District presents distinguished employee awards

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 3, 2014

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GROSSE POINTES —  Teachers and staff who make their mark in the schools, going above and beyond their typical duties to make a difference in the lives of students, were honored during the district’s Distinguished Employee Awards presentation last month.

After a committee that included Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education members sifted through nominations, 10 district employees were chosen to receive the award. The 2014-15 recipients are: Anne Flanagan, Dave Fluary, Susan Howey, Dineen Krotche, Susan Lucchese, Kari Manino, Sean McCarroll, Gina Ventimiglia, Susan Quinn and Lori Woznicki.

“It was not an easy task. It would be great if we could recognize everybody who dedicates themselves to our students on a daily basis in this district,” school board Secretary Judy Gafa said.

Gafa served on the committee alongside trustees Lois Valente and Tom Jakubiec.

Superintendent Thomas Harwood said the recipients were given a certificate and an award.

“We are very excited about this evening because it represents a group of individuals who expand what we do and that really demonstrate the quality programs and services that we have in our school system,” he said. “And with their support, we’re able to do so much more for our school system.”

The recipients work in several different schools.

Fluary, part of the administrative maintenance department, was nominated for his service to the district that includes being on call 24 hours each day. He leads plowing efforts to keep snow days to a minimum, and more.

“A carpenter, welder and plumber, he saves the district money each year through his proactive maintenance efforts,” the district stated in a news release. “He is efficient, dependable, and keeps the school system’s facilities in operational order.

“Dave has a deep knowledge of our historically significant buildings that mean so much to our community,” the release stated.

From Ferry Elementary, Flanagan was described as someone who develops positive relationships with everyone in the school community.

A number of her roles in the school were mentioned, including leading the Green Team and implementing a fourth-grade writing blitz.

“A colleague described her as part of the foundation of the school, at every event, working nonstop, while being thoughtful, welcoming and caring,” the district stated in a news release. 

Howey and Krotche are Trombly Elementary staff.

Howey was nominated for her standout work as a teacher at the school.

“She goes the extra mile to show students how to use technology to their benefit, and to help others,” the district stated.

Howey launched the after-school robotics program at the school to promote those science, technology, engineering and math programs to girls.

“Through her infectious enthusiasm, she demonstrates how much fun students can have building simple robots, collaborating as a team and exploring these critical career paths,” the release stated. 

Krotche, a clerk at the school, was acknowledged for her service that includes supervising and supporting kindergarten students during lunch, mentoring an adult with special needs and more.

“The support Dineen gives our teachers allows them to focus on the most important thing — educating our students,” the district stated. “And she shows that support in so many ways.”

Lucchese is a special education supervisor working in all schools in the district. She’s had many other roles over her tenure in the district and continues serving in other ways.

“A staple in the community, and an outstanding leader and educator, we call her a ‘historian’ of the student services department,” the release stated. “However, she is also known for looking forward and is currently a leader in implementing co-teaching at the secondary buildings.”

Manino, a teacher of the fourth and fifth split magnet classroom at Defer, is in her third year with the district.

She serves in a number of capacities, including helping coordinate the revamping of the Grosse Pointe Writing Assessment, co-chairing the “One Book, One School” reading experience and helping coordinate a writing blitz for fourth-grade students, among others.

She applied for and received a Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education grant for iPads in the classroom.

“(She) was recognized by the committee as having written one of the most complete grants in terms of need, implementation and application ever submitted,” the district stated. 

Ventimiglia is a standout at Mason Elementary.

“She has presented popular technology workshops for Grosse Pointe teachers for the past three years, as well as for the County Smartboard conference,” the district stated. “She has taught in the summer learning program — going above and beyond to communicate with parents in order to keep students engaged and motivated. She has supervised Mason’s Homework Club after school, coordinating support for that with Parcells’ National Junior Honor Society students.”

Those are just a few of the ways the committee noted that she has led or supported the school and students.

At Poupard Elementary, Woznicki lends a hand wherever needed, according to district officials.

“Her students make lunches for a homeless shelter each year as one (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) event,” the release stated. “She also models lifelong learning by regularly taking courses on teaching children to read — always looking for new ways to help struggling readers.

“Lori is known for her bright smile and her positive attitude,” the release stated.

Those who nominated her noted that “she is always able to find a way to reach each and every student. … It is hard to put into words how lucky we are to have her at Poupard.”

At the secondary level, Quinn, a teacher at Pierce Middle School, and McCarroll, a teacher at North High School, were honored during the award presentation. 

Quinn helped with revising the Grosse Pointe Writing Assessment and works as a mentor, a department chair and the sponsor of the National Junior Honor Society.

“Her calm spirit and spectacular organization enhance the learning environment in so many ways,” stated the district.

The development of the new Innovation Lab was made possible through the work of McCarroll, who is the Class of 2018 advisor.

“This grass-roots project only came to fruition due to Sean’s vision and dedication,” the district stated. “From fundraising to literally building furniture for the room, Sean’s presence made this exciting new project possible.

“Students love his energy, enthusiasm and creativity,” the district stated. “Parents appreciate his organization, communication and commitment.”

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