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You Make a Difference Award


The You Make a Difference Award is presented to staff members whose exemplary actions support students, colleagues and the mission of Salina Public Schools. Recipients of these awards receive a lapel pin and a handwritten note personally delivered by a board of education member.
Christopher Walker, Custodian and Randy Booth, Building Operator
Cottonwood Elementary School
Cottonwood Elementary had a custodian retire at the end of December. While the search for a replacement custodian began immediately, unforeseen circumstances arose to delay the search. With their positive, can-do attitudes, Christopher and Randy absorbed the extra work and stress to maintain the high standards of service for Cottonwood students, staff and families. Thank you Christopher and Randy for making a difference!

Central High School Food Service Staff
With the construction of a new kitchen at Central High School, the food service staff faced extreme challenges daily. Carrying supplies up from the basement; maneuvering through construction barriers, dust and fumes; heating food with roaster pans and microwaves – all of these became regular challenges. Regardless, the food service staff at Central remained committed to serving hot meals. Thank you for making a difference!

Rhonda Lagroon, Social Worker
Schilling and Coronado Elementary Schools
Rhonda embraced the challenge of a t-shirt fundraiser for a colleague facing a health challenge. Giving generously of her time, she designed, ordered and distributed the t-shirts. Rhonda’s attitude and actions remind us about the importance of selflessness and the merit of putting others’ needs ahead of our own. Thank you for making a difference!

Julie Clayson, Family Support Therapist and Alexys Neuburger, Counselor
Heusner Elementary School
Julie and Alexys planned and led three sessions for parents about positive discipline strategies. Their detailed planning – including meal coordination – for families is a prime example of their dedication to providing support and resources to help students and families thrive. Thank you for making a difference!
Gina Turner
Meadowlark Elementary School Library Media Specialist
In addition to her work in the Meadowlark library, Gina is the South High School Peppers Dance Team Coach. Gina helped design Pink Out shirts that were purchased and worn by both Central and South High schools’ families. The two schools combined forces and raised money for the fight against breast cancer at Tammy Walker Cancer Center. Thank you Gina for making a difference!

Garett Soden, South Middle School Building Operator; Gerald Funk, Angie Monk, Gene Bennett, Ramona Burciaga, South Middle Custodians; and Brian Hilbert, District Electrical Manager
During an October dance at South Middle School a fire sprinkler broke, allowing stagnant sprinkler water to flood portions of the commons area. This team of professionals immediately began fixing the leak and cleaning up the mess. They saved the District thousands of dollars because of their selfless service late on a Friday night. Thank you for making a difference!
Jamie Gillespie
Opportunity Now Service Provider
When Opportunity Now students need emotional support they always find a listening ear and helpful advice from Jamie. Always accepting the toughest challenges with a grateful and willing heart, Jamie brings knowledge and expertise to help students make meaningful changes. Thank you Jamie, for making a difference!

Paraeducators at Opportunity Now
Cynthia Lanterman, Ana Ingram, Brenda Hull, Mary Holeman, Betty Jurgensen, Darlene Hoeffner, Sherry Bledsoe and Kathryn Snell go above and beyond their typical school duties in many ways. They organize and facilitate students’ enrichment activities, volunteer for school-based events, prepare meals and help organize for parent-teacher conferences and family style dinners. Thank you paraeducators for making a difference!

Scott Ebel
Lakewood Middle School Building Operator
During the summer USD 305 hosted the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) budget workshop and its 165 attendees at Lakewood Middle School. Scott provided oversight including arranging enough tables and chairs from around the district, waxing the floors and creating signage. Thank you Scott for making a difference!

Shirley Patrick
District Business Office Accounting Specialist
Shirley was the go-to person who had a key role in the success of the KSDE budget workshop held in Salina. Shirley coordinated set-up, food and drink management and registration for the event. Thank you Shirley for making a difference!