By Srianthi Perera

Seventeen people drawn from Gilbert businesses, municipality, educators and the community were honored at the 21st Annual Gilbert Community Excellence Awards presented by APS recently.

The awards ceremony, attended by hundreds of people, was held at The Falls Event Center in Gilbert.

Higley High School’s Starlight Serenade, a 65-member strolling strings ensemble under the direction of Bill Bitter, and Higley Chamber Singers, a 30-member group under the direction of Robert Decoste, provided musical entertainment.

The winners are as follows:

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Employee of the Year Award – Iris Ishikawa, administrative assistant, Performing Arts Department.

Educator of the Year Award – Jennifer Peterson, Early Childhood and Teacher Education Faculty.

Gilbert Chamber of Commerce

‘Leon Uhlhorn’ Chairman’s Award – Dr. Christina Kishimoto, superintendent, Gilbert Public Schools (award sponsored by Marty Uhlhorn of Strong Tower Insurance).

Visionary Award – George Pettit, former manager, Town of Gilbert.

Spirit of Gilbert Business Award – Tracey Groy, partner, Willow Massage + Spa.

Gilbert Public Schools

Educator of the Year – Chip Pettit, Towne Meadows Elementary School.

Support Staff of the Year – Vicki Eberhardt, Islands Elementary School.

Volunteer of the Year – James Campbell, Pioneer Elementary School.

Higley Unified School District

Educator of the Year – David Nuttall, Higley High School.

Support Staff of the Year – Elneeta Timmons, Sossaman Middle School.

Volunteer of the Year –Meredith Simpson, Higley Unified School District.

The Gilbert Republic

‘Geneva Clay’ Community Volunteer Award – Mike Conner, community volunteer.

Gilbert Young Hero Award – Nick Yeager, Campo Verde High School.

Town of Gilbert

Mayoral Award – John Lewis.

Municipal Volunteer of the Year Award – Robert Poirrier, Gilbert Police Department volunteer.

Neighborhood of the Year Award – Devon HOA and The Reserve at Gilbert Towne Center.

Public Service Award – Leah Hubbard Rhineheimer, assistant to the town manager/Native American Management Internship Program.