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 8th 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 members are noted for the Support Staff of the Year awards and the school staff members who are retiring are honored for their service.  The association announces the Teacher of the Year nominees and recipient at the event.


Mike Rowe, third grade instructor at Cold Spring Elementary, served as the emcee for the event.  He provided a very positive and entertaining evening with a series of historical—sports oriented—trivia bits of information 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.


A few weeks ago, I shared more detail about each of these staff members, but the recipients across the district included Shannon Molitor, Irene Worm, Scott Wellnitz, and Theresa Dingmann.


Congratulations to each of these members of the ROCORI Public School support staff!  As we noted, 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 Diane Blenkush, Media Services at Cold Spring Elementary; Roxanne Cota, Middle School Art; Deb Hennen, Kindergarten at Cold Spring Elementary; Linda Meyer, Fourth Grade at Cold Spring Elementary; Kitty Needham, Office Assistant at Richmond Elementary; Barb Omann, Language Arts at the Senior High; and Lynn Parker, Director of Business Services in the District Office. 


In addition to these staff members, there are several others who have submitted retirement notices.  They include Dave Zwilling, Cleaner at John Clark Elementary School in Rockville, Theresa Gertken, Cleaner at Richmond Elementary School; Betty Winter, Food Service at the Secondary site; Caroline Hoagland, Paraprofessional who was at Richmond Elementary School for many years; Penny Spoden, Attendance Secretary at the Secondary site; and Terry Terhaar, Paraprofessional at Cold Spring Elementary School. 


Three staff members actually departed from the district during or at the conclusion of last school year but did not officially “retire” until this school year.  They include Diane Dillman, Senior High and Elementary Art; Rick Theisen, Secondary Physical Education, Health, Adaptive PE, and Work Placement; and Kathy Konz, Paraprofessional at Cold Spring Elementary.


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 as you complete your service in our system!




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 2013 Teacher of the Year included Josh Austad, Middle School Social Studies; Brad Bauer, Secondary Science; Brian Herrig, Secondary Global Languages—Spanish; Mark Larcom, Physical Education and Adaptive PE at Cold Spring Elementary; Jay Larson, Industrial Technology and Driver’s Training at the Senior High; Christine Poff, Third Grade at Cold Spring Elementary; Dan Rassier, Music at John Clark Elementary School and St. Boniface; Patti Rice, Language Arts at the Senior High; and Natalie Spengler, Language Arts and Reading at the Middle School.


Mike Rowe introduced the video presentation highlighting the nominees.   At the conclusion of the video, Chris Poff was honored as the 2013 ROCORI District Teacher of the Year. 


Congratulations, Chris, 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.


Congratulations to our 2013 Support Staff and Teacher of the Year award recipients.  Our retirees have been part of the ROCORI School District for extended time!  Congratulations and thank you, as well, to all of the ROCORI employees.  Your efforts help to make us a quality school system and a great place to work!  Thank you!