Wyoming has no shortage of exemplary school employees, which makes a new national award—the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award—a near impossible task to choose nominees for! The RISE Award seeks to recognize and promote the commitment and excellence exhibited by full- or part-time classified school employees who provide exemplary service to students in pre-kindergarten through high school. Nominees must, at a minimum, demonstrate excellence in the following areas: Work performance; School and community involvement; Leadership and commitment; Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work); Enhancement of classified school employees' image in the community and schools.
Governor Gordon, along with governors across the country, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Outlying Areas were each asked to forward two nominees to the U.S. Department of Education for national consideration. We wanted to take a moment to introduce to you Wyoming's two nominees!
Meet Gen Sheets! Gen is the Park County School District No. 6 Food Service Director.
"From the very start of our administration of this program, Gen has stepped up to be a real leader and a wealth of knowledge. She is also that person that diligently researches the nutrition of any of the items we select to ensure they meet appropriate sodium, sugar, and additional healthy guidelines. She really does go above and beyond for the kids,” said PCSD #6 Superintendent Peg Monteith. “She even notices things like dyes that are in food that I think most others overlook. She also has caught items proposed that did not meet the specifications and is able to assist in providing items that could be bid instead. She is extremely detail oriented and a true asset for our cooperative.”
It was an absolute pleasure to present Gen with a plaque commemorating her nomination for the RISE Award. Along with hearing from her family, district leadership, friends, and colleagues, it isn't hard to see how Gen fulfills the characteristics that define the exemplary service required to receive a nomination.
Meet Dawndrea Daly! Dawndrea is the Platte County School District #2 Food Service Director.
“Dawndrea truly believes all students are her kids. She runs a welcoming kitchen and never makes a student feel less than awesome,” said PCSD #2 Superintendent Mike Beard. “Being a Guernsey native, she is highly involved in the community volunteering her time during the holidays working on the local food and gift biker runs. Dawndrea is present when her kitchen needs to be used and steps right in to help whatever group is using it. She is supportive of students in activities outside of the classroom, attending concerts, plays, performances, and athletic events. If a student or community member needs something Dawndrea is there to help, often out of her own pocket. As frustrating as it can be when a staff member needs something at the last minute, often without planning ahead, she always is willing to help out with a smile on her face. Our cafeteria is a happy, welcoming place for students, staff and parents.”
Not only does Dawndrea run a welcoming kitchen and cafeteria, she figured out how to serve meals to around 100 children a day when schools abruptly closed in March 2020 for the remainder of the school year. She wasn't about to let children go without! It was heartwarming to hear the many tales of Dawndrea's big heart. Not only are students well-fed by her, they are well-loved.
We all know Wyoming lunch ladies (and lunch men) are superheroes, and Dawndrea has the custom Converse to prove it!
Gen, Dawndrea, and so many other school district employees work day in and day out to ensure that Wyoming schoolchildren are cared for both in and out of the classroom, and it's an honor to celebrate the exemplary service they provide to their communities.