Ronda Fogle– Riverdale Elementary School
The recipient of this award must be someone who gives exemplary service, plans or assists in innovative programs to benefit all students, and gives special consideration to those who work hard to improve the learning environment for students and staff, as well as the community.
Here are some characteristics Ronda’s principal, Brennen Kitchen, wrote about her: “She has organized our school district’s “Relay for Life” team for the past six years. In 2019, our team raised the most money of any relay team in our county. She organizes fundraisers through our district’s three schools each year all in the name of cancer research. Through the many positive connections that she’s made in her life, it’s easy for her to get volunteers to join her cause. Each year she enjoys organizing our “Christmas Families”. She talks with companies and families who are willing to help the less fortunate families in our area to help give them a happy holiday. She loves helping our school families and does everything she can to help our children be happy.”
Above & Beyond Award
Anden Mehringer – Hazel Dell Elementary School
This is given to someone who works with teachers to implement and support programs focused on student learning. The recipient must have displayed risk-taking to improve the school in some significant way.
Here are some comments written about Anden by her principal, Karen Carter. “She is often a part of behavior incentive plans for struggling students. She advocates for staff and families to improve our culture and she relentlessly seeks ways to better our school and to help others. She knows every child’s name and always makes our kids feel so important. In addition, she could literally step in for any staff member at our school and do the job well. She has unwavering enthusiasm and kindness to students, staff and families. She makes a true effort to develop connections with each student she interacts with. Always willing to go the extra mile and helping in any way she can, she makes work fun! She has specifically made a difference on one of my student’s school day. The child is motivated to share her hard work with my secretary. She makes her feel valued and appreciated each day. The relationship they have built outside the classroom is making my student more successful in the classroom. The Lunch Bunch Students had this to say about her…she is really fun, nice and caring. She is kind and smart. She is also very thoughtful. I love to eat lunch with her. May favorite thing about her is that she is creative and flexible.”
Jamie Zambrano – Rockport Elementary School
This award recognizes an individual who has consistently displayed a caring and supportive attitude that contributes to a positive school atmosphere. This is someone who truly reflects high standards and promotes staff morale.
Jamie’s principal, Rick Hunt, and several other colleagues wrote, “She cares deeply for our students and she is very often the first staff member that notices an issue that might be impacting a student’s social and emotional wellbeing. She works to make the right connections to help our students. She is the one that ensures we help each other when things are down. She organized a weekly voluntary staff prayer time. A time that members of the team often gather to share concerns and support each other. She makes sure our team members who are seriously ill have something to remind them that the team is here if they are needed. She leads all of our connections with the team and community when there is a death by taking time to ensure a personal touch is made to any memorial that is given. She checks in and keeps up a board in the office that shows current and past needs so that people remember some struggles are ongoing. She was a big part in reorganizing our staff lounge making it look and feel happy and uplifting. She gave of her time and own money to help decorate the room, filling it with inspirational quotes, a place for team members to post shout outs, and a coffee tree (providing the very critical caffeine fix that every educator needs!)”
Heather Bohn – Concord High School
Here, the committee searched for concrete evidence of the recipient’s ability to encourage community and parent involvement in the school. This person should have been actively involved in training others, initiating new office procedures, and improving the overall office and school climate.
Heather’s principal, Lisa Kendall, said the following about her, “It is her leadership that has allowed our building to perform to its highest capability. For example, she is the secretary the other six building secretaries in our district call on when there is a challenging task and her problem solving skills are needed. In fact, she is the secretary our buildings call on to challenge the status quo. Having been in the district for 15 years, she has traversed a handful of central office administrative changes and has stepped up to the plate to advocate for district changes to benefit all employee groups. It was her leadership that gave voice to our classified staff during pivotal changes such as the implementation of eLearning Days and classified holiday pay that paid dividends from what some would argue to be the most under-represented group within a school system. She has instituted detailed systems and operations at the building level that her focus has now become making the entire district one that runs effectively and efficiently. Recently, our district transitioned from centralized-budgets to building-based budgets. While this transition has meant numerous changes for all office personnel to digest, she has taken the task to another level by building a system of spreadsheets to help us navigate these changes. Her work goes beyond what is expected and comes without asking, because her desire for our building to excel is her top priority.”
Secretary of the Year Award
Ashley Quinlin – Southport High School
For this award, the committee used a well-defined rubric to score all areas of leadership, compassion, service, and going above and beyond.
Andrew Ashcraft shared a few comments about Ashley. “She operates at an elite level when it comes to the following areas, leadership, service, understanding, patience and working beyond expectations. She is consistently operating at the edge of her current skills and pushing herself in new ways to be better for our school community members. She plans celebrations for each day of guest teacher appreciation week by getting gifts, coupons, and prizes for our GTs. On days when we know that we will have many staff members out, she will reach out to local businesses to see if they would be willing to discount of donate coffee, donuts, pizza or coupons for them. All of her efforts and work contribute to the highest fill rate in the district! Plus we are the only school to have a greater than 90% fill rate in our township. She has streamlined student parking. Three years ago, the system that was in place was perhaps a bit of a safety issue to our staff and officers. There was very little direction and almost no communication about student expectations. Since she has taken over this responsibility, the process in all online, student licenses are verified, students know where they can park and officers are communicated with. We now have a safer parking lot and there is accountability for students who drive to school. She carries high expectations and a compassionate heart towards every student she come in contact with. Students come to her because they know that she will help them find answers. She believes that investing in our youth matters, because it mattered to her.”