Westwood Middle School

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2023 Classified Staff of the Year

Cheney Public Schools is pleased to share that nutrition services employee Rita Whittaker was named Cheney Public Schools’ Classified Employee of the Year in a surprise announcement at Sunset Elementary on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. 


The award celebrates a classified staff member who has exhibited outstanding work performance and has contributed significantly to student or program success and to the betterment of the school district. Rita Whittaker serves as the Kitchen Lead at Westwood Middle School, yet took on the role of interim kitchen lead at Sunset Elementary when the need arose.


Ms. Whittaker received two nominations, one by Nutrition Services Interim Director Kellisa Kulm and the other by the Westwood Administrative Team, who wrote the following in their nomination: “Rita strives to support the needs of all our students because she truly cares about them. Rita also creates a caring work environment in the kitchen for her nutrition services staff to lift them up personally and professionally.”


In the nomination letter submitted by Nutrition Services Interim Director Kellisa Kulm it was shared that Ms. Whittaker is known for her willingness to step in and help other schools as well as serve as an important part of the training team in nutrition services.


“Rita is dedicated to the development and education of new employees in the Nutrition Services Department. She does this by connecting with and training new and continuing employees on best practices as well as being a mentor” wrote Kulm in her nomination letter.


Congratulations to Ms. Rita Whittaker! The district is fortunate that she has chosen to share her dedication and drive with the children and staff of Cheney Public Schools.