PACE Awards recognize two programs, three people for safety efforts

Two programs and three individuals were recognized April 21 during PACE Awards presentations. Phil Wentz, chairman of the PACE Board of Trustees, presented the awards during the PACE Day: Safe and Secure Schools event at the Hilton Eugene.

The awards highlight significant contributions made in 2015 to the Property and Casualty Coverage for Education (PACE) program. PACE ( is an insurance pool made up of nearly 300 Oregon member school districts, charter schools, education service districts (ESDs) and community colleges.

The outstanding programs recognized were the Tillamook Bay Community College’s Safety Committee and the Baker School District.

The Tillamook Bay committee was noted for evaluating and improving all college safety efforts after the Oct. 1 shooting at Umpqua Community College. Baker was lauded for a districtwide security upgrade that includes an advanced lockdown system and rapid law enforcement response in the event of an emergency.

The outstanding individual recipients of a PACE Award were Claudia Meeks, transportation dispatcher and safety officer with the Port Orford/Langlois School District, and Superintendent Dave Novotney of the Willamette Education Service District (ESD).

Meeks was commended for constantly monitoring weather conditions to ensure student safety, and for spearheading a district Safe Haven Project, which is dedicated to evacuating students to high ground in the event of a tsunami.

Novotney serves on the Oregon Task Force on School Safety, which is working to develop a statewide school threat assessment system. Besides spearheading those efforts, he has also led regional collaboration on promoting school safety and stressed security improvements at the ESD’s sites. 

Also honored with the PACE Special Service Award was Leland Bliss, director of operations for the Sisters School District. In September, when students from Eugene were involved in a tragic vehicle accident near Sisters, Bliss arranged for Sisters SD staff to provide assistance to athletes on a damaged Eugene SD bus, and a Sisters school bus transported them back home to Eugene.

This is an image of x-PACE Awards - cropped 
Receiving awards at PACE Day are:
Top left: Tillamook Bay Community College’s Safety Committee
Top right: Claudia Meeks, Port Orford/Langlois School District
Bottom left: Brian Florip, accepting on behalf of Supt. Dave Novotney, Willamette ESD
Bottom right: Leland Bliss, Sisters School District