Three key Canby School District staff members have been recognized in recent months for going above and beyond in their service to local students and families, receiving the Canby Area Recognition of Excellence, or CARE, Award from Canby Kiwanis.
Canby Kiwanians established the CARE Award to provide opportunities to recognize teachers, counselors, coaches and other school staff who make a difference in the lives of others and in the community.
Typically, the committee honors a single district staff member with the award each month.
In December, the CARE award went to Baker Prairie Middle School Principal Jennifer Turner, who plans to retire in June of this year after 40 years in education, 25 of them in the Canby School District.
Then in January, it went to Canby High School technical assistant Evan Berry followed in February by beloved Carus bilingual instructional assistant Selene Gonzalez.
Several staff members nominated Turner, with one pointing out that time was running out to honor her.
One of her nominations noted that she is the first to show up at school in the morning and the last to leave. It also said that she always offers a caring ear and a needed hug. Other staff members who wrote nominations said how thankful they were for her.
“Jennifer is the most generous and genuine boss anyone could ever ask for,” Ruby Medrano said. “She cares so much for everyone who surrounds her. She wouldn’t ever hesitate to step in and help or sacrifice her own time and self-care to help you.”
With the award rotating schools for the first time this academic year, next up was Canby High School, with the award going to Berry, who went above and beyond to serve students this fall when he stepped up to get certified as a teacher to fill a gap, according to his nomination.
Berry developed the curriculum, systems and structures for the class. Now back in his regular role, Berry continues to share his depth of knowledge and build trust with students.
Then just this month, the CARE Award went to Gonzalez, who was shocked when district staff arrived at the Carus front office to surprise her. Gonzalez reportedly goes above and beyond to make all families feel welcome at Carus and is always asking what more she can do to help.
“We could not do the work that we do without Selene!” her nominations said. “She makes Carus better!”
As CARE Award winners, Turner, Berry, and Gonzalez were invited to the corresponding monthly school board meetings and honored there. They received a plaque and gift basket from local businesses in recognition of their work.
The award will continue to rotate with Eccles up in March.
The major sponsors include Canby Kiwanis and Columbia Bank; and other local sponsors include Wayward Sandwiches, Swan Island Dahlias, Wild Hare Saloon, Book Nook, Rice Time Canby, Gwynn’s Coffeehouse, Backstop Bar & Grill, DirectLink, Puddin’ River Chocolates, Odd Moe’s Pizza, Cutsforth’s Market and Matt Olsen Insurance.
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