who display outstanding work performance, professional leadership and collaboration, or other unique qualities, according to a state website.
Vancouver administrator Karla Schlosser, who nominated Galvas for the award, said she wanted Galvas to win because she does not seek recognition for herself. Schlosser is Galvas’ supervisor and the special services administrator for Vancouver Public Schools.
“She goes the extra mile for at-risk students, and tirelessly works with homeless families,” Schlosser said. “She’s really a helper, she makes every situation into a positive.”
Galvas was one of eight classified school employees statewide nominated for the award. Some traveled to Olympia from as far as Spokane or Moses Lake.