IPSF and PTA leaders team up to recognize outstanding service to schools and students

A Brywood Elementary mom has been named Parent Volunteer of the Year by the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

Kathy Brook-Wong

Recognized in large part for her efforts to promote recycling, Kathy Brook-Wong was surprised with the accolade last week at the annual IUSD Volunteer of the Year Awards luncheon, sponsored by IPSF and the Irvine Unified Council PTA.

In all, 41 top volunteers were honored at the event, which was held at the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center on June 3. Grade-level awards were given to Kristin Batoy of Northwood Elementary School, Jennifer Krause of Lakeside Middle School and Laura Leith of Irvine High School and that means their schools will each receive a $500 grant courtesy of IPSF.

Brywood earns a $700 grant in honor of Brook-Wong, a tireless volunteer and passionate advocate for recycling who is credited with changing the attitudes and actions of students.

“Recycling is the right thing to do for our community and our world,” she said. “Children need many opportunities to learn new things, because it helps them become more likely to be innovative, active citizens.”

In addition to IPSF’s awards for parent volunteers, the PTA also presented its Honorary Service Awards in recognition of outstanding service to children and youth.

Steffanie Early, president of the Irvine Unified Council PTA, took home the PTA Golden Oak Service Award – this is considered the most prestigious PTA award in California – for raising awareness of the state funding crisis and encouraging community support for schools.

“Steffanie uses her amazing gifts of communication and professional talent to reach out to the community and bring everyone together to work towards what is best for all children,” former IUCPTA President Kim Axene said. “All of our students have benefited from her leadership.”

In addition, the PTA’s Very Special Person Award was presented to Anne Jonas, the PTA Continuing Service Award was given to Linda Lang Pierce and Honorary Service Awards went to Debbie Rugani of IPSF, Julie Hudash of Team Kids and a trio from IUSD. Board of Education member Mike Parham, Maintenance and Operations Director Joe Hoffman and Math and Science Coordinator Mark Sontag were recognized for their efforts to promote conservation and sustainability.