Landings Credit Union honors TUHSD teachers for leadership, dedication to students

Landings Credit Union presented four Tempe Union High School teachers with their annual “I’m [IN]vested Awards”. Awardees are nominated by their peers and selected by a panel of Landings Credit Union judges.

Here are the 2018 award recipients:

I’m Dist[IN]guished Service Award: Ivan Barkdoll from McClintock

I’m a Sh[IN]ing Star: Taylor Jones of Tempe High School

I’m Extraord[IN]ary Award: Erica Encinas from Desert Vista High School

I’m [IN]fluential Award: Kim McElwain from McClintock High School


 I’m Dist[IN]guished Service Award: Ivan Barkdoll, McClintock High School

Landings Credit Union 2018 Award: Ivan Barkdoll

The “I’m Dist[IN]guished Service” award honors exceptional performance by an employee with 10+ years of service to the district. This employee shows pride in their work, continually goes above and beyond in their position, is a leader in their area and is dedicated to the district and community.

Ivan Barkdoll teaches Academy Pre-Calculus, AP Statistics and AP Chemistry at McClintock High School. He is well-liked by students, and many choose to have him for all three courses throughout their tenure while at McClintock and the Peggy Payne Academy.

“Ivan is one of a kind, he is an amazing math and science teacher that inspires students to not only be great math students but also to be great people,” his nomination read.

Barkdoll is known to use several creative strategies to teach, such as his annual pumpkin carving contest, turkey bowling and Math Olympics. He is constantly showing support for his students by arriving to school early and staying late to help with assignments and projects.

In addition to teaching, he serves as a sponsor for Senior Class, National Honor Society and Science Olympiad. He regularly attends varsity football games and many basketball games. He is at the fine arts events and helps out with lunchtime activities.  

His support spreads to every corner of campus. He sends out thank you cards to teachers that chaperone the Homecoming Dance, and sponsors a breakfast, on behalf of Senior Class, for all staff members every spring.


I’m a Sh[IN]ing Star: Taylor Jones, Tempe High School

Landings Credit Union 2018 Awards: Taylor Jones

The  I’m a Sh[IN]ing Star” award honors exceptional performance by an employee with three years or less of service in the district. This person is a valuable member of their team, always strives to learn and do more, demonstrates pride in all they do and has made a positive impact during their time of service.

Taylor Jones is in her third year of teaching at Tempe High School and is a rising leader. Armed with a master’s degree in Education Technology, she has become the go-to person in her department for technology in the classroom. She offers resources for her students online, including testing and organized study material to access after the school bell rings. She mentors incoming teachers at the beginning the year to help them creating complete curriculum, activities, tests as well as quizzes, remediations and enrichments.

Jones serves as the lead teacher for the Biology International Baccalaureate. She teaches first year and second year higher-level biology to juniors and seniors to prepare them for the IB test at the end of the year. She also teaches Honors Human Anatomy.

This year, Jones has become the co-director of the HOPE Medical Academy. She also serves as the leader of the Biology Professional Learning Community, where she guides her fellow education professionals through the process of implementing common assessments and curriculum. This year, she is a member of the School Improvement Team and works with teachers and administration to help implement the school goals.


I’m Extraord[IN]ary Award: Erica Encinas, Desert Vista High School

Landings Credit Union 2018 Awards: Erica Encinas

The “I’m Extraord[IN]ary Award” is presented to an employee who consistently goes above and beyond their assigned responsibilities to ensure a project or activity happens. They give exceptional support to others and show dedication to students and staff.

Señora Erica Encinas, who teaches Honors Spanish 7-8 and Honors Spanish 9-10 at Desert Vista High School, inspires her students through her creativity and passion for the language and the culture.

Señora Encinas helps teach her students the Spanish language by organizing events that serve the communities in the U.S. and Mexico. During the fall, she takes her students to the Salvation Army to translate for Hispanic families in need for the Angel Tree Project.

She also organizes a service project, which brings students down to Mexico to build houses, serve food and pick up trash. This experience gives students opportunity to learn the language from native speakers.

Señora Encinas also takes students to the Mission in Tucson. While there, they visit the University of Arizona to meet with the Spanish department to explore options in higher education.

In the summer, Señora Encinas annually travels to Spain with a group of students to improve their skills and learn more about the Spanish culture. While on the trip, students live with families and attend school.


I’m [IN]fluential Award: Kim McElwain, McClintock High School

Landings Credit Union 2018: Kim McElwain

The “I’m [IN]fluential Award” goes to an employee who exhibits leadership, inspires others to take pride in their work, and significantly impacts others with their actions.

Kim McElwain teaches AP Government, AP Economics and Criminal Justice at McClintock High School, and also serves as Department Chair for the Social Studies Department.

McElwain is kind, caring and always has a great attitude in and out of the classroom. Her students enjoy her class and have tremendous success on the AP Exam every year.

McElwain has touched many areas of campus aside from teaching throughout her tenure at MHS, including working as the assistant Cheer Coach, serving on the Administrative Council, and acting as the TSEA President and Co-President for several years.

Congratulations to our teachers for this honor!