Best teacher

Deb Kruse  (Presidio)

Deb Kruse has taught kindergarten, music appreciation, has been a reading tutor, and since 2009, has taught first grade at Presidio School.  

“I absolutely love teaching first grade. I teach with lots of music and movement, and with a spirit of expectation to learn something new every day. A teacher must be a student of life, always.”  While completing her degree through Prescott College, she was a teachers’ aide in the Vail School District, which she considers an excellent preparation for teaching.  “I saw many different styles of teaching, and many ways of handling discipline. Those observations helped me form my own philosophy and practices.”

2nd place

Veronica Valenzuela (Thornydale Elementary)

Veronica Valenzuela has spent her 10-year teaching career at Thornydale Elementary.  In that time, she has taught Kindergarten and currently teaches first grade. The love for teaching started early when she would play school with her sisters and stuffed animals (whom she says were all great students)! She is dedicated to the success and well-being of her students and school community. She takes pride in being a teacher.

3rd place

Chris Iannario (Immaculate Heart Academy)

No information provided

Best volunteers

Golden Goose

Made up of more of a staff of more than 500 volunteers, Golden Goose Thrift Shop is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and its third year in its new location in Catalina. Staff of the Golden Goose is always ready to dedicate time and attention to the multitude of customers who walk through the doors each day to shop for a variety of goods. Made up of mostly retired individuals, the volunteer staff is always smiling, knowledgeable, and ready to give back to the community, as Golden Goose is a non-profit organization that benefits the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach and Catalina Community Services.

Heidi Radke

Heide Radtke has become well-known in the education community, not only as a very involved parent volunteer at Painted Sky Elementary, but as president of the Amphi Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to better the educational opportunities of students in the district through fundraising and community awareness. Additionally, Radtke can regularly be found at the Amphi Clothing Bank, where she offers clothes to Amphi students and their families who are in financial need.

Best police officer

Steve Culbertson  (TPD)

Sgt. Steve Culbertson is a graduate of Amphitheater High School. He has been with the Tucson Police Department for 15 years.

Notable accomplishments include being a driving instructor for 24 years. He developed many training courses in all types of vehicle operations. 

He developed and ran the first TPD Citizen Police Academy in 1995.

He developed, implemented and currently run the Safe Teen Accident Recovery Training (START) program in 2005. The program has taught accident avoidance skills to over 4,000 teens throughout the southwest in the past eight years.

Kevin Bargar  (PCS)

 No information was provided.

Wendy Davis (OVPD)

Officer Wendy Davis has been with the Oro Valley Police Department since August 1998.  Officer Davis is currently assigned as the School Resource Officer at Painted Sky Elementary School in Oro Valley where she is accepted as part of the school staff. 

Chief Danny Sharp (OVPD)

Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp continues to be a popular fixture in the Oro Valley community. More recently, the respected chief has gained national attention for his continued effort to keep police officers inside local schools as part of the School Resource program. 

Best firefighter

Brent Culbertson (TFD)

Brent was hired with the Tucson Fire Deparmtent in January of 2008, having now worked for the city for over five years.  He currently holds the rank of firefighter and is assigned to Ladder 07.  He’s worked at Station 7 for the last two years on both the engine and ladder.

Pete  Baxter (TFD)

Pete was hired by TFD in September of 1989.  He promoted to the position of Engineer in February of 1996.  He has been an Engineer at Station 21 for the last six years and is approaching 24 years of service with TFD.







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