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Extra Mile Award

The Mt. Lebanon School Board instituted the Extra Mile Award as a way to recognize District staff members who demonstrate exceptional service to our students while exhibiting behavior that encourages others to follow their lead. The Board encourages anyone interested in nominating a District employee to send an email to School Board President Larry Lebowitz at with a brief description about the nominee and how they have gone above and beyond for our students.Recognition of Extra Mile Award recipients will take place at the Regular School Board meeting.


  March 2014 Extra Mile Award
Dr. Deborah Allen, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education
Mrs. Connie Lewis, Director of Special Education


 Dr. Deborah Allen has had an outstanding career in the Mt. Lebanon School District. She came to the District from the Gettysburg Area School District where she was the Director of Pupil Services and School Psychologists. She was appointed by the Mt. Lebanon School Board in August 1988 as the Director of Pupil Personnel services. She served in that capacity until December 2005 when she was appointed Assistant Superintendent and Director of Student Support Services.

During the administrative reorganization a few years ago, she was named the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education. Each time Dr. Allen was asked to tackle a new assignment, she did so with a high level of professionalism. Her leadership role within the District includes curriculum development, directing student support services— including supervising the School Psychologists, Health Services and Special Education Departments—along with the supervision of elementary education. Dr. Allen was involved in all of the strategic planning initiatives for the District during her career and led those efforts in 2005 and 2012. The 2005 Strategic plan was significant because it emphasized continuous improvement through a community driven strategic planning process, based on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. As part of this strategic planning process, Dr. Allen led the development of the first online District Balance Scorecard so the community could track the progress of our schools toward goals and metrics that were aligned to the strategic plan.

Dr. Allen pursued her training in Quality by becoming a National Baldrige Examiner for twoyears. She was also on the Board of KAPE which is Pennsylvania’s State Quality organization. With each of these endeavors she brought Quality expertise and training back to the school district to support our philosophy of continuous improvement.

Mrs. Connie Lewis was appointed by the school board as Supervisor of Special education in May 21, 2001. Since that time she has very capably overseen the very complex and important Special Education Department using research based strategies and best practices to help students. Over the years, Mrs. Lewis instituted many programs that have made significant improvements for our special education students. Among her many accomplishments, Mrs. Lewis: 
-Developed a district-operated extended school year program
-Led the district through two successful special education audits and is about to lead her
-Decentralized the special education programs so now programs are in all buildings
-Implemented the Paes lab at the high school which provides pre-vocational and vocational skills for our most struggling learners
-Developed programs for children with Autism; the program at Washington has been recognized as a model program
-Helped the District receive needed funds from ACCESS and PDE
-Hired inclusion specialists to help children become more successful in their schools
-Adopted special education management software so professionals could focus more on programs for children and less on paperwork
-Provided many educational programs for parents, and implemented professionaldevelopment for all staff to better understand the needs of unique learners.

 May 2013 Extra Mile Award
Mrs. Carol Froehlich, Mrs. CeCe Kapron, Mr. Greg Kuhar, and Mr. Robert Vogel

Mrs. Cappucci announced the four faculty members responsible for this year’s fantastic musical, Suessical, are the recipients of the Extra Mile Award. The Extra Mile Award is about going above and beyond one’s job on behalf of the students. Carol Froehlich, CeCe Kapron, Greg Kuhar and Bob Vogel gave more than what was expected to make sure that each and every student who was involved in the musical learned, grew and had a good experience in the production. Students shared how the teachers modeled hard work and dedication, and transferred those values to our students. On behalf of the Board, Mrs. Cappucci thanked Mrs. Froehlich, Mrs. Kapron, Mr, Kuhar and Mr. Vogel for the work they do every day and the extra work they do to enhance our students’ education.

December 2013 Extra Mile Award
Brad May Audio Visual Supervisor

 Brad May, the District’s Audiovisual Supervisor, was the Extra Mile Award recipient for December 2013. Mr. May retired after 40 years of service to the District. Mr. May is one of the few people in the District who have had the opportunity to work in every building and with staff from all departments. His calm demeanor during any AV crisis, his willingness to help, his expertise at teaching both students and staff, and his ability to adapt to change have made him an asset to the District. School Board President Mrs. Elaine Cappucci congratulated Mr. May on his retirement and thanked him for his many, many years of dedicated service.

 December 2012 Extra Mile Award
Josephine Posti School Board Member


Remarks made by School Board President Elaine Cappucci on awarding Mrs. Josephine Posti the Extra Mile Award: "I am especially pleased to have served as Vice-President while Mrs. Posti was president. A board president is tasked with setting the monthly agenda, running the meetings, and serving as the spokesperson for the board, and the president knows that he or she will be spending time above and beyond their regular board duties. Mrs. Posti went above and beyond in all that she did, and served us well during two difficult years of working through the high school project.

Early in her term as President, Mrs. Posti started the Extra Mile Award program to recognize faculty and staff who deserved recognition for going beyond their regular job description and providing exemplary and extra efforts on behalf of our students. I don’t think any of the award winners went the extra mile just to be recognized, we just have many people in this district who regularly extend themselves to make this a better place.

Serving for two years in the demanding role of Board President and taking extra time to recognize our employees, is going above and beyond the call of duty. For this reason, the Board tonight is presenting the Extra Mile Award to Mrs. Posti. We thank her for all that she has done. In addition to the award, the District would like to give her this gavel as a reminder of her service, and the Board also has a gift as a token our appreciation. Thank you and congratulations, Mrs.Posti."

 October 2012 Extra Mile Award
Jennifer Rodriguez

Mrs. Cappucci presented the October 2012 Extra Mile Award to Mellon Middle School art teacher, Jennifer Rodriguez. Mrs. Rodriguez was instrumental in design and building the Mellon and Foster floats for the Centennial parade. The Board thanked Mrs. Rodriguez for her selfless work on behalf of the PTAs and District, for spending much of her summer, and many hours of her personal time before and after the parade to make the celebration a success for the entire community. She truly went the extra mile in this endeavor.

 January  2012 Extra Mile Award 
Peter Berg-High School Dean of Students


The January Extra Mile Award winner, Mr. Peter Berg, has been a strong advocate for our students since the moment he began working in the District as a guidance counselor.  

Mr. Berg was nominated by a parent, who wrote about how he helped their family when a child was being bullied.  Peter Berg took the parents’ concern about bullying seriously, stepped in to stop the bullying, and let it be known that bullying would not be tolerated.   The parent wrote, “I really believe that Pete genuinely cares about every student in this district.”

Another parent shared how Mr. Berg stepped in during a child’s medical crisis to support the child and the transition back to school.  He took the time to learn about and understand the child’s complicated issues and dedicated many hours to helping the family get the necessary supports and work with the child’s teachers achieve a successful outcome.  The parent wrote that Mr. Berg “told me many times that he’s just doing his job.  He does it very, very well.”

Peter Berg’s concern for students, staff, and the operation of the high school is evident on a daily basis.  He is in his office before others arrive, and is one of the last to leave the building each day.  He has been instrumental in helping to ensure a smooth transition this school year as the administrative reorganization was implemented.   Since the beginning of the school year, the high school has had a vacant unit principal position; Mr. Berg has done whatever is necessary to help fill the needs of that open position by going above and beyond to assist students who were not in his assigned unit to make sure their requests and needs are met. 

Mr. Berg’s extra efforts each day, through his professionalism, care, organization and knowledge, help to preserve the smooth day to day operations of the Mt. Lebanon High School program.

  December  2011 Extra Mile Award 
Dr. Ron Davis, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education and
Rick Marciniak, District Project Manager


The December Extra Mile Award actually goes to two people who have been critical to the District's success in rebidding the high school project.  Over the past six months, Dr. Ron Davis and Mr. Rick Marciniak have been attached at the hip.  They've worked diligently with the master design team to develop design solutions that continued to meet our programmatic needs while achieving significant cost savings to the project.  Dr. Davis focused on how these changes would impact our students and staff, and Mr. Marciniak's valuable counsel regarding material and structural possibilities helped us to re-imagine a plan that continues to provide an improved learning environment for our students, a well-designed, secure space for our staff and an investment on behalf of our community of which we can each be proud.  Dr. Davis and Mr. Marciniak have worked diligently over the past few years with our architects, high school staff, administration, construction manager, municipal staff and the Board to redevelop a project that will serve generations of students in Mt. Lebanon.  They spent thousands of hours reviewing the plans at each phase of the project and have  patiently worked through many complex issues.  Dr. Davis and Mr. Marciniak have well represented the interests of the District throughout this historic project.  We are grateful for their careful oversight and the thoughtful work for our students and for our community.


   November 2011 Extra Mile Award 
Cindy Biery-Lincoln Elementary School Third Grade Teacher


The School Board selected Cindy Biery for the Extra Mile Award in November. Cindy teaches third grade at Lincoln Elementary School, where she has taught for over 24 years.  Cindy is the best choice for this award because it describes her perfectly—a teacher who goes the extra mile for her students.  During her rich teaching career at Lincoln, Cindy has always inspired and empowered her students to fully develop their special talents, especially in the area of writing. Her involvement with the National Writing Project greatly benefited her students. Cindy would invite visiting writers from the program to Lincoln to work with her classes, providing students a unique opportunity to learn from nationally recognized poets and authors. Her dedication to teaching and her students goes beyond the classroom. An example of this is the After School Writers program that Cindy started over 22 years ago. These after school workshops give interested Lincoln students an outlet to pursue the creative writing process.  Students continue to develop their writing skills in a relaxed atmosphere that encourages creativity, interaction with peers and an open mind to new ideas.  The legacy of the After School Writers program is evident when you see Cindy’s former students return to the program to share their writing experiences and perspectives with current students.

Cindy is a true mentor; her former students stay in touch with her well beyond graduation from high school. They seek her advice and counsel as they begin their careers. She is a generous, exemplary teacher who truly embodies the mission of the District to provide the best education possible for each and every student.  We are honored to name Cindy Biery the Extra Mile Awardee for November.  


 October 2011 Extra Mile Award 
David Plank-High School Custodian

The School Board selected High School custodian, David Plank, for the October Extra Mile Award. David is someone who takes pride in his work and is dedicated to the District’s mission.
Each year, when teachers return from summer vacation, High School Custodian David Plank is there to let them know what has been done in their rooms over the summer.  He does an amazing job cleaning each area and does not miss one detail. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he takes each book and item off of shelves, cleans the shelves, then cleans the items and replaces everything exactly as it was.  He does his best to clean the carpets, which are spotty from various leaks over the years, and protects teachers’ things from the leaky windows. He touches base with our teachers at the beginning of every year to see if they need anything else.

When David talks about his work, it is clear that he is proud of what he does and proud to be doing it here at Mt. Lebanon.   When the staff have PTA and back-to-school breakfasts, David takes the time to make a homemade treat to share.  
One teacher said, “Mr. Plank is very proud of the work he does and works very hard to make sure the job is done to the best expectations. He is conscientious and his attention to detail make him one of the best custodians I have encountered in 4 states in which I have worked. I enjoy talking with him, even as brief as it may be, to hear the pride in his voice and the determination he has to do a good job.”  Congratulations to David Plank on being chosen for the October 2011 Extra Mile Award.


 September 2011 Extra Mile Award 
Peter DiNardo-High School Social Studies Teacher


The Extra Mile Award for September is someone who many of us think about when we think about the District's mission, “to provide the best education possible for each and every student.”  Another way of saying this is to do everything that we can to ensure that each of our children maximizes his or her potential.  Perhaps no one in our district does this better than the recipient of this month’s Extra Mile Award, Pete DiNardo.

Throughout most of his tenure, he has taught AP US History.  As our students will attest, this is one of the most difficult courses many of them take during their high school careers.  It prepares them well for what lies ahead of them in college.  He’s been the driving force behind this course and is a legend among his students.  He’s admired, respected and beloved by the students brave enough to take on the challenge of APUSH.  Mr. DiNardo believes it’s his responsibility to push his students to the limit to make sure they maximize their potential and pushes them beyond where they think they can be.  He does this through tireless devotion top his students and his craft.  More specifically, Mr. DiNardo spends endless hours preparing new and exciting materials for his class, working with students both during and after regular school hours (including teaching evening sessions when either the curriculum or students require it) as well as grading both exams and his very well-known term paper.

Many of us know students who have been taught by Mr. DiNardo and find that he’s frequently described as one of their favorites.  One Board member described Pete’s class as “the hardest and most demanding course of (his son’s) high school career.  Yet it was the most rewarding. Most importantly, it honed his skills in reading, writing, and research which served him well in college.”  Another shared the things that made him a favorite between both of her children: “For one, the class and the intelligent, lively discussions only sharpened her love of history; Pete made it come alive, and it allowed her to find her voice. For my son, who was not a huge fan of history, the class made him go farther than he thought he could, with research, group discussions and high expectations. It was THE class, he would later tell me, that prepared him for the rigor of college life.” Another student shared that Mr. DiNardo’s course was harder than any course she took at her very competitive college.  Students leave this class knowing that they have pushed themselves to the limit. 

Somehow, Pete also finds time to sponsor the Emergency Club and volunteer with Forensics and his son’s and daughter’s soccer teams.  Emergency’s mission is to educate students on the contemporary issues of world health and discuss the problems, causes, and possible responses to these issues.  Those responses have made an impact not only on our students but for communities around the world.  One of Emergency’s signature events was their Walk For Water in 2009, a community event that brought attention to the need for clean water in Africa and the impact limited water supplies has on women and children in Sudan.  This event included bringing in Benjamin Ajak, author of "They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky" and one of the refugees called "Lost Boys of Sudan" and hosting a community event at the stadium that raised over $6,000.  Last year, Water for Sudan drilled a well, named by our students, “Lebo H2OPE”in the village of Malek Amal in the Jur River County, Western Bar El Ghazal State.  At the time, Mr. DiNardo said, " To see the fruits of this labor and know that this village has access to fresh water brings me a great deal of satisfaction and also provides a concrete success to share with and motivate a new generation of Mt. Lebanon students."  Mr. DiNardo, you motivate our students in and outside of the classroom and make a meaningful impact on your local community as well as communities in other parts of the world.  Thank you.


 August 2011 Extra Mile Award 
Jeff Kaiser-High School Manger of Building Operations


The August Extra Mile Award winner is Jeff Kaiser, the High School Building Operations Manager who also works in the District Rental Office.  While the District Rental Office plays an important role in generating revenue for the District as well as serving needs for our community, it also means long hours and facilitating unusual requests that range from Girl Scouts screening a movie to outside organizations hosting performances.  He also responds to rental issues such as when a group’s port-o-john was overturned on one of our athletic fields or when an organization used a snow blower on one of the District’s tennis courts in order to use it for practice after the major snowfall last year and had to be asked not to in order not to damage the court.

His work as High School Operations manager presents its own set of challenges that Jeff not only solves creatively, but quickly and efficiently.  Jeff is usually the first call when something spills, when confetti is in a stairwell or when a teacher is experiencing heating or cooling problems in a classroom.  Rainy days are busy ones for Jeff since they often result in leaks.

The unusual is routine for Jeff.  When a student dropped his cell phone through a sidewalk grate during a routine fire drill, Jeff was the trouble-shooter.  He was also the go-to guy when a student was stuck in a locker after hours when she hid inside the locker to scare a friend, but the friend never came.
Last spring, Jeff arrived one morning to find a creative message made from cups on the upper part of the backstop on Horsman Field.  Obviously someone had climbed the backstop to create the message, but who was going to climb the backstop to retrieve the cups?  Jeff worked with a custodian who had an idea to use a long pole that’s used to clean the pool and “pop” the cups up and over the backstop.  Success!
Jeff’s hard work is measurable.  One co-worker reports Jeff’s foot traffic each day throughout the high school as being in the miles, accounted for on a pedometer he recently wore as a part of a health initiative.  Thank you, Jeff, for your dedication to the District and your commitment to our community.  


  July 2011 Extra Mile Award 
Mike Reimer-Mt. Lebanon Police Department

This month’s Extra Mile Award recipient is special in that he isn’t technically an employee of the District but no one will dispute, however, the significant contribution that Officer Mike Riemer has made in the lives of the thousands of children in our schools through his work as school resource officer during the past six years.
Officer Riemer has developed and delivered programs that have complemented the District’s Olweus bullying-prevention program, has taught our students about drugs, Internet safety, alcohol and safe walking.  His comprehensive curriculum offers age-appropriate information for each grade level, starting with visits to kindergarten with his radio controlled car, “PC” and gradually moving through the issues and choices our children make throughout their development culminating in lessons on internet predators, sexual harassment and safe dating relationships.
In addition to his regular classroom work, Officer Riemer is a regular presence at Scout meetings, PTA events, games and community events such as bike rodeos and safety fairs.  Children from kindergarten to high school know Officer Riemer, approach him with questions or problems and look to him as a resource who’s there to help them make good choices, not punish them. Our faculty and PTA members turn to Officer Riemer as a valued counselor who has conducted in-service programs, provided parents with important information about issues facing their children and worked with PTAs on issues such as child safety, an important component of our living in a walking community.
The District is very grateful for the strong, collaborative relationship Officer Riemer has helped us maintain and grow.  The results of his work are strong.  Since 2005, local teen arrests for underage drinking have gone significantly from the peak of 199 in 2006 down to 57 this year.  Officer Riemer started a new educational project for underage drinking in December of 2006 and underage alcohol arrests were down 61% at the end of 2010.  While this is a metric we can measure, some we can’t.  I talked to a few of our students this weekend to find out what they think Officer Riemer’s influence has been and one summed it up nicely: “Officer Riemer helps us understand the difference between good and bad choices.”  Another asked, “Why the heck does he want to retire?”  Thank you, Officer Riemer for your partnership with the District and your positive impact on our kids.  Congratulations on being selected July’s Extra Mile Award recipient.

June  2011 Extra Mile Award 
Gary Ford-High School Social Studies Teacher


 The School Board’s Extra Mile Extra Mile Award honoree for June is high school social studies teacher, Gary Ford.  “What makes June’s Extra Miler special is that his nomination was written by one of his students, one of many who he’s obviously impacted,” said School Board President Jo Posti.  

Gary Ford has a passion for the study and teaching of political science, and has a special ability to engage his students.  He has a reputation as a teacher who upholds high standards regardless of the circumstances and his students recognized and respected his ability to retain a positive attitude and friendly teaching style this year while coping with a difficult family issue earlier this year.

Mr. Ford has been the sponsor of the high school Mock Trial team for the past several years dedicating significant time, knowledge, and effort into aiding the members of the team prepare arguments, speeches, examinations, and cross examinations as well as improving their overall public speaking ability and understanding of the legal system. .
He shares his love of politics with his students by organizing district-wide student mock elections every year, including the arduous process of counting the ballots.  He also aids with the student officer elections at the high school.  Additionally, Mr. Ford is well known for his repeated encouragement in getting 18-year old students to register to vote and even offers to aid the students in the registration process.  Mr. Ford also manages a display case on the fourth floor of the high school where he displays Post-Gazette headlines, articles of political importance, and accolades of the students within the building. 
He truly has dedicated himself to serving the school and its students and has passed his own passion for politics along to them.  Mr. Ford is an exceptional teacher within the classroom, and an exceptional human being outside of the classroom.  Congratulations, Mr. Ford, this month’s Extra Mile Award honoree.


 May 2011 Extra Mile Award
Jane Baranet-Foster Elementary School Secretary


The Extra Mile Award for May is someone who her principal has described as the individual at Foster who has the greatest affect on the daily lives of all the people at Foster School.  Jane Baranet’s role as building secretary requires her to balance three worlds: the needs of children, parents, and the staff.  She is masterful at meeting all of the needs of each group.  There is no position more pivotal than that of the first face a family meets when having their child enter a school system.  Jane helps each family through that transition and fosters that relationship for the next six years.  While personally setting up each parent conference, Jane takes into account the needs of the family based on siblings, working parents, and any supporting teachers whose schedules may need to be juggled. 

She is always eager to adopt new technologies or procedures that help the school run smoothly.  Her criterion for what should be considered is always, “Will it help us do our job better?”  In reality, she is saying, “Will this help me meet the needs of children?  She not only knows our families, she cares about them.  She not only works with people, she becomes part of a family.  She manages the office and the school in a way that helps everyone to focus on our mission.  In other words, she is that rare individual who makes every person around her better at what they do…and enjoy it more. 


April 2011 Extra Mile Award
Carol Froelich-Elementary Music Teacher


The Extra Mile Award for April goes to an elementary music teacher  serving students at Howe and Hoover. Carol Froehlich emphasizes the importance of public performances by providing chorus students the opportunity to perform at a variety of venues including the Baptist Home, Pirates games, the Byham Theater, Baldwin High School and even a music video. In addition to her work with our elementary students, she’s also provided support to the high school’s vocal music program including spring musicals. Carol’s important contributions help support our best-of-class music program.

Thank you, Carol, for providing our students great opportunities and for creating memories for our students.


March 2011 Extra Mile Award
Christopher Stengel-Director of Technology


                                                                                      The Extra Mile Award for March goes to someone his nominators have described as"a digital native who has broadened our student's learning and is committed to helping our teachers be the best they can be in the area of  technology."  Chris Stengel, the District's Director of Technology is someone a lot of people don't think much about until something isn't working but not only does he keep a critical component of educational delivery running but  he's made important contributions to our students' and staffs' ability to  expand educational capabilities beyond the book and beyond the classroom.

One of the most successful and influential technology projects that the District has rolled out is the use of blogs.  Chris led this effort with the help of Justin Meyers in order for students to continue discussions outside of the classroom.  This effort has also opened doors for students who aren't comfortable speaking in the classroom to participate in class discussions in a manner more comfortable to them.  This moved on to students creating content for a wider audience than just their teachers.  We now have blogs with other classes of students across the city, state, country and world.  There are now hundreds of classroom blogs throughout the District - only Chris knows the real number - all of them used as tools that provide a richer learning experience for our students at each grade level.

Rather than sitting behind a monitor, Chris is a hands-on tech director who makes every decision with the students in mind.  By making rounds to every building each month he's able to collaborate with librarians, principals, tech coaches and building secretaries to provide solutions, troubleshoot problems and understand how technology is being used by each grade level in different curricular areas.   Even though he is not comfortable with every technology, he always listens to the teachers to be in tune to what they need.  For example, he's currently working with music technology teachers whose needs weren't being met with the computers they had.  Chris is working to ensure that their transition to Macs is successful and supported.

Recently, Chris spoke at Policy Committee meetings about how he saw the need to address in school the use of social media and to model good online behavior for kids who were learning about social media sites on their own and sometimes misusing it.  He keeps all of us up to date and ahead of where we would be in the use of any technology.  Anyone who talks to Chris knows his enthusiasm for teaching our kids about technology and teaching them with technology.

In addition to his work supporting our students, Chris is also focused on creative cost-containment wherever possible.  When the Board proposed the idea of paperless meetings, we knew that we could save money in copy costs and staff time, but thought the savings would not occur in year one due to the cost of purchasing commercially available paperless meeting software. Chris was a strong proponent of the paperless meeting idea from the start, and after Mrs. Cappucci proposed the idea he said he was willing to take on the challenge of creating our own in-house system, saving the cost of the software, and giving us a system tailored to our needs.  He met with Mrs. Cappucci to determine the Board's needs, and met with Jeanine Szalinski to determine how she could best implement the system, and to train her in using the new system (and kudos also to Jeanine for working on this and her help in getting it up and running).  After the initial pilot, the Board asked for several modifications, and Chris delivered those quite quickly.  He's saved the District money, made the board more efficient, and used his technology skills to create a solution unique to our district and our needs.

Congratulations, Chris, on receiving this month's Extra Mile Award and thank you for your work in opening the door to 2.0 for our kids and our staff. 


 February 2011 Extra Mile Award
Judith Kolko-High School Community Service Coordinator


 Our first Extra Mile awardee is Judith Kolko, the Community Service Coordinator at the high school.   Judith was nominated by a number of her peers who suggested she be recognized and acknowledged for her incredible achievements that help carry forward our Middle States Objective: "By 2016, 95% of Mt. Lebanon High School students will feel connected, respected, and valued."  Judith is a part-time worker who consistently "goes the extra mile" uncompensated so that all of the programs she is involved with in the high school and the community run smoothly.   She is always extremely friendly and helpful to all of the students who sign up to volunteer for Community Service Projects, or need printouts of their Community Service hours for college applications, or National Honor Society eligibility, and to the senior citizens who need snow removal. 

Although Mrs. Kolko has been on the Moving Forward committee since its inception in the spring of 2005, she was asked to serve as its sponsor in October when Michelle Murray moved to her new role as principal of Howe Elementary. Moving Forward has always been a student-run organization dedicated to changing student behaviors and attitudes.  Adults in the club serve to guide and assist students, but the activities and events are selected by the students.  This makes the sponsor's role particularly challenging because she must balance the students’ wishes against the demands of the school schedule, faculty support, and instructional needs.  Mrs. Kolko beautifully maintains this balance by finding gentle ways to contain student visions and expectations while maintaining their enthusiasm.

She, with the help of Michelle Kramer and Jodi Dunlap, and the students involved with Moving Forward,  have completed two projects - Building Bridges in November, and the recent Tri-Lebo Tournament which involved event coordination for about 2000 students.
Through five weeks of intensive planning, Judith was there to keep the group organized, make connections among staff, find materials and resources and keep the students on point.  Judith puts forth a tremendous amount of time and energy because she believes in the kids and she believes in the effort.  She goes well above her scheduled time to meet with students and help them feel connected, respected and valued each day.  One of her peers summarized her nomination with “Judith lives the core principles that we are trying to instill in our students.”  Congratulations, Judith.  


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