Mistine Turner, a paraeducator in Clover Park School District’s transportation department, received an “Above and Beyond” award from Sure-Lok, a manufacturer of wheelchair securements and occupant restraint systems, at the Washington Association for Pupil Transportation conference.
“This award was a total surprise and caught me off guard,” said Turner. “I’m proud to be honored, but I’m a very unassuming person, so it’s a little uncomfortable in the spotlight.”
Turner works with special needs wheelchair students on their way to and from school, making sure they are safe and secured. She received the award for her dedication to her profession and for her contagious spirit and upbeat attitude.
“Mistine always greets each student by name and with a smile,” said Delphie Nielsen, director of transportation. “The safety of her students is her first priority, followed closely by their mental well-being. While students are loading and being secured, she quizzes them on math and spelling facts, asks about their weekend or inquires about what they have planned for school that day—these conversations happen whether the student is able to speak or not—so that every student departs for school with a happy and positive outlook.”
Turner has worked for the district for 25 years and, in addition to her normal duties, assists with the district’s participation in the Special Needs Roadeo Competition and with wheelchair securement and ramp operation for driver and paraeducator recertification during summer training. She also volunteers on several departmental committees and is one of the first people to help coworkers in need.
“Mistine has always taken great care of my son,” said a district parent. “She sings and dances and doesn’t hesitate to embarrass herself to make him laugh. He cannot wait to get on the bus every day!”
When she’s not at work, Turner is busy with her own children, 13- and nine-year-old daughters. She also enjoys reading.