Three honored for supporting staff, students
Posted on: Jan 24, 2020
Three staff members from Delano Public Schools recently received Education Support Staff Awards from Resource Training & Solutions during a recognition banquet in Sartell.
Food service director Kris Larson, high school IT coordinator Michael Patterson, and intermediate school Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (ADSIS) paraprofessional Stephanie Schreyer were nominated by Delano district staff members and chosen from a field of candidates to receive the honors.
Larson is in her 25th year with Delano Public Schools. After moving to Delano in 1984, she worked at Edie Mae’s for four years, followed by eight years at local nursing homes before she joined the district in 1995.
“I really am humbled by this honor,” said Larson, adding that while she loves many aspects of her job, opportunities to interact with students are her favorite. Larson often gathers student feedback and suggestions in regard to school meals, and enjoys supporting students in their activities.
“Our students do not realize how lucky they are to have Kris Larson as the food service director,” a nomination statement from a fellow co-worker said. “She goes above and beyond to get the best food for our kids. … This spring she took the suggestions of the students and tried numerous food items at their request. She is always aiming to please, and you will never see her without a smile on her face!”
Larson said that engagement comes naturally.
“When you feed kids for lunch and sometimes breakfast for a few years, you get to know many of them personally. They become a special part of my life,” Larson said. “Yes, I get pretty attached. The many regulations and required documentation takes a lot of my time and energy these days ‒ much more than when I started ‒ but the students make it worthwhile.”
Patterson is in his second year with Delano Public Schools, having previously worked for Apple and human resource company ADP.
“My work experience at these two companies has greatly helped me in my current role, especially (in) communicating technical terminology to others in simple language,” he said.
The Chicago native has enjoyed the chance to meet co-workers around the district and serve their technology needs since moving to Minnesota. His focus on service has not gone unnoticed.
“Michael … has been amazing,” said a nomination written by a co-worker. “He responds in a very timely manner and is able to resolve issues. If something comes up that needs to be addressed immediately, he is willing to respond quickly. He has been a great addition to our IT team!”
A second nomination agreed.
“Michael is the best! He is so attentive to the needs of others and is ready and willing whenever you need him,” the nomination said. “He is incredibly helpful and has been a wonderful addition to our IT department.”
Patterson said the award was a complete surprise.
“I didn’t expect this recognition at all, and honestly, I didn’t know about it until one of my peers congratulated me,” he said. “I am thankful to the Lord for this honor, and I am humbled to receive this award alongside Stephanie and Kris. It certainly motivates me to continue to serve and help in any way possible.”
Schreyer is currently in her fifth year working in behavior and math interventions, and previously served as a special education para for the district. She was the only one of Delano’s three award-winners who was able to attend the banquet in person.
“I am extremely honored,” said Schreyer. “I work with so many truly dedicated, hard-working, and amazing colleagues. To be chosen from this talented group is
truly special. Not only did I receive the award, but I was treated to dinner and an awards banquet. It was a fabulous night being honored and recognized.”
She said that making connections with students is one of the things she enjoys most about her job.
“When I take the time to build relationships with my students it pays off because they want and choose to work hard for me, and (this) results in success!” Schreyer said. “It feels really good when you see a student succeed and you know you played a role in helping that happen.”
Schreyer said that the opportunity to serve alongside skilled and dedicated staff members is another highlight of her work that motivates her on a daily basis.
“I work with an amazing team in a very positive environment,” she said. “This positive culture inspires me to give back my very best and to always find ways to improve myself, which of course results in improvements for the students.”
Schreyer has enjoyed her work so much, in fact, that she is earning a degree in elementary education and anticipates earning her license in the next few months.
In nominating Schreyer for the Education Support Staff Award, a fellow staff member said that Schreyer makes a positive impact on many students and staff members every day.
“She has a fair and realistic approach when working with her students,” the nomination said. “She validates their concerns and helps them create achievable goals.”
The nomination also noted that Schreyer has been helpful in informing other staff members about data-collection tools and in working to develop the district’s e-learning capabilities.
“Stephanie always has a smile and is approachable by both students and staff,” said the nomination.
Schreyer said a highlight of the banquet night was meeting and taking a photo with Kat Perkins from The Voice, who served as the keynote speaker. Overall, she felt deeply grateful for the recognition.
“It was really an amazing honor and I feel lucky to be part of such an amazing team of colleagues,” Schreyer said.