Rotary de Granville salutes two educators for their professional service


Two prominent Granville educators recently received one of the community’s top honors: the Granville Rotary Service Above Self Award.

Dr. Laurel Kennedy, retired Denison University administrator and faculty member, and Jeff Brown, school district superintendent for the exempt village of Granville, received the honor at the club’s virtual reunion on June 7.

See also: Granville holds public hearing on August 4 on possible major land purchase

The award is presented annually to members of the community who practice high ethical standards in the workplace and demonstrate a high level of professionalism, enthusiasm, work ethic, commitment to service and of professional excellence.

Kennedy, who is a member of the Newark Rotary Club, said it was an honor to be associated with the values ​​that Rotary International espouses.

“I have great respect for Rotary. And so that means a lot to me, ”Kennedy said after the presentation in his honor. “The values ​​that Rotary holds high – it is like an incredible honor to be associated with these and in particular with Granville Rotary. Thank you to all of you individually and collectively.

Granville Rotary Charles Peterson (left) presents the club's award to Granville Schools Principal Jeff Brown at district offices.

Brown, who has been praised for leading schools in Granville for the past 16 months during the COVID-10 pandemic, acknowledged the teamwork that involved many other people to tackle the challenges. He accepted the award on behalf of the school district staff who were involved.

“First, all teachers, administrators and members of the Board of Education put service to this community before their personal interests,” he said. “They put their personal fears aside to provide the best possible learning experience for Granville students. I am truly grateful for their service.

Brown continued, “The other team I would like to recognize is my home team. Niki, Emilee and Lily also put the service of this community above themselves. It is not easy to be the principal’s wife or daughter.

30 years in Denison and Licking County

Granville Rotarian Lena Crain nominated Kennedy for the award.

“During more than thirty years of service in Licking County and at Denison University, Dr. Kennedy has embodied high ethical standards while using his professional platform as an opportunity to serve the local community and beyond. beyond, ”Crain said. “She has, through her ideas and her person, inspired many higher education leaders to think beyond their campuses and innovate for the greater good.”

Noting the Kennedy’s Newark Rotary Club, Crain said Kennedy’s work relates to Rotary’s areas of service.

She credited Kennedy with the dramatic improvement in wellness-related resources available at the college and, through her connections to the community, establishing a new internship program that places students in Licking County to provide essential health personnel.

“Laurel served on the board of directors of Licking Memorial Hospital, championing health and wellness resources and connecting people and resources to one another to improve wellness outcomes in the community, ”Crain said.

She added that Kennedy, first as a faculty member in communications and in her roles within the Alford Community Leadership and Involvement Center as vice president for student development, had improved relations between the Granville University and Fire and Police Services, including shared emergency planning. and sharing of resources.

“These relationships and foresight have become invaluable in times of crisis and tragedy, when quorum and community members relied on one another in mind and heart,” said Crain.

Crain quoted Denison President Adam Weinberg summarizing Kennedy’s contributions: “Among Laurel’s many legacies are her work on wellness, improving career outcomes for our diverse student body, and creating the Red Corps Fellows program, an innovative model to positively impact the Denison campus. The recently completed housing master plan is one of the best examples of this work. By involving the voice of students, it is one of the most comprehensive and forward-thinking approaches to student life in higher education. It has been a great honor for me to work with and learn from Laurel.

Erik Farley, senior vice president of equity and inclusion for the YMCA of Central Ohio, worked with Kennedy for almost 13 years at Denison in the student development division where, he said, they rethought civic engagement and democracy promotion for the university, teaching students to become active citizens by performing public works for the common good.

In telling Kennedy, “You have shown students and staff how to use their most valuable assets, their social identities and their disciplinary foundations,” said Farley. “This self-awareness enabled them to help others in the community as they critically analyzed and intellectually explored what might be uncharted territory.”

Farley added that Kennedy had encouraged and supported him in his efforts to contribute to the field of student development through professional scholarships and service on nonprofit boards based in Columbus.

“Laurel, you are an inspiration,” he said. “A passionate scholar, a transformative leader, a supportive supervisor and an empathetic friend, your efforts are appreciated. ”

Granville Schools Superintendent Jeff Brown (far right) met early in the morning with Granville officials and local stakeholders to discuss responses to the coronavirus, a day after the Governor of Ohio ordered the schools to be closed.

Leading schools through a global disaster

Rotarian Seth Patton, who nominated Brown for the Professional Service Award, credited him for his outstanding leadership during the pandemic.

“The superintendent of schools fulfills one of the most important roles in any community, and it is extremely difficult,” said Patton. “Add a pandemic and you wonder why someone wouldn’t run away from work. “

Patton said Brown has not only successfully overcome the recent challenge but also other obstacles throughout his tenure as Granville’s superintendent.

“Jeff Brown didn’t flinch,” Patton said. “He openly addressed the multitude of challenges, not only of the past year, but of the last ten years of his tenure at Granville. In the face of community expectations for excellence, rapid technological change, competing priorities for financial resources, and ever-changing guidance from state legislators, Jeff has remained fully committed to serving Granville as Superintendent of Businesses. schools.

School board president Jen Cornman detailed Brown’s efforts to weather the pandemic.

“Upon learning from the school closure last spring that it would be better to have children in school,” she said, “he researched, consulted with experts and created a group. working community advocate who met several times over the summer before school started. From there, it was a consistent message throughout the year on protective layers: wear a mask, social distancing, wash your hands, check for symptoms, and sanitize surfaces. As a result, there was very little transmission in schools.

Cornman added that because families had different levels of comfort in placing their students in school, Brown decided before the start of the previous school year that distance and in-person learning should be offered.

“In the first semester, we had just over 70 percent of the students in person and that number jumped to just over 80 percent in the second semester,” she said. “Few school districts have been able to achieve this level of in-person learning.

Cornman concluded, “As the chairman of the school board, I can tell you that Mr. Brown certainly makes my job a lot easier. I can’t think of anyone other than Mr. Brown with whom I would have liked to lead us over the past year. One of the best decisions the Board of Education has made was hiring Mr. Brown.


Leave A Reply