2017 SOAR Award & Superintendent’s Award Winners Named

A record-breaking thirty-three staff members, volunteers and community partners were honored at the Affton School District’s 21st Annual Service and Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) Awards on April 19. A special Superintendent’s Award was also presented.

“It is my privilege to represent the Board of Education and an honor to recognize 33 exceptional people that help make Affton one of the best districts around,” said Tom Bellavia, president of the Affton Board of Education. “These nominees encompass the excellence of character, performance, leadership, and service inherent to the SOAR Awards. They give of their time, their evenings, their weekends, and they certainly make a difference in each of our schools and in our community.”

Seven nominees received the prestigious SOAR Award. They include:

  • Chelsea Costello, Special School District (SSD) teacher at Mesnier Primary;
  • Jennifer Edgar, instructional assistant at Mesnier Primary;
  • Nicki Hejlek, third-grade teacher at Gotsch Intermediate;
  • Erin Schaeffer, volunteer at Mesnier Primary and Gotsch Intermediate;
  • Laura Showalter, custodian at Gotsch Intermediate;
  • Dawn Wotawa Bennett, BSN, RN at St. Anthony’s Medical Center and STL CAPS mentor; and
  • Brandon Wunderle, volunteer at Rogers Middle and Affton High School.

17 - Supt Award webMichelle Burford, volunteer and co-chair of the Citizens Advisory Council for Affton School District and the All IN For Affton committee for Props I+N, received the 2017 Superintendent’s Award for her support of and dedication to the Affton School District.

In addition, Dr. Steve Brotherton, superintendent, presented four special SOAR Awards to All IN For Affton co-chairs for their exceptional efforts in supporting the success of Props I+N. They include:

  • Jeff Brown, volunteer
  • Erica Chandler, Community Relations Director and volunteer
  • Michele Herndon, volunteer
  • Jen MacArthur, volunteer

“Affton Schools is truly fortunate to have someone like Michelle Burford supporting our students, schools and community. She has stepped up time and again to ensure that our district is able to continue on our journey toward excellence,” said Dr. Steve Brotherton, superintendent. “In addition, the efforts of the All IN For Affton committee to support Propositions I+N were remarkable. Innumerable hours were spent during evenings and weekends, and often at the expense of time with friends and family. I am so incredibly grateful to Michelle, Jeff, Erica, Michele and Jen for their leadership and tireless efforts leading up to the election. They truly embody what it means to be Affton Strong.”

In addition to the 11 SOAR Award winners and the winner of the Superintendent’s Award, 21 others were nominated and honored at the ceremony:

  • Senija Arslanovic, custodian at Affton High School;
  • Tracie Burroughs, head cook at Rogers Middle;
  • Curtis Bussee, volunteer;
  • William DeBruce, volunteer;
  • Kelly Duncan, SSD instructional assistant at Affton Early Childhood;
  • Devon Ford, physical education teacher at Rogers Middle;
  • Michelle Gockel, instructional assistant at Gotsch Intermediate;
  • Joyce Gorrell, community partner from the Missouri Botanical Garden;
  • Anna Greenwood, community partner from Preferred Family Healthcare;
  • Amanda Hogan, first-grade teacher at Mesnier Primary;
  • Julie Jacob, SSD teacher at Gotsch Intermediate;
  • Maryann Kveton, SSD instructional assistant at Mesnier Primary;
  • Dee Loris, social studies teacher at Affton High School;
  • Ron Medley, before and after care facilitator at Gotsch Intermediate;
  • Dana Miller, math teacher at Affton High School;
  • Jennifer Molsbee, fifth-grade teacher at Gotsch Intermediate;
  • Carla O’Brien, community partner from the Gravois Kiwanis;
  • Dan Oliver, physical education teacher and athletic director at Affton High School;
  • Tasha Scola, school counselor at Mesnier Primary;
  • Jennifer Snethen, instructional assistant at Affton High School; and
  • Martha Wiederanders, SSD instructional assistant at Rogers Middle School.