Two Tomorrow River Schools employees win state awards

Klieforth chosen Senior High Administrator      Smith chosen School Facilities Manager of the Year

State honors have been bestowed on a pair of Tomorrow River School District employees, High School Principal Mike Klieforth and Director of Building and Grounds Robert Smith.

Klieforth recently received Senior High School Administrator of the Year honors from the Wisconsin Association of School Councils (WASC) at a ceremony at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. In accepting the award, Klieforth addressed approximately 600 students at the conference award banquet.

In accepting the award, Klieforth said, “Any recognition is greatly appreciated, but receiving this award is extra special. This is because it was student-driven. Students at our school took the initiative to put their thoughts on paper and nominate me for an award without my knowledge. That is what makes this award so special to me.”

According to WASC, typically students nominate their administrators; however, advisors and/or teachers can also nominate administrators. The nomination form asks for a reason the candidate is being nominated; community involvement as well as other activities/involvement support the nomination.

The nomination form submitted to WASC from Amherst students read, in part, “Mr. Klieforth has taken action to help better the lives of students at Amherst High School multiple times. For example, when there was no coach for the freshmen boys’ basketball team, Mr. Klieforth stepped in and offered to be the coach. If he hadn’t offered to be the coach, the basketball team would not have been able to play. He tries to do the right thing for our school, and he has genuine concern for all students. He continuously looks into each student’s activities so he can have personal conversations with each student. For example, an exchange student switched houses in the middle of the school year, and within the week (Mr. Klieforth) was asking how the switch was going.”

The nomination went on to call attention to the fact that Klieforth volunteered as a bus driver during a period where the district was short on drivers as a result of COVID-19 and that he serves as a volunteer fireman for the Amherst Fire District. Additionally, Klieforth is Vice President of the Tomorrow River Business Association and is finishing up national accreditation for Emergency Medical Responder to help with the local EMS.

The WASC is a state-wide organization of public, private, and parochial elementary, middle, junior, and senior high school student councils and/or student leadership groups dedicated to the continuation and expansion of leadership development and student responsibilities in Wisconsin. WASC is partnered with the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA) and affiliated with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP/NASC).

The Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials (WASBO) will award Smith the 2022 School Facilities Manager of the Year award at the organization’s 75th Annual Spring Conference May 19 and 20, also at the Kalahari Convention Center.

This award acknowledges the value and need to recognize outstanding school facilities managers in Wisconsin. Smith is being recognized for his tireless and selfless leadership to his district, community, and profession. He is an active member of both WASBO and the Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association (WSSCA). He is a member of WSSCA’s Board of Directors. He also is a member of WASBO’s Facilities Committee, Safety and Risk Committee while being an active mentor to up-and-coming facilities leaders, a near-constant presenter at WASBO conferences, and much more.

One of the distinguishing remarks from nomination letters received on Smith’s behalf read, “Robert’s wisdom, expertise in many areas, professionalism, and dedication to the district are only a few of his many qualities. Robert takes pride in all his work and treats his staff with respect every day. He is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and step in wherever needed. This is an example of a great leader. Robert is definitely a team player. Robert wants his crew to grow and learn as professionals. He is always looking for professional development and certification opportunities for his staff. He also organizes, leads, teaches, and trains staff and students in numerous safety areas.”

Smith said, “I am very humbled and honored to have been nominated and awarded the WASBO Facility Manager of the Year. I am grateful to all of the people who have taken the time to nominate me. This award means many things to me. First, our maintenance department’s hard work and dedication to our school district has not gone unnoticed. Kudos to all of those who have ever served as part of our maintenance department. Thank you for all that you do or have done for our district. I have a saying that a person should, no matter what the tasks are, always ‘leave it better than what they find it.’ I would like to thank the TRSD administration team, school board, and the community for its continued support. Together, we have been able to make our school one of the best in the state.”

Smith’s award includes a $1,000 cash award, sponsored by Brightly (formerly Dude Solutions) and Stalker Sports Floors, for continuing professional development.

WASBO provides professional development for school business staff, fosters a network of support, and advocates for funding that ensures outstanding educational opportunities for all children in Wisconsin.

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