Arthur Elementary - Donna Hawthorn
Donna can be found at Arthur from Monday to Friday, working throughout each school day with students in grades 1, 3 and 4. In the classroom she helps students stay on task and focus on performing at their personal best. When working one-on-one “Grandma Donna” as she is known gives her undivided attention assisting in learning math, writing and reading skills. Providing the students she works with the confidence and skills to be more successful in the classroom. Building self-confidence, personal best and academic achievement is a daily accomplishment for this one of a kind volunteer and foster grandparent. Donna’s willingness to be flexible, nonjudgmental and committed sets her apart from others.
Cleveland Elementary - Karen Loughren
Karen began volunteering after retiring from her full-time job and the Cleveland Elementary School community has benefited greatly. She visits each week, helping with “Popcorn Monday,” first grade math, and in the school library. She also keeps things moving at the school store, serving as the adult safety net for the fifth grade students who run the store by maintaining crowd control and limiting any confusion with the money. Yes, the popcorn would get popped if she wasn’t there, but it would be much more hectic! Karen brings an organized skill-set to each task. She graciously gives of her time so that both students and staff benefit. She is always willing to help out where she sees a need!
Coolidge Elementary - Billi Williams
Billi has served as both PTA president and vice-president at Coolidge. She has also organized the walk-a-thon (the school’s largest fundraiser of the year), led the Speak Up fifth grade speech program, helped with clerical needs, and served as a dependable homeroom mom in all three of her own children’s classrooms. Billi is a volunteer who is not only invested in her children’s education but the entire school community; she shares her time before school, after school and during the school day to help students and always with a smile.
Erskine Elementary - Mary Abbey
Students and staff depend on Mary’s weekly help. She does a variety of tasks when volunteering her time in all first and second grade classrooms. Her own education background is an added bonus. She is patient with, and kind to the students. In addition, she’s able to relate to each child at his or her level. Mary can be found in the hallway helping students read, practicing vocabulary, and working on assessments as well as helping students with data binders. She does an assortment of clerical tasks as well. Her positive attitude and frequent presence helps encourage and build a sense of family at Erskine.
Garfield Elementary - Coleen Ashlock
As a member of the Foster Grandparent Program, Coleen helps in the first grade and alternative kindergarten classes, contributing nearly 30 hours each week. She provides the kind of one-on-one attention that the busy teachers can’t always give and shares her time and talents with a positive attitude and caring level of patience. Coleen is well liked by students, staff, and other volunteers. The teachers who work with her describe her with such words as awesome, wonderful, gentle, soft spoken and steadfast. Coleen is proof that you can show kindness, compassion, and have a positive attitude at any age!
Grant Elementary - Leslie Burke
Leslie is one of Grant’s Page Pals. She meets with students every week to work on sight words, alphabet mastery, and sounds. She also works on reading comprehension and reads books with students. The students benefit from meeting with the same volunteer on a regular basis. The students she works with have made great gains both academically and socially. Leslie has also provided healthy snacks during Iowa Assessments. Leslie is a positive role model for students at Grant. She goes above and beyond to make connections with the students and they light up when they see her.
Grant Wood Elementary - Scott Brown, Outstanding District Volunteer
Volunteering for Scott Brown began as a suggestion from his child’s teacher to support his son’s struggles in the classroom. Four years later, Scott continues to volunteer daily even though his own child is no longer a student at Grant Wood. He is known as the “utility volunteer” helping each day by guiding small group reading for 3rd grade, shelving books in the Title I library, aiding in the cafeteria during lunch, and guiding small group math for 4th graders. He does all of this with a positive attitude and youthful energy that is contagious! He has also counted over $100,000 worth of Hy-Vee receipts, chaperoned field trips, taught basketball as a PTA after-school enrichment, and dressed up as the Little Caesar’s pizza “Caesarman” mascot to entertain students during field day.
Harrison Elementary - Lexi Coberly
Lexi serves as Harrison PTA vice president and has worked tirelessly to gather community donations for the school’s Spring Fling and Fall Festival events. She volunteers regularly in kindergarten and third grade classrooms, counts boxtops and Hy-Vee receipts, and organizes the Orange Leaf and Kernels nights events. Additionally, Lexi seeks out others whose time and talents would benefit Harrison, recruiting additional school volunteers.
Hiawatha Elementary - Erik Meggers
Erik works with third grade students of several skill levels on place value of numbers, addition and subtraction facts, three-digit addition and subtraction, and multiplication facts. When the Grant Wood AEA hearing van visits, Erik gathers small groups of children from the classroom and escorts them to and from the van for testing, minimizing classroom disruption. He also helps with every Hiawatha after-school event -- setting up, working shifts, and tearing down. He can always be counted on, and the whole Hiawatha school community benefits from it.
Hoover Elementary - Deb Nachazel
Deb is an integral part of Hoover’s volunteer program. She is an active member of the PTA, serving as president for the past two years. She previously held the offices of treasurer and secretary. Deb has taken the lead on school fundraisers, as well as evening family events, and the Hoover Hawk attire program. She is a servant leader and possesses a willingness to take on any challenge if it means that her efforts will help to make Hoover a better place. Deb always goes above and beyond to support the Hoover Hawks.
Jackson Elementary - Julie McMahan
Julie is a dedicated volunteer—a strong, quiet leader who never hesitates to lend her support to benefit students and staff. She provides academic support in classrooms by volunteering to work with small groups of children. She is creative and helps teachers design games and activities that further strengthen academic and social skills. Julie also designs the electronic Thursday Folder and Jetliner newsletter, collecting and formatting articles, fliers and other information. Additionally, she serves as Jackson’s representative for the District’s Blue Zones and the Wellness Council. Julie supports the Jackson school community in variety of ways; if we need help with anything, we know we can call on Julie and she will be there.
Johnson Elementary - Lisa Geissler
Lisa is the best kind of volunteer because she spends almost as much time at school as her children do. She is a strong advocate for students and is invested in the mission of Johnson, both as a current School of the Arts and as a future STEAM Academy Magnet school. Lisa is always available to help in any capacity, including field trip chaperone, reading with students, and classroom events. She also organized and supervised the school Talent Show, helped with the Winter Dance, organized PTA teacher conference meals, arranged for snacks for all the students in after-school enrichment classes, and has been a parent rep for the Magnet School trips. The staff and students appreciate her willing spirit and bright smile.
Kenwood Elementary - Kay Jahnel
Kay is exceptional! She organizes the weekly Backpack program with the help from Christ Episcopal Church and HACAP. She gathers the food and fills some 40 individual bags for students. She then delivers the food to Kenwood. Although she was recently injured, she found others to keep the backpack program going until she is able to return. Kay has also organized a book drive gathering gently used books for distribution during back-to-school and PTA events. During the summer you will find Kay in the school garden helping to maintain the produce and ensure it is a successful harvest for our students. She truly cares about the health and well-being of everyone in the Kenwood school community
Madison Elementary - Myrna Makabi
Myrna volunteers twice a week, helping first grade students learn their sight words. You will always see her with a smile on her face and the students love the one-on-one attention she provides. Myrna is also active with PTA events -- planning, baking, and helping with games. This year, Myrna became coordinator for Labels for Education and has boosted the program, earning more funding for the school. Myrna is also busy with Lego League and helping with field trips to Rockwell.
Nixon Elementary - Angela Kinkeade
Angie is currently serving as the Nixon PTA president. She also volunteers at school during the week, shelving books, working on material prep projects, checking papers for teachers, and preparing activities for PTA events. She helps with classroom activities and the Ellis Island Immigration Simulation program, as well as the backpack program, spaghetti supper, Winter Wonderland, Math morning, Reading night events, popcorn Fridays, and the spring carnival. She also takes material prep projects home to finish for teachers. Angie is at Nixon almost daily and is willing to do just about anything for students, teachers and staff.
Pierce Elementary - Karen Knight
Karen has been an active volunteer at Pierce for 10 years. One of her most significant contributions was the development of the Panther Running Club. Every fall and spring, Karen leads and cheers on a multitude of students as they race around the Pierce track. She makes working toward a healthier lifestyle a fun and exciting adventure. Karen has also chaired the lunch room duty committee, coordinating volunteers to help assist students in the lunch room. Those lunch room volunteers have always included Karen herself. Karen has also been a consistent volunteer at classroom parties and with the May Fun Fest.
Taylor Elementary - Jan Albury
Jan has been volunteering twice each week with the Book Buddies program since the program began in 2007. Book Buddies is a one-on-one reading intervention program that pairs a first grade student with a community volunteer for twice weekly sessions. Jan has played an integral role each year in helping her book buddies become more confident readers and to help them reach their end of the year reading goals. Jan has rarely missed a session with her buddies in the past 8 years and has been a caring and supportive mentor and role model. Jan has also stepped in to offer support to our new volunteers in the program when needed. Her enthusiasm is contagious and sets the stage for excitement for learning.
Truman Elementary - Helen Girard
Helen is a passionate educator and after retiring as a District teacher she began volunteering at Truman. She feels very comfortable working with small groups of students on their math and reading skills and spends her time working with fourth and fifth graders during the intervention block. Helen has also helped younger students with Headsprout each week in the computer lab. One of Helen’s goals is to help students feel comfortable with her. If they need to talk, she is always willing to take the time to listen. Helen is always respectful and kind, and the students enjoy seeing her both in and out of the classroom. Teachers appreciate the additional support she provides and we see the benefit of this support in our data.
Van Buren Elementary - Betty Ehlinger
Betty puts the Energizer Bunny to shame! She has been volunteering in the Van Buren kindergarten corner for several years, presenting her wonderful story boards while delighting students with her marvelous stories. She also helps with the annual Walk-A-Thon, encouraging students while walking with them on the school trail. She makes America Reads Day a priority. She helped make sure that every student received a friendship gram and she is constantly rallying to acquire funds or even gently used reading material for our Book Bonanza. Actually, whenever Betty hears (and this could be just a whisper) of a project in need of support at Van Buren, she immediately becomes involved and reaches out to others to help.
Viola Gibson Elementary - Sara Radke
Sara currently serves as Gibson’s Volunteer Coordinator. She helps identify, assign, and prepare volunteers for all school activities. She makes sure that they know exactly what they are doing. Sara also volunteers herself to help with school events. Without Sara the school community would have a more difficult time connecting the community with the activities they would like to help with. Her organization and time help activities throughout the school run more efficiently which means more fun and easier learning for the students.
Wright Elementary - Chris Watson
Chris is the backbone of and driving force behind Wright’s very successful Breakfast Buddies program. On his own, Chris recruits individuals to enjoy breakfast alongside students, sharing conversation and lending an ear as a mentor. The breakfast program gives students an opportunity to start the day off right by knowing that someone cares. In addition, he has orchestrated meals for staff during conferences. Chris is the model of consistency with his volunteerism. He has shown time and again that he is ready to be there for the students.
Franklin Middle School - Ann Eganhouse-Busta
Ann has been a valuable volunteer at Franklin. She has spearheaded the costume committee for the Illumination show choir, dedicating countless hours to inventory costumes, measure and fit student performers, and bag all pieces. She has been present at many evening rehearsals and has chaperoned at competitions. Her hard work and diligence allows the director to concentrate on working with the students. There are over 70 students involved in the program, and the help of a volunteer like Ann is invaluable!
Harding Middle School - Bill Haas
Bill provides general trial law and courtroom expertise to the coach teacher and students participating in the middle school mock trial program. He assists the coach teacher to guide the students’ drafting of written direct and cross examinations that support the thesis of the case strategy developed by the teams. He also assists with educating and prepping students to professionally conduct themselves in performing their respective roles as trial lawyers or witnesses on various components of trial activities, such as engaging in direct and cross examination, making and responding to evidentiary objections and making opening and closing arguments without the aid of written notes.
McKinley Middle School - Sue Novak
Sue has dedicated countless hours to the performing arts at McKinley doing behind-the- scenes jobs that enhance the entire program. She has taken on major responsibilities handling logistics and coordinating volunteers for the musical and show choir, and her efforts have allowed teachers and students to focus on creating the best performances possible. Sue has also been an active member of the PTA and has helped with the magazine sales fundraising effort and the annual Bear Walk. Sue is also involved in delivering snacks to students during Iowa Assessment testing week.
Roosevelt Middle School - Maize Micek
The OPTION program houses 78 eighth grade students in a highly engaging environment using project-based learning. Students make choices about how they will meet student learning expectations through completion of different projects that help them grow as individual learners and members of society. As a new program to Roosevelt, the teachers soon realized they needed more adult helpers. Maize’s volunteer contributions have given students some of the extra, small group attention needed. Maize comes to Roosevelt twice a week and tutors two groups in the area of math. In addition, she works with a student who is in an advanced math class to ensure her needs are being met. Mrs. Micek has also been willing to help chaperone field trips.
Taft Middle School - Anita Brandon
Anita has been an integral part of the Taft fine arts department for many years, assisting behind the scenes for chorus concerts, drama productions, and show choir. This year alone Anita has attended almost every rehearsal for our show choir. She and her mother–in–law teamed up to fit, alter, and distribute over 150 costumes, as well as organizing the show’s costume change. Anita has also served as the show choir’s photographer, capturing great pictures of students in action. Whether it is helping with costumes, building sets, or finding a band-aid for a student, Anita has been the right hand to our directors and a huge support for Taft students.
Wilson Middle School - Chad Lind
Chad volunteered as an adult mentor for the Wilson Lego League team. As an engineer at Rockwell Collins he brought robotics and programming expertise to the classroom that proved invaluable to the team. During the design phase Chad brought his own Lego robot to use as a test platform for our programming efforts. When the team attended the regional competition, Chad was there to work with students and fine tune the robot during the meet. His efforts gave students a chance to work with someone on a professional level to meet a common goal, an experience that they will take forward in future educational and professional endeavors.
Jefferson High School - Edna Kadlec
Edna began volunteering in 1992, when her daughter was a freshman at Jefferson. She has never left us. She helped with the Band of Blue as a parent and then began helping with Kingston concessions during the fall sports season. She now also leads concession work for track and soccer each spring and softball during the summer. Edna is literally giving her time and services year-around for student athletes. Over the past 23 years, Edna has committed thousands of hours to serve the Jefferson community, logging over 500 hours per year and even putting in 14 hours on some single days. The spark that was ignited while Edna helped our Band of Blue has blazed into a wonderful light for our students and athletes throughout the years. She sets a wonderful example!
Kennedy High School - Mike Murdock
Mike has been instrumental in the support and organization of co-curricular programming at Kennedy. He has served in leadership positions for the boys’ basketball parent support group for several years, providing vision and direction in both fundraising efforts and community service projects. He has also been vital to the overall athletic Booster Club, serving as a golf outing committee co-chair and growing this event into a $20,000+ fundraising event each of the past three years. Mike has been essential in leading efforts to meet funding needs that provide high quality, educationally based programming, as evident by KHS programs earning the 2013-14 Bank Iowa Challenge Cup Trophy for excellence in academic and co-curricular programming.
Metro High School - Lynette Richards
Metro does not have a PTA, Booster Club, or a large parent support group but this is where Lynette steps in! She is recently retired but has continued to support Metro’s current and graduated students. Many Metro students have non-academic factors that contribute to their school attendance and positive progress in their education. Lynette volunteers to help students overcome these barriers. Whether it involves rides to school, providing basic living supplies, or connecting students to community services, Lynette is there to provide her time and assistance. She continues to be a resource for our staff when they need additional help preparing students in graduating and the transition from school to the “real world.”
Washington High School - Teresa Wake
Teresa is always ready to help! She volunteers for chaperoning, hydration, and pit crewing for the Marching Band, Concerts, Speech Contests, Drama, Bowling League, Concessions, Academic Assemblies, Mo Show, helps with the school plays, and provides many food donations. She is an active member of the PTA and PPA, a Band Rep, Women’s Bowling Parent Rep, PTA Treasurer, Drama parent, Speech parent, and a member of the City PTA. Teresa is a strong advocate for Washington staff, and the students and is invested in the mission of PTA at a local, city and state level.