Lower was congratulated for her work and leadership establishing the district's Great Start Readiness Program, and getting the program off to an impressive start. Already after its first year, the program is recognized by parents and county officials as one of the very best programs for young children in all of Van Buren County and the Southwest Corner of Michigan. Great Start Readiness is a program for students too young for Kindergarten or even Young 5's, but who would benefit from a year of pre-school academic preparation.
Cox was recognized for her outstanding teaching and directorship of our band program, plus the quality relationships she builds with the young people she serves. Under her direction students have flourished in our band program, and our marching bands are recognized across Michigan for their quality and achievement.
Westcott was recognized for her lofty academic standards for high school English students, mixed with her genuine, care, concern, and commitment to the well-being of her students. Westcott also serves the district as MS/HS English Department Chair, and under her leadership the MS/HS English Department has begun several new initiatives, including events to showcase student writing, and an emphasis on K-12 development and continuity in reading instruction. Westcott was quick to credit and thank her mother (who was in attendance, Jean Westcott, herself a retired English teacher), for the example she provided for so many years as a role model of what a quality, caring teacher should be.
Also honored during the program were the three Gobles Educational Heroes recognized earlier this week in a celebration at the Van Buren Intermediate School District. Recognized as Educational Heroes were Elementary Principal Terry Breen, Athletic Director/Dean of Students Chris Miller, and Administrative Assistant to the Middle School and Athletic Office, Jodi Winne.
Five staff people were honored for the occasion of their retirement, and they were Bonnie Bailey, Pat Mullins, Ellen Rebenstorf, Diane Stanton, and Laura Blink.