BOISE — One of Marjean McConnell’s former students showed her a picture of his grandchild — a subtle reminder of her 39-year career as a teacher and administrator.
That former student is Madison assistant superintendent Randy Lords, who attended McConnell’s third grade class at Fairview Elementary in Idaho Falls.
McConnell, who now serves as the Bonneville School District’s deputy superintendent, was one of four people honored with the Distinguished Service Award at the annual Idaho Association of School Administrators conference on Thursday at the Boise Centre. The award was one of 14 presented to educators and other professionals during a luncheon ceremony.
Lords, who nominated McConnell for the award, hoped to provide his former teacher with some “much-deserved” recognition.
“People need to know the impact that she has had on so many kids,” Lords said. “I wouldn’t be standing here as an administrator if it weren’t for her. She literally has the ability to make everyone she is around think they are her favorite.”
McConnell started as an elementary teacher at Fairview Elementary in the Bonneville district. After serving as a building administrator, she became the district’s director of human resources and then filled the assistant superintendent seat.
Bonneville Superintendent Chuck Shackett said McConnell’s leadership skills transcend her longevity in education. He pointed to her attention to detail.
“The district wouldn’t be what it is without her,” he said. “I always see the end goal — and I’m just grateful that she is there to provide us with the road maps and details to get where we want to go.”
McConnell said kids have given her the inspiration to stay in the profession for so long.
“I don’t think there’s a greater calling than to make a difference in the lives of children,” she said.
She plans to serve in the district for four more years.
In other award news:
The Idaho Association of School Administrators honored retiring House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt.
DeMordaunt received the organization’s Distinguished Service Award for his work implementing education policy.
Earlier this year DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, announced that he will not seek re-election after six years in the Legislature.
He took over chairmanship of House Education in 2013, just before Gov. Butch Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education issued 20 reform recommendations.
As chairman, DeMordaunt helped pass policy to implement many of the recommendations. In 2015, he helped lead the charge in passing the career ladder salary law, which calls for increasing teacher pay by more than $125 million over an approximately five-year period.
The list of IASA award winners includes:
- Joe Kren, formerly of the St. Maries School District, IASA Superintendent of the Year.
- Mike Williams, Middleton High School, Middleton School District, Outstanding Secondary Principal.
- Mike Gemar, Canyon Ridge High School, Twin Falls School District, Outstanding Secondary Assistant Principal.
- Lisa Pica, Hayden Meadows Elementary, Coeur d’Alene School District, Idaho Distinguished Principal.
- Colleen Johnson, Paul Elementary, Minidoka School District, Idaho Gem Award for Distinguished Service.
- Laurie Copmann, Rupert Elementary, Minidoka School District, Idaho Gem Award for Instructional Leadership.
- Melissa Ardito, Harrison Elementary, Twin Falls School District, Idaho Gem Award for Rookie Administrator.
- Diana Zigars, COSSA Academy, Outstanding Special Education Administrator of the Year.
- Shelley Retter, Boise School District, Distinguished Service Award.
- Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, Distinguished Service Award.
- Bruce Mitchell Foundation, Distinguished Service Award.
- Marjean McConnell, Bonneville School District, Distinguished Service Award.
- Twin Falls Education Foundation, Distinguished Service Award.
- Jennifer Swindell, Idaho Education News, IASA Education Media Award.