Neah-Kah-Nie School District Staff, Students, and Community,

Congratulations to the Neah-Kah-Nie School District Employee Treasure Awards recipients for first trimester, Carol Richmond and Ruben Bitts!  As always, it was very difficult for the Employee Recognition Committee to select our two outstanding recipients because there were so many qualified candidates. Carol was recognized by three staff members.  Ruben’s nomination letter reaffirmed what is obvious to anyone who enters Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School, Ruben is an outstanding, positive, and humble educator.

Carol Richmond

Nomination #1:

Carol Richmond has worked for the Neah-Kah-Nie School District for over thirty years, initially, as an instructional assistant, and for many years as the Director of Payroll & Benefits, her current position. Carol is one of the first school district employees new employees meet with to arrange for payroll and benefits. She is also the district employee veteran staff meet with when they retire or resign. How fortunate, and unique, for the Neah-Kah-Nie School District to have such a valuable employee as Carol! In a few years, Carol will be able to say to an employee, “Thirty years ago, I assisted you

with your new employee paperwork, now I am helping with your PERS retirement paperwork.”

Carol is a trusted employee with varied responsibilities. In addition to payroll & benefits, she is in charge of volunteer registration, field trip requests, absence reports, facilities use forms, and she provides financial data to employee groups during contract negotiations. Carol is not only highly respected in the Neah-Kah-Nie School District for her quality of work, but is highly regarded by her colleagues regionally for her acute understanding of payroll & benefit law including wage and hour law and family leave law.

Carol is a “local gal” who was born, raised, and educated in the boundaries of the Neah-Kah-Nie School District. She understands local culture and personally knows many students, their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. She is a vital link between the school district and Rockaway Beach community.

Carol is always positive and welcoming to anyone who walks through her office door. She is treasured by the employees of the Neah-Kah-Nie School District and deserves the Neah-Kah-Nie Treasure Award.

Nomination #2:

These are just a few of our district goals that Carol Richmond personifies in her day to day work as our Benefits/Payroll Guru (and she does so much more than that). We are the adult learners and she is a skillful teacher who has made insurance language more comprehensible, BOLI regulations explainable and useable, and PERS … O K, well that still feels like the ever changing world of Quantum Physics… but she gets us experts and lets us pick their brains too … and it is starting to make sense. When Carol gets people to, “Come out and explain it.” To me that means I better to get there and pay attention, because there will be more to learn than I thought.

Carol has also been a lifeline to many of us when our whole world has been knocked off its axis. In my case it was when my father was diagnosed with Jung cancer. A co-worker knowingly took me aside and told me to call Carol, that she would be able to help me. Carol compassionately and calmly explained what I needed to know about FEMLA, OFLA, and a little bit about life too, and later on about Bereavement leave. She set me up with the forms I needed, all highlighted and Idiot proof, so it was easy for me and the doctors do what needed done. And then in September when I was back home caring for my dying father. She tracked me down, out of state, because she noticed that I hadn’t done my insurance enrollment yet. I only had 2 days and I was hundreds of miles away and I was going to lose my children’s medical coverage for a year. Carol got me in contact with the right people who could help me sign up over the phone due to the circumstances. She truly was a lifeline. In these few years since I have had occasion to take a few coworkers aside to knowingly tell them to call Carol she knows what to do and she will help them. There are quite a few of us out there now.

On the good of’ relatively normal days she is remarkable too. She catches our time card errors, and without criticism, lets us fix our mistakes; Not to mention plenty of notice for mileage Jogs. She helps with union questions and sick leave pools.  There are just too many things to fit in one page but here is one more. Did you know that Carol sorting the district mail into those totes and getting them moving every day is what made district wide Inter-library loans for staff and students possible?

It is up to this committee to decide whether to award Carol this honor. Yet the honest truth is that Carol makes a huge contribution to educating us and helping us practice make informed decisions is the kind of peer I would like to be. She is a treasure and she is deeply treasured by many.

Nomination #3:

I would like to nominate Carol Richmond for the Treasure Award. Carol does so much for the district it is hard to quantify her role. Her official title is Payroll, Benefits and Accounts receivable, but she does so much more. Carol is the person everyone turns to when there is a question we can’t find the answer to. She is very knowledgeable about PERS, and has arranged for representatives to come to share out information with district employees. She has helped walk employees through the paper work for FEM LA and OLFA, (family leave) and the decision of which applies to their individual situation. Every year Carol comes to our buildings to help with insurance sign ups. Carol is a long time NKN employee, and a fellow NKN graduate, she deserves this recognition and so much more. Her organizational skills are unparalleled, Carol makes her job look easy, but only because she is so forward thinking.

Ruben Bitts

Ruben is our school’s PBIS coordinator. Without his work in developing a handbook, sand dollar system, and collaboration with staff, NKNMS would not have the same positive school climate. He models the use of PBIS by continually carrying sand dollars with him and specifically citing to students their positive behaviors warranting the sand dollar. Students are excited to do well and enjoy the recognition.

Ruben also has coordinated with the Northwest Regional Education Service District and Gaston School for Outdoor School. He put in innumerable hours to coordinate the paperwork, medications and collaboration with the nurse, and letters home to parents. He facilitated a very positive partnership with high school and college staff (who were working at Outdoor School) as well as the ESD. Ruben facilitated class meetings to discuss Outdoor School with students, have them prepare a journal, and learn about it in general so as to minimize anxieties and maximize interest. This also increased he positive school climate at NKNMS.

Ruben has rounded up me and Fred to discuss PBIS, collaborate on Outdoor School materials and planning, discuss the AR program and implementation as well as keyboarding implementation. He has humbly served as a leader for the 6th grade.

Without his openness, focus, and perseverance, the 6th grade climate would not be as it is.

Thank you, Ruben.

Carol and Ruben will receive $25 gift certificates to The Hook Line and Sinker restaurant in Garibaldi.  They will be recognized in front of their peers and students for their outstanding service to Neah-Kah-Nie School District and presented with Treasure Award plaques.  Large photos will also be proudly displayed at the district office and middle school acknowledging our Treasure Award recipients.

Please continue to recognize our true treasures by nominating employees for this prestigious award.


Neah-Kah-Nie School District Employee Recognition Committee


District Office

504 N.Third Ave/PO Box 28 Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Phone: 503-355-2222

Fax: 503-355-3434

Garibaldi Grade School

604 Cypress Ave/PO Box317 Garibaldi, OR 97118

Phone: 503-322-0311

Fax: 503-322-2193

Nehalem Elementary

36300 Eighth St/PO Box 190 Nehalem, OR 97131

Phone: 503-355-3650

Fax: 503-368-7721

Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School

25111 Hwy 101 N Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Phone: 503-355-2990

Fax: 503-355-8514

Neah-Kah-Nie High School

24705 Hwy 101 N Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Phone: 503-355-2272

Fax: 503-355-8200