Anoka-Hennepin volunteer receives state award

Sue Archbold, Anoka-Hennepin School District 11’s volunteer services supervisor, received the Mary Wiser Award for Excellence in Volunteer Administration from the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) at the organization’s annual meeting Nov. 8.

Sue Archbold

Sue Archbold

Archbold was very surprised and humbled to receive the award, she said.

Archbold was nominated for the award by Linda Rodgers, District 11 parent involvement coordinator, and a number of people wrote letters of support to the award selection committee.

According to members of the Anoka County Volunteer Alliance, twice a year Archbold presents a “Making a Difference” class through Community Education.

The nomination letter states that Archbold’s class provides information on a variety of volunteer activities and how an individual can chose the best volunteer opportunity for him or herself.

In her nominating letter, Marlene Colvin, a retired teacher and current Anoka-Hennepin volunteer, wrote about the kindergarten data collection by volunteers program established by Archbold.

“This program directly links volunteers’ work to classroom curriculum and provides a valuable service to teachers, students and the district literacy mission,” Colvin wrote.

“It was my honor to work closely with Sue and to witness the leadership she provides to volunteers. Sue treats all volunteers with dignity and provides them with the support they need to do their job with excellence.”

Glenice Jones, the volunteer services coordinator for Metro North Adult Basic Education, supplied a nomination letter for Archbold because she has been a mentor, supervisor, instructor and encourager to volunteer coordinators for many years.

Jones wrote about how Archbold has personally helped her.

“I know that anytime I have questions or need the best information in the field, I will call Sue to discuss it,” she wrote.

“We have worked together to create information to share with volunteers and she has lead the way in many areas, including risk management, outreach/recruitment and recognition. She is always learning and sharing the best recommendations in volunteer management.”

District 11 Superintendent Dennis Carlson praised the network of volunteer service coordinators that Archbold has built.

Her leadership has resulted in a cadre of volunteers that Carlson believes is unmatched by any other school district in Minnesota. During the last school year, the district tracked 183,146 hours donated by 10,629 volunteers.

“Sue is a person with vision who sets a goal, charts a course to reach it and follows it through to conclusion,” Carlson said. “She has a positive, optimistic outlook and sees the possibilities in everything rather than dwelling on the potential pitfalls.

“She also understands that her program is part of a whole and she works in concert with others in the organization to ensure that she and her volunteers contribute to the task at hand and the overall mission of the district.”

Archbold began her involvement with the Anoka-Hennepin School District as a volunteer at Hoover Elementary School.

When her children attended Coon Rapids Middle School (CRMS), Archbold served as a member of the parent organization.

At one point she was approached by the school’s principal to work with volunteers in a paid position. That began a more than 20-year career that has taken Archbold from working with parent volunteers at one middle school to supervising volunteer service coordinators in 36 part-time positions.

Shortly after Archbold began her work at CRMS, the principal told her there was someone she needed to meet.

That “someone” was Rodgers. Prior to working as the parent involvement coordinator, Rodgers worked as a volunteer services coordinator at Wilson Elementary School.

At that time having paid coordinators at a school was a relativity new concept. The two women began working together and for the past 20 years they have built volunteer and parent involvement opportunities available in the district.

“Linda and I built this from scratch; we’ve watched it grow as little by little all the schools added positions,” Archbold said.

“Every other year, I meet with each school’s volunteer services coordinator and principal. What we hear is that schools cannot do what they do without the volunteers.”

Archbold began her education at the University of Minnesota and completed her work in organizational studies at Bethel University.

She loves interacting with different people through her job, according to Archbold.

“I enjoy providing the opportunity for parents and community members to participate in their children’s education in the schools,” Archbold said.

“While I don’t work directly with volunteers we have a very sophisticated program that is second to none. It’s very fulfilling to be able to see everything work.”

Archbold did not know that Rodgers had nominated her for the Mary Wiser Award for Excellence in Volunteer Administration and was very surprised to receive an email notifying her she had won.

“It’s very humbling to know that Linda nominated me for the award; that speaks volumes,” said Archbold of her longtime co-worker.

“I am thrilled and honored to receive the award. I’ve always felt we’ve had a good program and this award validates that feeling.

“The award belongs to everyone who has worked to make Anoka-Hennepin’s volunteer services an excellent program.”

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