YPS Foundation awards 51 grants totaling $20,387

Teacher winners selected in random drawing; 96 applications received

Independence Intermediate fourth grader Will Poarch demonstrates the use of one of the massage cushions that teacher Kim Payne bought with her YPS Foundation for Excellence grant. Payne (center) explained to Foundation board members how the cushions benefit student learning in the classroom. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Fifty-one Yukon teachers have been awarded grants totaling $20,387.

Yukon Public Schools’ Foundation for Excellence received 96 applications in its annual grants-to-teachers program.


“The grants are up to $500 each,” YPS Foundation President Sauny Shedeck said. “I’m very pleased that many teachers applied.

“In the past, some teachers found it overwhelming to fill out the documents. D’Lynne (McDaniel, the YPS Foundation liaison) made it much easier this year.”

This year’s 51 grant recipients were notified after YPS Foundation trustees selected their names among all applicants in a random drawing last week. Winners come from all Yukon school district sites.

For more than 30 years, the non-profit YPS Foundation has helped augment the regular budget by providing grant funds for innovative school projects and other needs.

The Foundation funds everything from electronic equipment and reading materials to physical education supplies and classroom furnishings.

“Many teachers have been creative by applying (for grant funding) for something they don’t have, to help the kids,” Shedeck said.

“For example, one of the reading specialists turned in a need for badges and little supplies as rewards (to her students) for meeting their reading goals. They can display them on their backpacks; it was very unique.”

Since the early 1990s, the YPS Foundation has awarded grants totaling about $530,000 to Yukon educators.

The organization’s founders believed in promoting excellence in Yukon classrooms – and that quality education enhances the lives of students and the success of the community.

The late Milton and Jane Shedeck, Sauny’s grandparents, were among the Foundation’s founding “five-star” donors. Sauny Shedeck succeeded her father, Milo, on the board of trustees.

“I’m just trying to continue the stewardship of helping our local teachers,” she said.

YPS Foundation trustees raise money to provide the teacher grants, which are awarded each fall.

This fall, special T-shirts with the original Miller Man logo are being sold to benefit Yukon’s school foundation.

These keepsake shirts – in youth ($20) and adult ($25) sizes – are on sale at the Yukon Chamber of Commerce office, 10 W Main #130.

Other fund-raising benefits are being considered for next spring.

The YPS Foundation for Excellence also has issued a plea for volunteers to serve on its board.

“We’re open to welcoming new board members,” Shedeck said. “A lot of people have retired.”

For more details or to support the foundation, call D’Lynne McDaniel at (405) 354-2579.

Myers Elementary teacher Mykal Haun displays the plaque she received for winning a YPS Foundation for Excellence grant. Here, YPS Foundation trustees show off their Yukon Millers’ T-shirts with the original Miller Man logo, being sold to raise funds for future grant awards. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Parkland Elementary teacher Emily Murrow (left) is thrilled to receive her YPS Foundation for Excellence plaque. Murrow earned grant funding for a table-top light panel project. Also pictured here are YPS Foundation trustees Pam Shelton (center) and Neta Duke. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Tylar Pesina, a Central Elementary teacher, proudly holds her grant certificate. The YPS Foundation received 96 applications for funding. (Photo provided)
Ranchwood Elementary teacher Kayce Davis is happy to be one of the 51 grant winners. YPS Foundation board members are wearing T-shirts with the original Miller Man logo being sold as a fund-raising benefit. (Photo provided)
Parkland Elementary teacher Jamai Hirschler holds the plaque she was presented for receiving a YPS Foundation for Excellence grant to fund an active learning math and literacy project. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)


YPS Foundation trustees delivered certificates to the 51 grant recipients on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at Yukon’s 13 school sites.

Skyview Elementary School boasts the most winners, with eight.

Shedeck Elementary School follows with six recipients while Parkland Elementary School has five.

This year’s YPS Foundation for Excellence teacher honorees are:

  • Skyview Elementary School: Megan Simpson, Erica Blystone, Autumn Wood, Candice Moy, Mandy McDaniel, Nicole Baldwin, Nicole DeVault, and Charissa Spruill.
  • Lakeview Intermediate School: Vicki Bonny, Jennifer Christensen, Carrie Abrams, and Shauna Walker.
  • Yukon High School: DeLora Mowery, Jessica Parker, Rachel Allred, and Abreaunna Raizola.
  • Independence Intermediate School: Sarah McLain, Kim Payne, Sandra Winn, and Laura Reilly.
  • Parkland Elementary School: Megan Hayes, Kim Humphrey, Jamai Hirschler, Amanda Miranda, and Emily Murrow.
  • Myers Elementary School: Mykal Haun, Wendy Green, Rachel Milner, and Samantha Pierce.
  • Ranchwood Elementary School: Rachel Rowe, Kayce Davis, Elizabeth Argraves, and Lindsey Willetts.
  • Shedeck Elementary School: Jacob Benner, Susan Scavitto, Amanda Chatelain, Tiffany Hadden, Sheila Zerby, and Jennie Wilmes.
  • Yukon Middle School: Marcia Heitzman, Summer Ward, Sabrina Beasley, and Amy Morey.
  • Central Elementary School: Gayla Pounds and Tylar Pesina.
  • Yukon Alternative Learning Experience (YALE): Maria Schoen and Alison Bryant.
  • Redstone Intermediate School: Stephanie Parker and Skylar Beadel.
  • Surrey Hills Elementary School: Yeneer Oruru and Amy Proctor.
Shedeck Elementary teacher Jennie Wilmes is recognized for her YPS Foundation grant award. Shedeck Principal Scott Hein joins Foundation board members in the celebration. (Photo provided)
Yukon Middle School teacher Summer Ward is congratulated as one of the school district’s 51 grant recipients. (Photo provided)
Skyview Elementary led the pack with eight grant winners, including teacher Autumn Wood. Skyview Principal Carla Smith (right) helps offer congrats. (Photo provided)
Rachel Allred is among four Yukon High School grant honorees. (Photo provided)