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LIONS Awards

Linn-Mar LIONS & Volunteer Award Recipients!

The 2018 LIONS and Volunteer Award winners were announced during the April 23rd, 2018 Board of Education meeting. The following recipients were honored:

LIONS Award Recipients:

Lions award honorees

Living Legend Award for Excellence in Leadership: Marilee McConnell, Principal at Indian Creek
Optimizer Award for Excellence in Teamwork: Sean Smith, Student Support Services at Linn-Mar High School
Newcomer Award for Excellence in New Ideas: Bobby Kelley, Aquatic Center Manager
Service Award for Excellence in Superior Performance: Sandy Schneekloth, 5th Grade Teacher at Bowman Woods Lion Pride Award for Going the Extra Mile: Tom Daubs, School Resource Officer

 Volunteer Award Recipients:

Volunteer award nominees

Above & Beyond: Karen Daubs and Beth Morrissey
Making a Difference: Angela and Shawn Burke
Unsung Hero: Judy Frantz

Here’s what Linn-Mar staff said about the LIONS Award winners:

Living Legend Award for Excellence in Leadership:

Marilee McConnell, Principal at Indian Creek Elementary
Nominated by Betsy Bushlack, Danyel Kolek, Karla Koenen, and Sara Hofer

Marilee has served as principal to both Indian Creek and Wilkins Elementary. She has implemented systems of support including PLCs, Multi-Tiered System of Supports, a Building Management Team, PBIS, caring teams, Wisdom on Wednesdays, and many more. As a lifelong learner, she consistently is willing to support and encourage the use of innovative technology throughout Indian Creek with students, staff, and parents.

According to Betsy Bushlack, Danyel Kolek, and Sara Hofer, Marilee “keeps her teams focused, motivated, and provides the groundwork for the success that occurs for students. She leads with respectful cooperation and established collective commitments. She leads with her heart and encourages others around her to be their best. She models daily what a leader is by showing compassion and kindness to all. She shares with students and staff a key learning point for the week, a goal for the building, or an encouragement to achieve success each day. She creates a climate of trust with students, parents, and staff. She maintains open communications with families regarding their students learning and success. She believes in, promotes, and acts on the vision of Indian Creek Elementary. She makes sure our building is led through cooperation, collaboration, and camaraderie with school, family, and community which then ensures the students will become successful, productive citizens in an ever-changing society.”

We appreciate all that you have done for Linn-Mar! Congratulations, Marilee!

Optimizer Award for Excellence in Teamwork: 

Sean Smith, Student Support Services at Linn-Mar High School
Nominated by Symon Sanborn

Symon says, “Sean never stops striving to be a better teacher, teammate, and person. He is always looking for ways he can help, to make sure not only his students are successful, but that all students are successful. He leads with enthusiasm, a laser-like focus, and a sense of purpose.”

Sean accepted the role of PLC leader for all of Student Support Services at the high school, a 17 member department. It is a position that put him into a leadership role with teachers who have been teaching for 15+ years. He strives to help others by learning other curriculums so he can take some of the workload off teachers who have more students than him. He’s available to the level 3 teachers for ideas, feedback, and connections with students.
Jeff Gustason says “When first hired, Sean fused a large number of ed assistants in his room into ‘Team 153.’ [He] insisted that the focus of the classroom not be on the adults in the room but on the students. He is now in a teacher leader position that allows him to bring the same ‘team’ focus to the large department.”
Your dedication to our Linn-Mar staff and students does not go unnoticed and is appreciated! Congratulations, Sean!

Newcomer Award for Excellence in New Ideas:

Bobby Kelley, Aquatic Center Manager
Nominated by the Aquatic Center staff

Bobby has always wanted to run an aquatics center from its inception and to create a program in which every child has the chance to learn how to swim. The Linn-Mar Aquatic Center has allowed him to do just that.

Bobby manages all the daily activities and programs, including lap swim, swim teams, regular and Adaptive PE Classes, SwimAmerica swimming lessons, teaching second through fifth graders, swim meets, and training staff in lifeguarding and swim lesson instructors.

The aquatic center staff said, “Bobby’s vision has far surpassed what many thought possible for the aquatic center and yet he continues to find ways to improve what is being offered and look into additional projects. Bobby wants the aquatic center to represent a ‘welcome’ area for students to congregate. Many days during the week you can find students eating a meal, studying and socializing together. He also incorporates Linn-Mar students as lifeguards and lesson instructors.” According to a Linn-Mar parent, “Bobby has provided job skill development opportunities in interviewing, time management, and learning to work with others.”

You are greatly valued here at Linn-Mar! Congratulations, Bobby!

Service Award for Excellence in Superior Performance:

Sandy Schneekloth, 5th Grade Teacher at Bowman Woods Elementary
Nominated by Jill Brockschink

Jill Brockschink says, “Sandy is one of the most supportive people I know, to her colleagues, her students, and their families. She is always willing to share ideas and to help us to be the best teachers we can be, with words of encouragement, understanding, and advice (when asked). Sandy is a leader among teachers. She is the person we go to with questions about how to handle anything that comes up in the classroom, from lesson plans to discipline, to parent communication. The teamwork she has shown, the example she has been, and the lives she has touched over her 30+ years in the field have made her the perfect candidate.”

Sandy goes above and beyond the call of duty by ensuring she brings her lessons to life to create an unforgettable experience for every student in her classroom. She goes so far as to inviting students to her home to bake during the month of December. Tina March says, “Sandy sees the potential in each child and strives to bring out the best in each student both academically and effectively.”

Your exceptional and superior performance in the classroom is inspirational! Congratulations, Sandy!

Lion Pride Award for Going the Extra Mile:

Tom Daubs, School Resource Officer
Nominated by Leisa Breitfelder

Leisa says, “Officer Daubs is never ‘off duty’ when it comes to Linn-Mar and our kids. I have had multiple conversations with him off hours when concerns for our students have occurred within the night. Whenever asked for assistance, he is right on board. He is building relationships with our students and lives the ‘us’ attitude. You can find Officer Daubs all over our district. From teaching DARE classes at the middle schools, talking to students about smart driving [at the high school], or spending time with an elementary student eating lunch.”

Tom brings a sense of calm and support to many situations. Mike Shipley says, “Rather than exert his police authority, Tom’s presence helps parents understand that the district is ’ganging up for them, not against them.’”

Tom has also spent many hours volunteering for the district. He has volunteered to be the lead police officer for the Growl Prowl road race. Most of the time he spent was off the clock. He did this, because as Mike says, “Tom believed in the project and helping kids.”

Your devotion and extraordinary contributions to Linn-Mar are greatly appreciated! Congratulations, Tom!

Here’s what Linn-Mar staff said about the Volunteer Award winners:

Above & Beyond:

Karen Daubs

Karen serves the district as the Echo Hill volunteer coordinator and as an as Event Coordinator for America Reads Day.

Karen has managed more than 250 volunteers in her school for the last two years. Few volunteers, step forward to provide this level of leadership. Karen has been very successful in managing her school’s volunteers. Her dedication to helping students and staff is demonstrated by a climb of more than 1600 volunteer hours in the last two school years.

Karen’s positivity is always on display when she works with people, whether students, staff or volunteers. She enjoys the challenge and continues to support the volunteers and the staff of Echo Hill. She has been very successful in building a team that works together for the good of the school.

Karen is a business owner and working mom, in addition to giving 1,200 volunteer hours to the school district in just three years!

Dan Ludwig, Echo Hill principal said, “Karen has provided a level of leadership that encourages everyone to be involved, while maintaining a high quality of service and results. She is driven to make Echo Hill Elementary a better place and models a high standard of professionalism to our volunteers.

Karen’s dedication has grown the volunteer program at Echo Hill with high numbers of volunteers involved and more time given in support of our school. Karen has worked to develop the Echo Hill school community by connecting and involving people. Karen is highly organized, detail oriented and willing to take on those extra tasks with a smile.

She is kind and nurturing with our students and encourages them to do their best. We are extremely lucky to have Karen as our volunteer coordinator,” Ludwig said.

Above & Beyond:

Beth Morrissey

Beth has been involved with Bowman Woods Elementary for the last seven years and has given more than 2,300 hours of service to our district. Beth has provided leadership in two ways at Linn-Mar, first as PTO officer serving as the treasurer for four years, and in the last two years, as a school Volunteer Coordinator. As a coordinator, she has worked with staff, volunteers and students and insured the continuation of the program with dedication and passion.

Beth is a coordinator that has provided technical support to her fellow coordinators, often teaching new coordinators how to use needed volunteer software and serving as a mentor to them in their new role.

Tina March shared, “Beth brings such positive energy to our school. She has that indomitable spirit that enthuses people and provides confidence that no task is too challenging.

Beth is a constant presence in our school and does everything and anything needed. Not only does Beth help secure every volunteer we use in our building, she is also a classroom and lunchroom volunteer. She is willing to serve as an “anything we need her for” volunteer. Beth also volunteers for PTO projects and a multitude of monthly family night events. She has led the organization of our school parties and has been instrumental in developing parties that are highly engaging for our students.
Beth brings fun, creativity, and energy to the students and staff! Beth is not afraid of dressing up as an elf to deliver cocoa or as “Thing 1″ to celebrate reading if it will motivate our students. Her passion for education is evident, and she continually shares that passion for education at Bowman Woods.”

Making a Difference:

Angela and Shawn Burke

The Burke’s did not wait long before immediately getting involved with the school district. Angela and Shawn, both working parents, started immediately in their involvement first at Bowman Woods, and continued on to both, Novak and Indian Creek Elementary, already serving in three of our schools.

With more than a thousand hours of service given to our schools, it is obvious they are committed to education.
Both have brought their skill in working with children from their days with Camp Adventure, and have shared their skills with children.

Nominator, Pam Oliver said, “I don’t know what Indian Creek would do without the Burkes. They have organized our volunteers and filled in for every need in between. We are blessed by their creativity, enthusiasm and genuine love for learning. I’ve known Shawn and Angela since they were parents in my classroom. Their dedication to weekly visits was such an encouragement! They were always willing to take on any activity—from fabric paint to math games, party planning and activity directing, reading aloud and coaching kids individually–they intuitively work to meet the needs of each learner. The kids (and I) love the enthusiasm and creativity they bring to their time with us.

I’ll never forget the day they brought in their own props to liven up an old board game we use to practice counting money. They made fun memories that day, helping the kids pretend like they were actually visiting the Amusement Park. This year I get to teach their daughter, so once again I get the blessing of the Amazing Burke Duo and their weekly help. They do so much for us, but the “amazing” thing is that they do so much more than help in our classroom. The more I see them throughout the building, the more I realize they are leaving their mark on so many kids through the Encourage A Reader (EAR) program, working to give a boost to individual students, Read Naturally, helping classrooms with special projects…Indian Creek is so blessed by Mr. and Mrs. Burke.

Shawn and Angela, “Team Burke” will go out of their way to help get things completed for all teachers at Indian Creek. They are often in the school working on projects, prepping supplies or working with students. They understand that with a full school and schedule teachers struggle to get things done. They care and go out of their way to help staff. They also take things home to work on, and if they are unable to complete projects, they find someone to do it. Without Team Burke Indian Creek would not be the same. We appreciate all they do to help make this a Blue Ribbon School.”

Unsung Hero:

Judy Frantz

Judy, a nurse and retired genetics counselor, has supported the district with her time and expertise. Her involvement has touched almost every student at Linn-Mar High School. As a guest speaker, she has spoken to students quarterly, for the last twelve years. She has shared not only her time but her knowledge. Her generous contribution has had a real impact on the learning environment.

Nominator Lisa Skilang, Science Department Chair said “every year Judy has volunteered her time as an expert in genetics to speak to all of our biology classes. This is a full day of blocked classes each time she has visited Linn-Mar High School. We have 9 – 12 sections of biology each semester and she has shared her experience with all of those students. Often presenting to large groups, she has also helped individual students work on their genetics research projects. Our students have a better understanding of the role of a genetics counselor after working with Judy. Judy shares a variety of examples, stories, and depictions, so they understand the importance of advising families with genetic disorders. In addition, she has worked with our Bioethics and AP Biology classes. She has affected essentially every student who has walked through the doors of this school. Whether working or retired, Judy has shown a willingness to come and support our students’ learning.

Our students have truly appreciated the knowledge and experiences she has shared.”

Past Honorees

2017 – Beth Graves, Nadine Grieder, Rachelle Haker, Sue Harkness, Sara Hofer, Brian Johnson, Karla Koenen, Rachel Kumoto, Jessi Pfaff, and Keith Ponto

2016 – Paul Knapp, Susan Knight, and Kara Larson

2015, Sherri Condon, Dave Dunning, Dirk Halupnik, Ed.D., Andrew Lyons, Katie Mulholland, Ed.D., and Francis “Fuf” Renfer

2014 – Tina Monroe, Barb Ritter, and Ann Stark

2013 – Kathy Leonard, Dan Niemitalo, and Jackie Wellborn

2012 – Carole Raver, Angelina Ungs, Gary Warner and Wes Windham

2011 – Brett Henry, Jennifer Porter, Shawn Sandersfield, Elizabeth Wilson, and Jerry Van Dyke

2010 – Bob Crawford, Larry Gass, Marc McCoy, and Jim Teahen

2009 – Leigh Ann Cleland, Norm Northup, Catherine Spencer, and Mike Shipley

2008 – Steve Bartlett, Karla Brown Kevin McCauley, Karen McDonnell, and Diana Zrudsky

2007 – Shannon Bisgard, Bev Headington, and Erik Miles

2006 – Jim Brust, Charlie Kress, Pat Kress, Madelyn Olson, Cecilia Parks, and Clark Weaver

2005 – Norm Grimm and Joe North

2004 – Steve Colton and Lavern Gibbs

2003 – Rosanne Altenhofen, Jim Hard, Harry Hakanson, and Dr. Joe Pacha,

2002 – Diane Beach, Joan Fishburn, Normajean Grabau, Mary Ann Meyerhoff, and Carlyn Wessel

2001 – Karma Bailey, Jim Green, and Suanne Huffman

2000 – Pete King, Dale Monroe, and Nick Spencer

1999 – Terri Elgin, Carol Maloy, and Elwyn Maloy

1998 – Alyce Lowe, George Lowe, Barb Mead, and Bob Stephens

1997 – Ellen Bruckner, Nevin Roberts, and the Linn-Mar Booster Club

1996 – Darrell Dicken and Paula Grady

1995 – Shirley Pantini and Dennis Selness

1994 – John Corkery, Dr. Carolyn Heitz, and Dave Etzel

1993 – Glen Easterday and Rudy Novak

1992 – Swati Dandekar, Barb Edwards, Jim Edwards, and Lawrence Shroeder

1991 – Betty Becker, Lumir Dostal, Merna Moore, and Dorothy Thompson

1990 – Marilyn Finn and Marilyn Sippy