Isn’t it nice when this happens?

We have a 100$ Bass Pro Shops Gift Card to give away this week!!!!!!!  (This was a promo we received upon purchasing parts for something that broke. Thanks, Tommy and Rip!!!!!)  SOOO, here are the rules!

All employees are eligible. Be very specific about what the employee did which made a positive difference in the lives of students or fellow employees. Judges will be community business members outside the school system. The winner will be selected from only the submitted entries.

That was the call to action from Tarrant City Schools superintendent Dr. Shelly Mize. There was an overwhelming number of responses from employees nominating fellow colleagues who they thought had gone “above and beyond the normal call of duty.” At their meeting that week, a member of the Tarrant Pinson Rotary Club member read each nomination out loud to the other members present. Below was the “hands down” winner:

Dr. Mize,
   …I would really love to see Ms. McKenna Keopinsavang [Ms. Keo] win this gift card. I would like to nominate Ms. Keo for this gift because I feel as though she has gone over and beyond her duty as a teacher.
    She was all prepared with lessons and classroom procedures in August 2014 ready for the new 6th grade class when she was presented with a need from Tarrant.  She was asked to consider teaching math at the middle school because they didn’t have a teacher to teach the class.  She was supportive of the administration as they felt she was the best teacher for the task at hand.  She transferred the day before school started to take a middle school math position that the district desperately needed her for.   She had such a willing attitude toward the whole experience because she wanted what was best for the students, District and Tarrant.  While all the other classes were greeting parents and new students at open house, she was quickly throwing her “stuff” in boxes.  She loaded all her teaching supplies and spent most of the same day moving.  She was ready to go the next morning, the first day of school.
    She also studied nights and weekends for the Praxis in order to be Highly Qualified to teach middle school at Tarrant.  She was willing to do what she needed to do in order to be the best teacher for our Tarrant students.
She has taught in this district for many years and has always gone out of her way to provide extra experiences for the students.  She has been a coach, taught a boys stomp team, lead fundraisers and was a cheerleader sponsor in addition to the many other activities she has provided for our district.  She even taught an all boys class one year, and the boys loved her and grew academically.
    She was a mentor teacher to me when I began teaching 6th grade.  She was always willing to share her ideas, supplies and time in order that the kids could get what they needed.  She supported me and was always willing to stay after school to help and do what she could do.
    Last year she worked with a female student in the school who has physical challenges.  She developed an exercise program for her to get physically fit.  The student lost weight and felt better about herself.  Throughout the year it was evident that the girl’s self esteem strengthened.  Ms. Keo worked with her after school, evenings and weekends.  Ms. Keo even involved her mother and younger siblings in the exercise program.
    Ms. Keo exemplifies all that Tarrant is about….our kids!  She has made a professional home in our district and has made a difference throughout her years here.  I am one of many who could go on and on about the many positive differences Ms. Keo has made here in Tarrant.
    I believe if she won it would be a way we as a district could give back to her.  It would be a way we could show her how much we appreciate her!!

Thank you for your consideration,
Sandra Mahner

Wow! “Ms. Keo exemplifies all that Tarrant is about…” and all that our profession is about – creating great places for students to learn and parents to send their kids for an excellent education. But wait! There’s more…

In addition to being moved by Ms. Keo’s story, six other nominations really spoke to the Rotary Club members. One Rotary Club member, Mr. Wayne Hobson, then wrote a check for gift cards for the other six exceptional employees. Dr. Mize shared, “It was a HUGE HONOR to award 700$ in gift cards Friday morning, Dec. 19!!!!!!” She adds:

This was such a fun way of honoring hard work that we would like to do this again! I am hoping that our next Above and Beyond giveaway will be at the end of the 3rd 9 weeks. I would also like to express my gratitude to our local Tarrant Pinson Rotary Club for carefully selecting recipients. It was also great for them to read about the amazing work you do “above and beyond” on a daily basis.

Do you have a system for reward and recognition? If not, it’s not too late. Develop a system for rewarding and recognizing employees that come to work each day hoping that they can make a difference in their students’ lives. This is one way to return focus to why we do what we do every day – purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference.



Dr. Shelly Mize is Superintendent of Tarrant City Schools, Tarrant, Alabama. As superintendent Dr. Mize is committed to providing students with a high-quality education and equipping them with skills to be successful in college and/or a career. She shared about her time as a principal that “Tarrant Elementary is truly the most amazing school. It’s my dream school and my dream job. Although I am no longer the principal in that awesome building, I’m proud to say that my own daughter is a student at TES!” Read more about how Tarrant City Schools prepares students for “learning, service, and success” here.

Continue the conversation with educational leaders like Dr. Mize at this year’s Destination High Performance in Orlando, Florida, February 9 – 11. Tweet Dr. Karen Owen at @KKOwen_Coach or visit here for more information.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Filed under: How to Lead…, Our Partners, Who’s Engaged? Tagged: Dr. Shelly Mize, Education, How to Lead Teachers to Become Great, Leadership, Lessons from #EdLeaders, Making a Difference, Purpose, Reward and Recognition, School Leader, Studer Education, Superintendent, Tarrant City Schools, Worthwhile Work

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