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District award recognizes those who go "above and beyond"

As part of an effort to recognize those Brainerd Public Schools employees who inspire others and consistently go above and beyond what is expected so students can be successful, a group of district staff members launched the “Above and Beyond Award.” Recipients of this award serve as inspirations not only to the school district community but to the broader Brainerd community because they are role models who strive to have a positive impact each and every day.

I am proud to be a part of the group that founded this award in part because the award was created by staff members for staff members. The belief behind the award is that it is important to promote a culture in which we recognize and acknowledge those employees who play a significant role in making this a great district. It’s also important to open this type of award up to all staff members, and to enable other staff, community members, parents, and students to submit nominations. It really encompasses everyone who has an investment in the Brainerd Public Schools!

With that in mind, I am pleased to introduce the recipients of the 1st Annual Above and Beyond Award.

Joanne Comstock is a 1st grade teacher at Harrison Elementary School. Comstock has taught first grade for 33 years at Harrison Elementary School with ease, grace, respect, and success. Every child in her classroom is loved, cared for, and raised to the highest expectations in academics, behaviors, and citizenship. Whether it is the spring concert, volunteer breakfast, carnival, or family fun night, Comstock is leading, organizing, or supporting the school’s children, families, and staff. Whatever she does, it is done to perfection and always with a positive attitude.

Janet Haeg is a media secretary at Nisswa Elementary School. Not only does Haeg go above and beyond when providing day-to-day education in the media center, but for the last 10 summers she has provided and organized a summer library programs for the students at Nisswa and within the Nisswa community. The programs are supported by grants and donations Haeg has secured from multiple local sources. “Janet runs at lightning speed,” says a co-worker, and her positive energy is a force in and for the Nisswa community for the past 12 years.

Jim Yaunick is a maintenance engineer for Brainerd High School. This year is Yaunick’s ninth year with the district. According to a coworker, Yaunick is a courteous, hardworking staff member who makes sure everything runs smoothly. He is always pleasant and genuine and is willing to do whatever needs to be done. Yaunick doesn’t just fix things when they are broken, but he is always ahead of the curve and performs preventative maintenance so things don’t break. Whenever there is a problem with anything, Jim is always willing to step up and get the problem resolved immediately.

If you see one of these staff members please take a moment to congratulate them! It is our sincere hope that this award will not only inspire other staff, but also create a culture in which those dedicated, caring, and outstanding employees are recognized by their colleagues. We want this to be something that the whole community can embrace!

Nancy Anderson, principal of the Lincoln Education Center.