They are the teachers who always go the extra mile for their students – and who remain inspiring years after a child has moved on to other grade levels.
They are cooks who bring a smile to the faces of children. The administrative assistants who are the glue for their building. The custodians and craftsmen who do their jobs, and do them well, without fanfare.
When we asked parents, students, community members and District employees to nominate a “Shining Star” and explain why they deserved recognition, we were not really surprised to be flooded with responses — but it was heartening nonetheless to see all of the great testimonials for these dedicated public school employees.
Between April 9 and May 3, 2021, we received more than 175 nominations, honoring more than 130 employees.
From all nominees, we randomly selected 10 employees, and each received $50 in gift cards to Downtown La Crosse businesses. The winners of gift cards were: Kelsey Ferkingstad, Longfellow teacher; Laurie Fried, Southern Bluffs teacher; Cassie George, North Woods International teacher assistant; Paula Johnson, Lincoln teacher; Kelly Masche, Emerson teacher; Samantha Parkhurst, Logan Middle teacher; Joe Przywojski, Emerson custodian; Heidi Rouzer, Southern Bluffs teacher; Damian Stanton, Summit teacher; and Jen Voight, Central teacher.
In addition, three nominees — Roxanne Hicke from Lincoln Middle School, Anna Jordan from SOTA I, and Heath Bornheimer from Northside Elementary/Coulee Montessori — were selected to receive special grants funded by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation’s Tom and Jean Heyt Thompson Endowment.