Heroes in Education honored


Six educational workers were awarded for their work at the College of Education’s third annual Heroes in Education conference on Thursday, April 19, in the Ott Auditorium.

The College of Education hosts the event to recognize the work of educational workers who make an impact in students’ lives.

“Its simple purpose is to highlight unsung heroes in the field of education,” said Craig Douglas, the dean of the College of Education.
“We’re talking teachers, professionals, secretaries, principals, you name it.”

The event is entirely student-run through the College of Education’s Student Leadership Team. The team accepts nominations from the public for anyone involved in the educational sphere. This year, the Student Leadership Team received 70 nominations.

“People nominate someone who’s made an impact in students’ lives, gone above and beyond the call in some way, shape, or form, and that’s going to vary from very obvious significant things to things maybe people wouldn’t know about,” Douglas said.

Nate Naples, a secondary education sophomore and member of the Student Leadership Team, said that they choose honorees who were reaching out to make a difference in students’ lives.

“It’s based on who stands out as someone who’s really going above and beyond to make those connections with students,” Naples said.

This year’s Heroes in Education awards were given to Cindy Hegenauer, a food service director; Lisa Johnson, a seventh grade math teacher; Walter Kimsey, a band director and music teacher; Paul Shimmons, a band director; Johnathon Simmons, a school service worker; and Gina Ziel, a third grade teacher.

The honorees were recognized for their various efforts to help students overcome obstacles, improve school programs, serve the community, and advocate for students.

Each honoree received an award and a $175 check to use toward their respective school.

The Student Leadership Team received 70 nominations, and they recognized all of the nominees in addition to the six honorees.

This year’s conference marked the creation of the first “Future Hero in Education Award,” a $1,000 scholarship given to an emerging educational worker. The scholarship was awarded to Danielle Sheaffer, an SVSU student beginning her teaching career.

The College of Education partnered with Tony and Joni Thomson of the Thomson Agency on behalf of Meemic Insurance and the Meemic Foundation. The Thomson Agency provided the $125 awards, $100 checks for two randomly selected nominees, the scholarship award, and tote bags for attendees to take home.