A Star for Yukon Schools

District recognizes Brazell as ‘Support Employee of the Year’

YPS Support Employee of the Year Star Brazell (left) is recognized by Assistant Superintendent Diana Lebsack during the 2023 Teacher of the Year Event on April 27 at LifeChurch-Yukon, 1001 E Main. Brazell works at Independence Intermediate School. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Star Brazell has been honored as the Preston James Support Employee of the Year for Yukon Public Schools.

Brazell was selected as the Yukon school district’s 2022-23 Preston James Support Employee of the Year for “going above and beyond” for students and “having such a positive impact on so many lives.”

The Yukon woman’s vast contributions to Independence Intermediate School were highlighted during the YPS Teacher of the Year Event on April 27 at Life Church-Yukon, 1001 E Main.

“The principals and staff at Independence think the world of Star,” YPS Assistant Superintendent Diana Lebsack said.

Brazell was selected as YPS Support Employee of the Year by a committee of community volunteers.

Lebsack cited the “phenomenal assistance giving daily by our support personnel.”

“This year, like always, there were lots of deserving nominees,” she told the audience.

Brazell rose to the top of the list.

IIS Principal Amy Young referred to a quote from Mother Teresa:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”

Brazell creates many ripples every day in her work at Independence and her community, she added.

“She wakes up each day, works hard, tackles challenges, and operates as a good human with a strong world compass,” Lebsack noted.

This marks the 10th year the Yukon school district has named a Support Employee of the Year. Past winners are:

Charla King (2014), Kelli Smith (2015), Pam Blurton (2016), Nancy Novosad (2017), Brad Mitchell (2018), Rhonda DuPriest (2019), Dianna Mann (2020), Susi Rea (2021), and Gaye Jeck and Janis Jordahl (2022).



The annual award is named for Preston James, a longtime Yukon school district employee known for his tireless work ethic.

James exemplified what it means to “lead with a servant’s heart,” according to Lebsack.

“Preston took a tremendous amount of pride in his work to keep the Yukon campuses and grounds beautiful,” she said. “For those who knew him, he was always described as treating everyone with respect and care.

“Preston served as a role model for how to approach the jobs we have been called to do each and every day.”

Here are excerpts from nomination letters that demonstrate why Brazell embodies the spirit of the YPS Support Employee of the Year award:

  • “Star does so much that no one really knows. She is the one that will braid a student’s hair if they have a bad morning. She is the one that will take a student to the clothing closet if they’re having a clothing emergency. She is the one that gathers donations for families that have lost their home due to fire or if the parent has left an abusive relationship. She is the one that brings dinner to the staff member that has had surgery or been ill. She is the one that gathered donations for our longtime custodian that moved back to Mexico to care for her aging parents. She gathered enough donations to pay for gas, hotel and food to get home. Star made that happen. She does all those things because she’s a wonderful human, not because she wants recognition.”
  • “Our students see Mrs. Star as their ‘school mom’, their biggest cheerleader, the one that will hold them accountable with tough love when they don’t make the best decisions, and the one that will take care of them when they just need extra attention.”