On a rainy Thursday, the St. Francis Elementary School teachers and staff had a surprise for Principal Kathy Kohnen.
As a way to celebrate Kohnen being named as the Administrator of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Educational Office Professionals (MAEOP), they invited her to the library for breakfast with all the trimmings Oct. 25.
While an errant email took the surprise out of the breakfast, the award from MAEOP was the biggest surprise for Kohnen.
“I had no idea it was coming until I received the August email congratulating me on being chosen,” Kohnen said.
Three office professionals wrote to the association on Kohnen’s behalf – St. Francis Elementary School administrative assistant Nancy Hass and district office Administrative Assistant Becky Jones and Becky Madson, the former district students services coordinator.
While Hass has worked with some wonderful bosses in the past, “Kohnen is the best,” she said.
“She is such a wonderful and awesome person. Kathy is honest, caring, very thorough and she is the most wonderful woman in the world.”
In her letter, Jones said, “I have known Kathy since 1998 when she came to our district…. My impressions of her have not wavered in the past 14 years; gracious, kind, intelligent, forward-thinking and devoted to the education of children are words that come to mind.”
“She is someone who will always take a moment to say good morning, give a compliment or just be appreciative of the role that all employees and specifically, administrative assistants play in making schools work for children and families.”
For Madson, it was Kohnen’s cooperative spirit, leadership and caring disposition.
“She treats every students as if they were hers. I commend her on her love and passion for her students, staff and education as a whole,” Madson said in her nomination letter.
“We are lucky to have an administrator that has such passion, leadership and the want for ‘her children’ to grow.”
There are so many other people out there with the qualification to be the best administrator and she never thought of it being her, Kohnen said.
“It is interesting when you get the feedback” to see the impact on other people’s lives, she said.
“This school is so very important to me and I want the very best for the kids who go there,” Kohnen said.
“We are the lucky ones because we work with kids.”
Kohnen was presented with the award at the MAEOP fall conference, held Oct. 11 and 12, at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria.
Kohnen is also in the running for the Elementary School Principals Association’s North Suburban Division of Principal of the Year.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org