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Dr. Higgins: Recognizing, thanking employees showcases OneMa1ze passion, talent

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize USD 266 It's the month of gratitude and counting our blessings, and, when it comes to the talented employees at Maize USD 266, that list of blessings is very long.
It is vital that we recognize the importance of employees by awarding them and affirming them, reminding passionate individuals in a variety of roles just how important they are to our OneMa1ze school community. We truly are stronger and better together, and we recognize that any employee can play an important part in the life and future of a student.
We are in our second year of our Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff awards, and we continue to honor four employee winners each quarter. Please see below for our latest winners, who were nominated by their peers. Since the program's inception, we have honored 20 employees selected from more than 200 nominations. The stories we hear are inspiring. One teacher nominated a bus driver who, hearing that one of her student passengers, a foster child, did not have any treats to take to school for a birthday celebration, purchased birthday treats and dropped them off at an elementary school for the child. We have recognized employees who work as a nurse, hardware specialist, paraeducator, secretary, and bookkeeper, among others.
Last year, working with my Superintendent Student Advisory Team, students encouraged their peers to thank teachers and Maize USD 266 employees who played a pivotal part in their lives, and we displayed their hand-written comments for others to see. They were touching and genuine and a good reminder of what motivated us to work in education in the first place.
Many of our departments and schools have their own systems and processes to affirm employees. The Maize USD 266 Transportation Department, for instance, recognizes a driver and para of the month, and we have celebrated the monthly winners so far this year here in Connections and on our official district Facebook and Twitter accounts.
We also have a OneMa1ze, OneVision strategic plan focus team looking at other ways to get you and members of our OneMa1ze community engaged and involved in appreciating our employees. This project supports our strategic plan to attract, develop, and retain high-quality employees. Our staff family is the foundation of our district, and we want to continue to strengthen that great foundation. We look forward to the rollout of this program later this school year. If there is a Maize USD 266 employee who has made a difference in your life and/or the life of your child, please do not wait to share with that employee the influence they have had on your family. It will be one more blessing for them to count this Thanksgiving.
Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools