Tri-County Head Start recognizes employees

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN Tri-County Head Start closed out this year with a recognition program dedicated to covering the successes of this past year with both in-person and virtual learning.  The Distinguished Employee Award is determined by the directors team, honoring those staff from each category who for the entire year have gone above and beyond, have had an outstanding performance, have had exceptionally consistent and diligent long-term job performance, and provide outstanding service to the profession.

Tri-County Head Start recognized the following outstanding staff members for their hard work and dedication to the children and families:

Patty Humphreys, center program director in Dowagiac, was named the Distinguished Employee in Education.

“I am so pleased to recognize a teacher who has influenced so many of us during her 28 years of service,’ said Mandy Orlando, education director. “Patty’s classroom is a model for high quality preschool excellence. She is a master teacher but is also always willing to learn and grow.”

Kalley Zabonick, bus driver in Marcellus, was presented the Distinguished Employee in Transportation.

“Kalley has worked for TCHS for six years and has used each year as an opportunity to grow within the agency,” said Allison Lowry, operations director. “Kalley is always willing to go above and beyond to help wherever needed, including mentoring new staff, helping in the kitchen, delivering meals, and helping at other center locations.”

Elizabeth Rodriguez, dual language coordinator, was given the Distinguished Employee in Support by Gloria Walter, Director of Family Services.

“Elizabeth is the true definition of an advocate for her families,” Walter said. “She does everything that she can to encourage, motivate and support her families and always advocates for our departments and our agency to move forward with equity and inclusion.”

Tri-County Head Start Directors also awarded the team at the Bangor Center the Team Innovation Award for being the center/location/or team who went above and beyond for their families.  The Bangor Center thought outside of the box to come up with solutions and developed new processes that resulted in positive changes during this past year, officials said.

The Peer Choice Award is one of the highest recognitions that anyone in the organization can receive. Staff are nominated, then voted on by the entire TCHS team, officials said. Nancy Bolhuis received this honor after going above and beyond for each staff member who asks for help.

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