(Photo L to R: Stephanie Parker, Vicki Collins, Michelle Dower, Aaron Leavell, Bruce Richards, Ann Byrnes, Jim Stoffer, Kristin Schutte)
In recognition of her remarkable dedication and outstanding contributions to the field of prevention, Michelle Dower, Student Services Coordinator at Olympic Educational Services District (OESD) 114, has been honored with the 2023 Prevention Award of Excellence by the WA Health Care Authority. This prestigious award acknowledges Michelle’s extensive experience, innovative strategies, quality supervision, advocacy, equity, and unwavering commitment to the field of prevention. Nominated by her colleagues, Malorie Woods and Ciela Meyer, Michelle’s focus on substance use prevention stands out as exemplary.
With over 25 years of experience, Michelle has served as the Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Services Program (SAPISP) Coordinator at OESD. Michelle actively engages with student prevention clubs, employing innovative strategies such as the Social Norms model. Her response to the surge in vaping incidents in schools showcased proactive intervention strategies. Michelle stays updated on best practices, advocating against ineffective scare tactics and promoting positive choices.
Michelle’s commitment to excellence is evident in her advocacy for the statewide Student Assistance Prevention and Intervention Program, contributing to protocol development and training initiatives; and her ability to set up virtual programing/services, remain optimist and collaborative approach with partners across the state during the pandemic ensured students continued to receive SAP services.
Through designing training programs, managing multiple funding sources, and fostering partnerships, Michelle has showcased exemplary leadership. Her collaborations with districts, county prevention advocates, community partners, and law enforcement have been instrumental in hosting impactful prevention events.
Testimonials from colleagues, administrators, and state leaders highlight Michelle’s positive attitude, leadership qualities, and significant impact on prevention efforts in the community, region, and state. Her creativity and leadership have been invaluable in overcoming challenges posed by school closures during the pandemic. Michelle Dower is an outstanding recipient of the 2023 Prevention Award, and OESD is incredibly proud to have Michelle on its team. Her contributions continue to leave a lasting impact on prevention efforts in the OESD region and beyond.