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Monday, April 23, 2018

Thank You!

Thank you!  Each day we use these two small words to appreciate people around us.  No matter where you are, the sentiment is the same, we appreciate what you are doing!  Other ways of expressing our thankfulness include: Merci beaucoup, Gracias, Grazie, Danke, Dank u,  Obrigado, or a simple “Thanks!”

In 1952 the last week in April was set aside to recognize secretaries through National Professional Secretaries Week, with the Wednesday of that week especially promoted as  National Secretary’s Day.  This important week filled with a chorus of “Thank You!” is now recognized as Administrative Professional‘s Day.  The recognition of Administrative Professionals was the work of very thankful and forward think gentleman named Harry F. Klemfuss.  Just as Mr. Klemfuss was appreciative of his staff, the teachers, support personnel , administrators and students at Columbia School District send a heartfelt “Thank You!” out to all of our administrative professionals!

Columbia School District has many wonderful, helpful, cheerful people in our organization. Since this is Administrative Professional’s week, I would like to introduce you to five very wonderful people who make Columbia Schools special. Monika Cook is the administrative professional to the superintendent and the Board of Education. Parents who call the Columbia School District have the pleasure of speaking with her as she offers assistance.  Although this is her first year as the administrative professional at the superintendent’s office, she has worked for the district as the Upper Elementary administrative assistant, classroom aide, and ABC room aide. She enjoys working with parents, students and teachers. Her pleasant smile and easy going manner helps put even new students at ease. We are pleased to have Monika in the office at Columbia School District!

At Columbia Upper Elementary School the administrative professional is Lori Hunter. She is the first person our parents and staff members see when they walk into the office. Her pleasant demeanor is reassuring to parents of ill children and teachers who need some support. Lori Hunter has worked for the Columbia School District for almost 20 years. She told me, “I enjoy working for Columbia School District because of the small community. Over the years I have developed sincere relationships with students and families across the district.” She continued by saying, “I have the best job!!!  In what working environment can you receive so much love every single day?  I adore all the hugs that I receive in a day. The students at CUES are the best. They are kind and respectable. I am so blessed to work with a group of amazing teachers, staff and the best Principal ever!!” One thing is evident to anyone who sees Lori work with children; she exhibits a loving caring spirit to all!

At Columbia Central High School we have the dynamic duo: Nianne Prendel  and Debbie Russell! Mrs. Prendel has worked in the Columbia School District with various responsibilities, and has been in the CCHS office for several years.  She assists Mrs O’Neil and is the hub of communication for parents, teachers and students at CCHS.  Students appreciate her calm demeanor, quick smile, and helpful assistance when they are in need.  She is kind to students and staff and is willing to assist them with any concerns that they have.

When students think of Debbie Russell, they think of her laugh and cheerful demeanor.  After working for the Columbia School District for 26 years, she still enjoys her job. She said, “I like a lot of things about Columbia Schools but my favorite is the students. My husband and I moved to this community in 1979, my children all graduated from Columbia Central High School, I have seen a lot of changes to this community and district and I’m very proud to be a part of the Columbia family.”

New to Columbia Elementary School as the administrative professional is CCHS Alum Carol Ladd.  We are so happy to have Mrs. Ladd at Columbia!  She brought experience as an elementary administrative professional with her and has made the transition nicely!  She keeps things organized and moving quickly at Columbia Elementary School, assisting the principal and teachers.  Her cheerful voice and understanding is reassurance for even the most concerned child and parent. 

At Columbia Options High School and Adult Education, Bill Miles is the new administrative professional.  He brings with him experience and expertise from his former position in another district.  His organizational ability is essential as he registers students six times per year!  His steady voice and kind demeanor enables him to assist students with their various concerns.  He is able to keep track of students as they work through their online curriculum, or attend in the classroom setting at Options.  He is a tremendous asset to the students, teachers and principal at Options!

Let’s make this week a time when we say “Thank You” to our wonderful and caring administrative professionals!  If you have any questions about Columbia School District or would like to register your child, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Columbia's Top Quality Teachers!

The other day I was listening to a speaker and he told a story about a pot.  As he held up the old commercial steel pot, he said that although it was over 20 years old, it was still in good condition and would last many more years producing great meals at the soup kitchen.  He asked us to think about how many things had been cooked in the pot and how it had fed many people over the years.  Then   This pot was a top quality commercial pot, built to last.  As he continued his talk, he mentioned that while we may purchase pots and pans that may seem more glitzy or appear to be a great deal, if they were made of low quality, of sub-par materials, or of poor craftsmanship, they will eventually bend and break.
he talked about the quality of the pot.

Similar to the quality pot, Columbia School District is built on quality.  Columbia School District has many excellent highly qualified teachers teaching our children.  Earlier this year Columbia Central High School teacher Mr. Kevin Miller was nominated for the Michigan Teacher of the year for the American Legion.  His nomination was based on his impact on the Columbia community.  The quality of the Columbia Central Leadership program, like the quality of the pot, has stood the test of time and impacted the community by providing the Forum program for the high school students, which has been reproduced at other Jackson County high schools.  In addition, the activities and community impact strategies Mr. Miller instills in his students through the Leadership program changes lives for the better.  The Leadership students sponsor blood drives, facilitate the Hope Run, and work with the Brooklyn Buddies.  Mr. Miller’s contributions to the community also include his coaching, and especially his many years of coaching varsity softball and football at Columbia Central.

Columbia School District has many quality teachers, staff and administrators.  This past spring Mrs. Angie Hogle was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce.  Her positive enthusiastic focus on educational opportunities for her students is infectious!  When you enter her room you see the children engrossed in one of many learning opportunities and Mrs. Hogle leading the way.  Over the past couple years Mrs. Hogle has written grants and worked to accumulate STEM activities to enhance the learning environment for her students.  In addition, to her work with students during the school year, Mrs. Hogle spent time the past two summers teaching robotics to first and second graders in our summer program.

Living by the motto, “let a book be your ticket to the world”, Mrs. Schmidt has opened the eyes of Columbia Central junior high students to the world around them.  She helps students who never have been interested in reading to love getting into the next book.  Her students have had an opportunity to expand their ability to write and several of her students recently placed in a county-wide a poetry contest.  Many of her former students who have moved onto college, often talk about their junior high English class and give Mrs. Schmidt the credit for teaching them to be a great writers.

One aspect of the quality education Columbia students receive is the opportunity to experience using technology.  Mr. Moore teaches technology in education to kindergartners through sixth grade students.  His students use Chromebooks, iPads and learn how to create web pages, write code, and create technology.  In addition to his work during the school day, Mr. Moore works with students in our football and track programs.

Together the highly qualified teachers at Columbia make a difference in the lives of our children each and every day.  Columbia has stood the test of time, being an impressive successful educational learning environment filled with quality employees: amazing teachers, and many fabulous instructional aides, staff members, and administrators.  Just like the top quality pot, lasting the test of time, Columbia will continue providing excellence in education for years to come.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia, email me at or call 5175926641.