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 12th annual recognition program.  The celebration was conducted at the Great Blue Heron last Wednesday evening.

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.

Julie Woods, Social Studies instructor at ROCORI High School, served as the emcee for the event.  She provided excellent comments and historical insights as she worked through the program for the evening. 



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 Bonnie Schmitt, Doris Faber, Kayla Youngblom, and Nancy Swanson.

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 Jeanne Burtzel (Fifth grade teacher at John Clark Elementary), Cathy Hansen (Sixth grade teacher at ROCORI Middle School), Jerry Hortsch (head custodian at Richmond Elementary), Deb Jenderseck (Reading teacher at ROCORI High School), Ken Kraemer (Buildings and Grounds Director), Shelly Muth (Principal at Richmond and John Clark Elementary Schools), Tina Orbeck (cleaner at ROCORI High School), Marlene Peterson (Media Center at Richmond and John Clark Elementary Schools), and Donna Theis (Secretary 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!



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 2017 Teacher of the Year included Leah Anderson (English Learners at RHS), Lisa Swan Anderson (Physical Education at RMS), Leah Blonigen (Fifth grade at CSE), Joanna Boos (Title interventions at JCE), Jennifer Christoffersen (Language Arts at RHS), Anita Erkens (Special Education at Richmond), Lynette Faber (First grade at JCE), Tony Hutar (Instrumental Music at the secondary), Tara Levine (Kindergarten at JCE), Kara Linz (Kindergarten at CSE), Jim Meyer (Fifth grade at CSE), Barb Omann (Language Arts at RHS), Sharon Posch (Second grade at CSE), Suzanne Schlangen (Interventions at RMS), and Susan Silvers (Speech at CSE).

Julie Woods introduced the video presentation highlighting the nominees.   At the conclusion of the video, it was revealed that Susan Silvers had been selected as the 2017 ROCORI District Teacher of the Year. 

Congratulations, Susan, 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 2017 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!