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Four employees of the Emporia School District were recognized May 7 as 2015 Hopkins Award winners.

Awards were made to: Brenda Kahle, student records management clerk at Mary Herbert Education Center; Briana Rickabaugh, teacher’s aide at Riverside Elementary; Julie Mendoza, speech-language paraeducator at Maynard Early Childhood Center; and Sandra Brooks, library clerk at Emporia High School.

Each recipient received a $2,000 cash award donated by the Hopkins Foundation. The awards were presented by Michelle Hopkins-Molinaro, vice president and managing director of the foundation.

Since 2002, the Hopkins Foundation has given awards totaling $358,500 to 183 teachers and support staff members in the Emporia schools. The awards program was a dream of Molinaro’s grandfather, E.L. Hopkins, as a way to reward educators.

Since their inception, the awards have been presented in May, following a two-month nomination period. Some changes were made to the awards program this year, allowing nominations to be submitted anytime during the year and awarded multiple times a year. A selection committee meets at least quarterly to review nominations and select winners. All winners receive a $2,000 cash award to be used any way the recipient wishes.

Award Criteria

The recipients of the award are individuals who have gone above and beyond their normal job responsibilities. Winners exemplify one or more of these criteria:

Innovation/Initiative/Simplification that demonstrates leadership or participation in a project or process of improvement that aligns with the district mission and/or streamlines operations.
Collaboration as one team, school or district that demonstrates an outstanding commitment to teamwork by thinking creatively, removing internal boundaries and communicating effectively.
Noteworthy Service that is extraordinary and exceeds expectations.
Inspiring others to try new things or excel in new ways.
Commitment to excellence in any endeavor that enhances the workplace and creates a positive work environment and culture of learning.

Nominations for Hopkins Awards can be submitted online using this form.

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