Congratulations to our March 2021 Difference Makers! Thank you for everything you do for our students and schools!
Keven Barger, Callaway Hills School Counselor
Nominated by: Lisa Brunston, Callaway Hills Parent & TJMS ELA Teacher
In December of 2020, my children lost their father unexpectedly just after our son's 10th birthday. As a mother, I was terrified, confused and frustrated that something so horrible could happen to them without any warning or control over the situation. You are seemingly helpless in dealing with the unexpected emotions and darkness entailed. Some of that darkness was lifted after the first conversation I was able to have with Mr. Barger, my children's counselor. Without skipping a beat, he comforted my children and made them feel loved unconditionally during their time at school. There is no better feeling than knowing your children are well taken care of and loved when you cannot be in their presence. He started a small, weekly support group for not only my children, but for others who have experienced similar trauma. They look forward to confiding and healing with him every chance they can get. They trust him, appreciate him and respect him. Every Wednesday, they discuss the love they have for these intimate counseling sessions and I am forever grateful that he has taken the initiative to make my babies feel comfort when I am not there to hold them and listen to them. I am blessed to have my children at Callaways Hills Elementary because everyone there treats one another as family. From the amazing teachers, secretaries, counselors, principals, custodians and cooks, a million times over, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Nate Brinkley, East School Behavior Interventionist
Nominated by: Ryan Day, East School Principal
Mr. Nate (as he is known at East) is an integral part of the East family. He is always working hard to build relationships and build up our students to help them be great citizens. One day last week comes to mind especially. Nate meets the car riders in the morning and greets them as the students arrive. One day last week we had some wintry weather and cars where slipping as they pulled out onto the street. He went down into the middle of East McCarty St. and directed traffic to make sure no one had an accident. Not only was he keeping our parents safe, but he was also keeping everyone driving on McCarty safe. Later in that same day I observed Mr. Nate working with a group of 5th grade boys on helping them how to improve their relationships with their teachers and how to solve problems. The boys were so open and honest with each other. It was amazing how vulnerable and open this boys were in that group with their peers. This is a group that would normally be very worried about what others thought of them, but because of Nate's work and the caring environment he built, the boys were so comfortable working on their own personal growth. Mr. Nate's contributions go so much deeper than what can be seen or tabulated. His positive influence is felt each and every day.
Dennis Bruemmer, Nichols Career Center Auto Collision Instructor
Nominated by: Cody Bashore, Travis Plume and Kara Hinton, Nichols Career Center Staff and Bryce Love and John Donley, Nichols Career Center Students
Dennis Bruemmer has done an excellent job throughout his career of connecting his students with the Auto Collision Industry throughout Central Missouri. His willingness to go above and beyond has created numerous opportunities for students to find meaningful and profitable employment. Nichols Career Center has been extremely fortunate to have Dennis as a leader in our building for so many years. We wish him well in his upcoming retirement. Thank you for all you've done Dennis!
Mr. Bruemmer is a fantastic role model and mentor, providing a pathway for students to become productive and successful members of our community. He works closely with industry stakeholders and post-secondary institutions to make sure Nichols' students have the latest tools and equipment, and are learning what is currently needed in the field of auto repair. As quickly as technology in vehicles changes, Mr. Bruemmer continually educates himself so he can remain on the cutting edge of his field. On one of our recent snow days, Mr. Bruemmer (who will retire from NCC this May) went to State Tech to collaborate with their Auto Collision staff. I am constantly amazed at the time and energy he puts into making his classroom/shop a place where students can become skilled in their field, and develop a work ethic that will serve them in any career they choose to pursue.
I have had the unique experience of going from a sending school counselor to the Student Services Coordinator at Nichols. This lens has allowed me to know some of the current students as freshmen and sophomores, be part of the competitive process of selecting them for a spot in a Nichols program, and now follow them to see their success first-hand as they complete their Nichols program. I have witnessed, first hand, how Mr. Bruemmer has positively impacted the course of his students' lives, and opened doors that they would never have known existed had they not enrolled in his program. As I have watched those students grow from freshmen who have no idea what they want to do after high school into interns who are working at local businesses, I am blown away by the growth of these students.
Mr. Bruemmer will retire at the end of this year, but his dedication to the Auto Collision program at Nichols has remained unwavering. He will leave this program in the best possible position for the next instructor to succeed. The fabric of his strong character and work ethic is demonstrated in his classroom/shop every single day. Mr. Bruemmer truly walks the walk, and leads students down the path to success.
Mr. Bruemmer has taught me how to word things in a way to help get my point across. He taught me a way to actually learn something new. He has made me more confident in myself to help find a job in auto repair. He doesn't judge people when he first meets someone. He keeps everyone busy in the shop learning new and different jobs and he always makes sure safety is the #1 priority.
Mr. Bruemmer is a role model and an inspiration. Mr Bruemmer has been in the field of auto collision for many years and has owned his own shop. He has shown that he knows what he is doing and uses his knowledge to help his students, specifically me. I struggle with a learning disability and sitting in classrooms makes it hard to learn new subjects. Mr. Bruemmer structures his class to be more hands-on and because of this I am learning better. Mr Bruemmer has also helped me get self confidence and taught me to believe in myself. This has helped me to deal with my anxiety of meeting new people and to have the confidence to get an internship and to speak up for myself. This is why I would like to nominate him for this position.
Lily King, North School 1st Grade Student
Nominated by: Kendra Windsor, North School Teacher
Lily King is a student of mine who moved here a little later in the year. She knew what it felt like to be the new kid in class, so when she knew we were getting another new student, Lily brought her a present and a card. The card was so sweet and one of the lines read, "I was the new kid once, too!
" WOW!! Such a thoughtful and kind thing to do to make a friend feel at home in our classroom right away!! We still enjoy the kind things that Lily says and does everyday at North Elementary School!