Center Line staff members recognized for going the extra mile

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published March 16, 2012


Center Line staff members recognized for going the extra mile

By Maria Allard

CENTER LINE — Hours before the start of the Cookies With Santa event last December at Crothers Elementary School, kitchen staff member Karen Czapp spent the morning baking 600 cookies to help make the evening a sweet success.

It’s that kind of commitment, among other attributes, for which she was recognized at a Center Line Public Schools Board of Education meeting March 12. During the evening, several district staff members — from teachers to social workers — received a Winter 2011-2012 Collaborative Leadership Staff Appreciation award.

CLPS staff members, students, board members and parents were invited to nominate one employee for the award in two categories: relationships or innovation. The relationships award honors employees who have “outstanding” relationships with others, while the innovations award celebrates staffers who demonstrate creative and innovative approaches to their job. A committee reviewed the nomination forms before final selections were made.

Other Crothers employees who received awards were Principal Janis Byrn, kindergarten teacher Jody Barsh, building aide Cathy Churilla, special education teacher Linda Finazzo, secretary Barbara Gates, school age child care leader Barbara Latyszewski, second-grade teacher Ellen Livingston, media tech and office clerk Melissa Thorsby, and first-grade teacher Lisa Wujczyk.

Parent Lisa Shermatero, who nominated Byrn and Livingston, became emotional at the podium when disclosing how their caring actions improved life for her family.

“I just want you both to know how much I appreciate what you have done,” she said.

It was Gates who nominated Churilla, stating she is “always going the extra mile” to make everyone feel special and “is always the first one to volunteer” her help, no matter the task. One job includes taking home the school’s redeemable Box Tops For Education collections on weekends to count, cut and bag them.

Tributes also went out to Early Childhood Center caregivers Debbie Card, Karen Labish and Tina Girimonte, and preschool teachers Amanda Dodge and Debbie Krause. The staff members were identified for remaining calm during a flooding incident that happened at school during a heavy rainfall. The educators quickly moved furniture and toys to keep them from getting damaged and continued teaching without the students knowing anything was wrong. Acknowledged alongside them was transportation and maintenance staffer Bill Roberts, who came out to help with the wet situation.

Parent Jennifer Siorek, who attended last week’s meeting with her family, had nothing but praise for Roose Elementary school age child care leader Mary Rimpela.

“She remembers all her kids’ names even years later,” said Siorek, who nominated the educator for the award. “She is very professional and makes sure the students feel very welcome. We hope Miss Mary stays around for a long time.”

Siorek’s daughters Jessica, 9, and Jamie, 8, attend Roose with son Logan, almost 2, waiting in the wings. Other Roose recipients were Principal Sheila O’Kane, kindergarten teacher Phyllis Kwolek and Parent/Teacher Committee President Wendy Watters.

John Daley, a social worker who assists students at Wolfe Middle School and Roose, also was awarded, as was Center Line High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor Sgt. Janet Verlinde. CLHS Principal John Summerhill said Verlinde is at the school by 5:30 a.m. every day and always greets the students with a smile.

“Her enthusiasm is contagious,” Summerhill said. “Janet is a tremendous role model. We have an amazing JROTC program. It’s one of the best in the state. She’s come in and done an amazing job.”

At last week’s meeting, the school board also recognized Crothers staff members Eric Gauthier and Stacey Smart; Crothers/Peck Elementary School staff member Cassandra Conaton; and Lisa Tyrrell of CLHS for attaining tenure status as of January 2012. In addition, special services teacher Barbara Smith was acknowledged for receiving the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Award for Continuing Education; Lorri Hayden was recognized for becoming American Speech-Language-Hearing Association certified; and Sara Moroni was acknowledged for achieving teacher consultant and learning disabled status.