Submitted by brian on



Over the past few weeks, we have had a number of recognition events throughout the district.  On Wednesday evening this past week, the members of Education Minnesota—ROCORI hosted an Evening with Our Stars celebration to honor the Support Staff of the Year, those who are retiring as the year concludes, and the Teacher of the Year. 

There is a great deal of work involved in designing, preparing and carrying out the Evening with our Stars event and a large committee of teachers pull the event together.  Staff members across the district also offer support and provide gift “baskets” that are given away in a raffle-type drawing at the conclusion of the event.  The work of all the staff members is appreciated as part of a very nice recognition event!



The Evening with Our Stars was the 11th annual recognition program.  The event begins with a social time to allow staff members to talk, visit, and unwind from the school day.  The social time is followed by a meal and then the recognition program.  The Support Staff of the Year awards are recognized and the staff members from across the district who are retiring are honored for their service.  The association announces the Teacher of the Year nominees and recipient at the event.

Mike Rowe, 3rd grade instructor at Cold Spring Elementary School, served as the emcee for the event.  He provided an entertaining evening as he introduced various portions of the program. 



As I shared a few weeks ago, the district has implemented a process of honoring an individual from four categories of support staff classifications.  The support groups include Secretary/Clerical/Health Services, Kitchen/Food Service Staff, Custodial/Maintenance/Cleaning Staff, and Paraprofessionals.  A list of exemplary standards or guidelines to help with the nomination process was developed.

The purpose of the support staff award is to recognize work and effort that goes above and beyond the requirements of positions within the district.  Nominees are expected to exemplify the best of the district—good effort, quality work, dedication and commitment to students, positive attitude, encouragement of others, high standards of performance, expectations to continually improve and grow, and other similar qualities.

The recipients across the district included Chris Barker, Tina Orbeck, Dana Groetch, and Patty Janssen.

Congratulations to each of these members of the ROCORI Public School support staff!  They will also be honored next fall at a regional celebration through Resource Training and Solutions.



There were a number of retirees recognized at the Evening with Our Stars event.  Those who are retiring have had fairly extensive and distinguished records of service within the district.

Recognized at the event were Don Eikmeier (RMS Science teacher), Jerry Goodmanson (Secondary Social Studies teacher), Dave Keul (Cold Spring Elementary custodian), Mary Kofoed (Elementary media paraprofessional), Deb Mahowald (RMS Math teacher), Theresa Nohner (Secondary kitchen), Linda Schwitalla (District Speech Pathologist), Sue Utecht (CSE Second Grade teacher), and Scott Wellnitz (John Clark Elementary Head Custodian).

Congratulations to each of these staff members on their decision to retire!  Thank you for your service to the students of the ROCORI School District!  We wish you the best!



During the Evening with Our Stars program, EM-ROCORI honors the individual selected as Teacher of the Year.  The Teacher of the Year candidate is nominated by the members of the school staff and a committee from the teacher organization selects the local recipient.

Nominees for the ROCORI 2016 Teacher of the Year included Nancy Anderson (JCE Second Grade), Jeanne Burtzel (JCE Fifth Grade), Katie Dilbeck (Richmond Elementary Third Grade), Anita Erkens (Richmond Elementary Special Education), Brian Heying (RMS Industrial Technology), Brian Kothrade (CSE Third Grade), Kara Linz (CSE Kindergarten), Sharon Posch (CSE Second Grade), Mike Rowe (CSE Third Grade), Angie Terwey (ECFE Speech Pathologist), and Brenda Vierzba (RMS Language Arts).

Mike Rowe introduced the video presentation highlighting the nominees.   At the conclusion of the video, our emcee, Mike Rowe, was surprised as he was honored as the 2016 ROCORI District Teacher of the Year. 

Congratulations, Mike, on your recognition as Teacher of the Year!



As we recognize these employees and celebrate the excellence in their individual performance, it is appropriate to remember that they reflect the effort that is made throughout the ROCORI Schools.  These individuals truly give above and beyond what is expected of them.  At the same time, they are members of the school professional team and are examples of the quality people who choose to work in our system.