Kearney, Mo., April 1, 2022: It’s time for the Bulldog Family to recognize the best of the best.
Dogwood Elementary School Counselor Cami Aebersold has been selected to receive the 2022 Kearney School District Teacher of the Year Award. District Facilities Manager Doug Sublett has been selected to receive the 2022 KSD Support Staff of the Year Award.
Ms. Aebersold and Mr. Sublett were both chosen by a selection committee for this year’s district-level recognitions from a strong field of teachers and support staff who had already been honored at the school and building level. Those school-level award recipients were nominated by co-workers, parents/guardians, students and community members.
“It was tough to make these selections for the district Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year because we had such an outstanding field of nominees across the board,” Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Student Services Jeff Morrison said. “Cami and Doug both stood out this year for their own reasons, and we are very grateful for their service to our students, families, staff and community!”
As district-level honorees, Aebersold and Sublett will receive individual awards and have their names added to the permanent plaque at the KSD central office. The KSD Education Foundation will award each of them $250, plus a $750 grant that Aebersold can use to benefit Dogwood Elementary and a $250 grant that Sublett will apply to the district fund of his choice. They will also each be given $250 from the Kearney Chamber of Commerce in the form of Chamber Bucks.
Aebersold has served as a counselor at Dogwood Elementary for 11 years. Her many responsibilities include visiting classrooms every week to help students develop social-emotional skills, coordinating small groups as part of a mental health grant, assisting parents with a wide variety of issues, and ensuring that each student has their individual social, emotional and academic needs met.
“I was surprised and very honored to learn I was being named the Teacher of the Year for Kearney School District, especially knowing all the quality teachers in the district,” Aebersold said. “And to hear that parents had input, that made it feel even better.”
The best part about being an elementary school counselor is making sure that the students and fellow staff members are supported in a way that boosts teaching and learning, according to Aebersold.
“I just love seeing a kid smile and wanting to be here. As a counselor, that’s the real payoff,” she said. “A big part of my job is being a good listener for my colleagues here at Dogwood and helping to support my staff and work through things so that they can do what they’re supposed to do. I consider it an honor that they trust me enough to have me sit and listen and help them work through whatever they are struggling with.”
Dogwood Elementary Principal Laura Gonzalez praised Aebersold for her commitment to the entire school community.
“Ms. Aebersold is an integral part of our Dogwood Family,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “She is relentless in serving not only families but staff members and the greater community. Ms. Aebersold serves from her heart in which she wraps her arms around all who need her support.”
That was an assessment echoed by Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services Jennifer Kopp.
“Cami just has a heart for our kids and for our staff,” Mrs. Kopp said. “It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone, and she has been a tireless source of support.”
Mr. Sublett has been part of KSD’s facilities and grounds team for 23 years. That was after serving around the world for 17 years with the U.S. Navy, where he specialized in damage control. That job included mastery of fire suppression, welding, plumbing and pipefitting, skills that made him the right choice when the opportunity arose to join KSD.
“Doug Sublett is a perfect example of the selfless professionals who work hard every day and often in tough conditions to ensure that everything runs smoothly in our school system. Snow, ice, rain or shine, we know we can count on him getting the job done and done well,” Interim Superintendent Todd White said. “He is an integral member of my leadership team and we quite simply would not be where we are as a district without his contributions. Doug has our gratitude, respect and admiration.”
Sublett and his 11 highly skilled team members are responsible for ensuring that every KSD building and every inch of the district’s grounds are in top condition so that teaching and learning continue uninterrupted. This requires a dizzying array of tasks, including – but not limited to – HVAC, plumbing, lighting, floor tiles, asbestos abatement, roof and door repairs, installing therapy swings in classrooms, fixing basketball hoops and bleachers, fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, kitchen hoods and alarm systems.
“There is a wide spectrum of jobs that my guys take on the challenge of doing,” Sublett said. “Anything that gets broken, we fix it.”
The biggest and most rewarding challenge in Sublett’s nearly two decades with KSD has been creating sustainable processes and procedures to anticipate and address needs before they become a major problem. He’s retiring at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year and is confident that the district will be able to continue the work he started. More than anything, Sublett is going to miss the teamwork.
“There is a great family environment in KSD,” he said. “Everybody works well together as a team, and that’s why we’re able to accomplish as much as we do. It’s a privilege to be part of this school system.”
Ms. Aebersold, Mr. Sublett and all of KSD’s school-level Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year award recipients will be honored during the 2022 Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce Banquet on April 26 at the KCI Expo Center.
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