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Rikard, Steele and Davis named district standouts at MCS Institute Day

MADISON – Part honors day, part last-minute checklist and part pep rally, Institute Day 2021 convened all employees in Madison City Schools to promote an optimistic start of the 2021-2022 school year.

MCS employees gathered in two sessions in James Clemens High School Auditorium. MCS Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols and Madison Board of Education members led the meetings on July 28 — one week before the return of students to the classroom on Aug. 4.

“Institute Day is the annual all-hands meeting of school and district employees where service awards are given, district teacher and staff members of the year are announced, and the superintendent and an inspirational speaker” talk to the audience, MCS Public Relations Manager John S. Peck said.

“Dr. Nichols charged employees to love their students and celebrate the giftedness in each of them,” Peck said. “Dr. Nichols left employees with this thought about dealing with difficulties in life: ‘How often do we walk with our heads down, looking at the dust and missing the beauty? Look up. Don’t miss the beauty.’”

On stage with Nichols, a long line of students stood shoulder-to-shoulder behind him. The youth reflected “the diversity of MCS, which has families representing 86 different languages as their native tongue,” Peck said.

School board Vice President Luis Ferrer reminded MCS employees that students “come from all over the world and the United States and live in Madison. Many who move here choose MCS because of its reputation as a top performing school district.”

“Today, we recognize your excellence. We not only are lucky but are blessed to have you,” Ferrer said.

Keynote Speaker was Patrick Henry Hughes, a talented musician, performer and public speaker. A native of Louisville, Ky., Hughes conquered lifelong blindness and physical disabilities to become a successful professional. (patrickhenryhughes.com)

From all her colleagues on Madison’s elementary school campuses, Kiley Rikard at Mill Creek Elementary School was named “Elementary Teacher of The Year” for the district. Kristen Steele from James Clemens earned the distinction of “Secondary Teacher of the Year.” Bonnie Davis, a registered nurse who works as system supervisor for school nurses, was honored as “Staff Member of the Year.”

In another gathering, MCS principals and assistant principals met for two days during the week of July 19 at Burritt on the Mountain. At this conference, administrators discussed logistics and procedures, along with some brainstorming about ways to better serve all students, Peck said.

Their discussion included ideas for safety, special education, transportation, instruction and other topics.

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