Student & Staff Spotlight

Our students and staff make our school community a special place! Monthly, we want to shine a spotlight on people making a difference for Fairbanks. Please take a look at our spotlights throughout the year. These people help shape the story of Fairbanks Local Schools!

January 2021 Staff Spotlight

Missy Ussher, Jessica Gronas, Kendra Elliott, Lisa Studenmund

This month, we are recognizing our amazing school counselors! We are so fortunate to have these kind, caring and hard-working individuals supporting our students and their families every day. Below are some fun tidbits about each of these remarkable women.

Missy Ussher - School Navigator: Missy serves the Fairbanks Local School District as School Navigator through a partnership with Mary Haven. Her favorite food is Italian. Her dream vacation would be to Hawaii. The last song she purchased was 7 Summers by Morgan Wallen. If she were to describe herself at fifteen years old it would be outgoing, caring and funny. Her favorite thing about working at Fairbanks is to be able to make students laugh when things are stressful at school.

Jessica Gronas - Middle School Counselor: Jessica joined the Fairbanks Family this year as our Middle School Counselor. Her favorite foods are sweet potato fries, ice cream and any kind of nut butter. Her dream vacation would be Australia, Italy or anywhere tropical. Most recently, she's purchased the song Move by TobyMac. Describing herself at fifteen years old, she says she was driven, stressed and hopeful. Her favorite thing about working at Fairbanks has been meeting so many wonderful students and staff. She is so thankful for how welcoming everyone has been.

Kendra Elliott - Elementary School Counselor: Kendra serves as our Elementary School Counselor. Her favorite food is pizza. She would love to go on a dream vacation to Hawaii. The last song or album she purchased was probably something for her kids. As a teen, she would describe herself as studious, driven and musical. Some of her favorite memories while working at Fairbanks include when the Elementary School won the Hall of Fame award, having staff members become like family to her and on a funny note, her very first year at Fairbanks, she found herself spending 2 hours inside a bounce house on field day....a quite unforgettable first field day experience!

Lisa Studenmund - High School Counselor: Lisa serves as our High School Counselor. Her favorite food is Mexican. A dream vacation would be a cabin in the mountains with her family. The last album she purchased was Pentatonix Christmas album. She describes teenage Lisa as friendly, awkward, and involved. The best thing about working at Fairbanks is seeing the smiles on students and families faces at graduation. 

Congratulations to all of our school counselors! We appreciate the work you do to support our students!

December 2020 Staff SPOTLIGHT

Jenny Burton

Congratulations to Jenny Burton, our December Staff Spotlight! Jenny serves as an Intervention Specialist in Fairbanks Elementary School. Her favorite food is any type of pasta. Her dream vacation would be a cruise to anywhere! When it comes to music, Jenny is grateful for her Alexa, who plays whatever she asked. If she had to describe herself at 15 year old, she would say active, focused and determined. When asked about her favorite memory while working at Fairbanks, Jenny says, "I don't have a specific event that stands out to me, but my favorite thing about working here is getting to be back at the school (different building of course) that I went to when I was younger and now getting to have my own kids go to Fairbanks eventually. There are some teachers here that I had when I was in elementary school, and when I first started I wasn't sure if I should call them by their first name or Mr./Mrs...we won't name names though!" Congratulations Jenny!

October 2020 Student Spotlight

Laynie Burgel

The October 2020 Student Spotlight is shining on Laynie Burgel! Laynie is a 5th grader at Fairbanks Elementary School. Her favorite memory while at Fairbanks was her entire 3rd grade year with Mrs. Bailey! Laynie would describe herself as creative, funny and kind. She loves Mexican food and the song "Rain On Me" by Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. She hopes to travel to Japan one day. Laynie, thank you for being a positive role model at Fairbanks Local Schools and congratulations on your selection as this month's Student Spotlight!

October 2020 Staff Spotlight

Lisa Keller-Cook

Congratulations to Mrs. Lisa Keller-Cook on her recognition as our October Staff Spotlight! Mrs. Keller-Cook serves as a MS/HS Science Teacher and is the President of the Fairbanks Education Association. Her favorite sweet treat is Dairy Queen ice cream cake. She would love to travel to Hawaii one day. Her most recent song purchase was the Essentials 80's Playlist from Apple Music. One of her favorite experiences outside of the classroom is getting to drive the golf carts to and from Darby Creek Golf Course on graduation morning each year. Thank you Mrs. Keller-Cook for being a positive influence at Fairbanks Local Schools! 

January Staff Spotlight

Diane Smeenk

The January Staff Spotlight is shining on Diane Smeenk! Diane serves as an English Teacher in the high school. Diane describes herself as a quiet book lover (as is apparent by the library in her classroom!). She love spicy Thai wings, would love to go to Hawaii and most recently purchased the Frozen 2 soundtrack. Her favorite memory while working for Fairbanks is walking her daughter across the parking lot to the elementary school for her first day of kindergarten. 

January Student Spotlight

Amelia Cameron

The January Student Spotlight recognition goes to junior, Amelia Cameron. Newly welcomed to the Fairbanks district, Amelia's favorite memory is how open everyone was to getting to know her, and how welcomed she felt in her new school, even as she was coming into the school as a junior. She describes herself as adventurous, amiable and optimistic. Her favorite food is a club sandwich and she'd love to travel to Greece or Italy. The most recent tune floating through her ear buds was "A Sign, The Truth" by This Daze. Congratulations, Amelia!

December Staff Spotlight

Kristi Payne

Kristi Payne is the December Staff Spotlight. Kristi serves as an intervention specialist in the middle school. Kristi describes herself as driven, outgoing and strong-willed.She enjoys Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas and her favorite food is cake. If she could travel anywhere it would be a dream vacation to Greece. Kristi's favorite memory while working at Fairbanks is the day she and her students moved into the newly renovated Life Skills Lab!


Adeline Fitzwater

Adeline Fitzwater is a senior at Fairbanks High School. She was selected as the November Student Spotlight because of her many contributions to her school. Adeline describes herself as witty, ambitious and passionate. Her favorite song is "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkle and her favorite food is coffee ice cream. Her dream vacation would be to Florence, Italy. Her favorite Fairbanks memory is when Kalor convinced her to run cross country while they were both helping with throwing events at a middle school track meet at the end of their freshman year. Because of that, she gained a best friend and countless amazing experiences in a sport she loves. Congratulations Adeline on this well deserved recognition!


Maddie Robinson

Maddie is in the 4th grade and describes herself as athletic and shy. Her favorite food is spaghetti. Her dream vacation would be to Paris or Myrtle Beach. Her favorite things about attending Fairbanks are being able to make new friends and becoming a smarter individual.

September Staff Spotlight

Steve Dellinger

Our September Staff Spotlight is shining on Steve Dellinger. Steve was recommended because of the many ways he cares about kids. He is there to greet elementary students in the morning and can be found lending a helping hand to students during the lunch hour. 

Steve Dellinger serves as our elementary custodian. His favorite food is mashed potatoes. The last musical album Steve purchased was Chief by Eric Church and his dream vacation would be to visit Ireland. Steve was asked to describe himself at fifteen years old and he said he was funny, impulsive and a gamer. (for the record, that is still an accurate description) Some of his favorite memories while working for Fairbanks are his conversations with Ed Rebmann.

Steve’s continued efforts to connect with kids, invest in our schools, and care about all those he serves is truly appreciated.

September Student Spotlight

Rachael Hoover

Rachael is in the 8th grade and describes herself as athletic, kind and helpful. Her favorite food is chicken wraps. The last song she listened to was I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles and her dream vacation would be to the Bahamas. One of her favorite memories while attending Fairbanks was at 6th grade camp and the fun times she had with her friends.