Brainerd Public Schools Employees Receive Above & Beyond Award

Brainerd Public Schools Employees Receive Above & Beyond Award
Posted on 08/29/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Brainerd Public Schools Employees Receive Above & Beyond AwardBrainerd Public Schools are pleased to present the 2019 employee Above and Beyond Awards.   

Recipients of this award serve as an inspiration not only to the school district community but also to the broader community because they are role models who strive to have a positive impact every day with our young people. 

The 2019 Above and Beyond awards went to Sue Headlee, Trudi Storbakken, and Deb Thorkelson. The awards were presented on Monday, August 26 at the Brainerd Public Schools all staff meeting. 

Sue Headlee has worked for Brainerd Public Schools for 23 years  and is a 2nd grade teacher at Nisswa Elementary. Reading from Sue’s nomination, Andrea Rusk, principal of Brainerd High School said, “She radiates such care, compassion, and warmth. She communicates with her students respectfully and so they feel heard…She is student driven, passionate, and a strong advocate according to a colleague. She never gives up on a student, no matter the barriers.”

Trudi Storbakken is a counselor at Forestview Middle School and has served students at Brainerd Public Schools for 20 years. Tammy Stellmach, principal of Baxter Elementary, shared, “Trudi has made a lasting impact on countless students and colleagues....She works around the clock, regardless of the school day schedule, to make sure her students are first and foremost, safe, and have all of the tools they need to be successful.” 

Deb Thorkelson is an educational assistant at Garfield Elementary and has worked for the District for 20 years.. Nancy Anderson, assistant director at Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative, quoting from the nomination Deb received, stated,“She has such a gift for making everyone she meets feel special. She goes out of her way to make people smile and laugh. I always say she is such a day brightener because so many times I have seen her turn kids' frowns to smiles in an instant as they are walking in to school or getting on the bus. She always sees the good in everyone and every situation. Her consistently positive attitude is a breath of fresh air and truly inspiring.”

The Above and Beyond Awards annually recognize employees who demonstrate a positive attitude that inspires others and consistently go above and beyond what is expected so that students can be successful.   

All school district employees are eligible for this award and anyone can nominate. Nominations are gathered every spring.  

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