Forty-two State Corrections Employees in Thurston County Win Awards


Submitted by Department of Corrections Washington State

Forty-two state corrections employees working in Thurston County have received DOC Annual Agency Awards.

The awards recognize employees for their continuous, outstanding work to improve public safety by positively changing lives as demonstrated by their accomplishments throughout the previous year.

Each year, staff members are nominated for the awards by their colleagues. A total of 169 DOC employees across the state received agency awards out of a pool of 930 nominations.

“Each award recipient serves as a role model for their dedication and service to the department,” said Secretary Stephen Sinclair. “It’s a pleasure to be able to recognize our employees who go above and beyond to keep our communities and facilities safe.”

One recipient works at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center, a minimum security prison in Bordeaux, Wash., that houses 489 male inmates. The rest work among the department’s headquarters in Tumwater and various administrative offices throughout Thurston County.

Due to the governor’s Stay home – Stay healthy order in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the department has postponed its regular Agency Awards ceremony normally held in April. Corrections plans to recognize employees in a formal ceremony at a later date.

The following awards were given to corrections employees in Thurston County:

Cedar Creek Corrections Center

  • Correctional Officer of the Year: Matthew Knight, Corrections Officer

Headquarters (Tumwater)

  • Outstanding Performer:  Yvy Nyhammer, Fiscal Analyst
  • Outstanding Performer: James Santella,Facilities Senior Planner
  • Community Partnership:
    • Lara Strick,Health Services Physician
    • Dawn Taylor, Corrections Specialist
  • Excellence in Service:
    • Tom Georg, Assistant Comptroller
    • Karie Rainer, Mental Health Director
  • Team Excellence (Incident Management Team):
    • Charlotte Headley, Security Operations Program Manager
    • Greg Miller, Emergency Operations Manager
    • Jamison Roberts, Emergency Management Program Specialist
    • Stephanie Roe, IT Management Analyst
    • Renee Swenson, Regional Business Manager
    • Christopher Welch, Information Technology Specialist
    • Jose Zuniga, Electronic Security Systems Manager
  • Team Excellence (Strength in Families Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry & Mobility—ReFORM):
    • Sarah ‘Maurya’ Ayala, Management  Analyst
    • Lisa Battson, Corrections Specialist
    • Amy Czerwinski, Corrections Specialist
    • Elaine ‘Missy’ Farr, Corrections Specialist
    • Darin Geoff, Administrator for Children and Families Project Manager
  • Team Excellence (Warrants Unit): 
    • Zachary Adam, Correctional Records Technician
    • Laura Blakely, Correctional Records Technician
    • Nataly Carriker, Correctional Records Technician
    • Shannon Gill, Correctional Records Technician
    • Kimberly Gutholm, Correctional Records Technician
    • Shannon Hicks, Correctional Records Technician
    • Shanna Humphrey, Correctional Records Supervisor
    • Ashley LeSergent, Correctional Records Technician
    • Donna Lootz, Correctional Records Technician
    • Thomas Lovell, Correctional Records Technician
    • Preston Reece, Correctional Records Technician
    • Wanell Sanders, Correctional Records Technician
    • Michael Sieg, Correctional Records Technician
    • Colin Swanson, Correctional Records Technician
    • Russell Wood, Correctional Records Technician

Olympia Office

  • Community Corrections Officer of the Year, Geoffrey Shufelt, Community Corrections Officer

Lacey Human Resources Office

  • Excellence in Service: Michael Slack, Staff Psychologist
  • Team Excellence (Incident Management Team): Cynthia McHie, Human Resources Consultant

Maple Lane (Rochester)

  • Petrine Marciniak Inspirational Award Jacquelyn Dale, Office Assistant
  • Team Excellence (Strength in Families Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry & Mobility—ReFORM):
    • Georgie Brown, Corrections Specialist
    • Tera McElravy, Corrections Specialist
    • Susan Sundahl, Corrections Specialist
    • Michele Thrush, Corrections Specialist

Award Descriptions

Correctional Officer/Community Corrections Officer of the Year

Presented to an officer whose performance goes above and beyond normal requirements and who demonstrates their commitment to the department’s goals and mission. This officer maintains a positive attitude, provides sound decision-making, and a strong commitment to teamwork. They are an effective communicator, treating others with dignity, fairness, and respect. They are a positive role model and maintains professionalism at all times.

Community Partnership

Presented to an employee who understands the importance of partnering and collaborating with the community. Promotes DOC’s vision and mission working with external partners to assist in a successful transition back into the community, for individuals under the jurisdiction of the department. This may include education and/or trainings. 

Excellence in Service

Presented to an employee who values the importance of building and maintaining relationships, both internally and externally, and conducts business in a professional manner. Demonstrates open, honest, effective communication skills by being inclusive and embraces diversity and respect. 

Outstanding Performer

Presented to an employee who consistently exhibits superior job performance and displays a strong work ethic. Excels in their position and is detail oriented, self-disciplined, and not afraid to take initiative. Plays a vital role in contributing to a safe and supportive work environment. Goes above and beyond by participating on committees or workgroups. 

Petrine Marciniak Inspirational Award

Presented to an employee who was confronted with a life-threatening situation, used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome it. Continually demonstrated an exceptionally high standard of professionalism and dedication on the job. He or she serves as a role model to give hope and inspiration to others in similar situations. The award is named after Petrine Marcinak-Carlson, a former community corrections supervisor, who died in 1995 from breast cancer.

Team Excellence Award

This award recognizes outstanding teamwork within a group of department employees. The award promotes the spirit of teamwork within departments and between units. They have outstanding performance results due to group achievement. They are recognized for their superior performance and reinforce the collaboration and partnership necessary to achieve agency goals. This team’s cohesiveness is articulated and demonstrated by example. 

More information about the awards is available at

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