Extraordinary MPS Volunteers
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2019 Extraordinary MPS Volunteers

2019 Extraordinary MPS Volunteers

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Nikki Nethercot-Niermann

Nikki is a 4th grade math and science volunteer at Nellie Stone Johnson.  Staff said that Nikki has been supportive since her first day as a volunter.  She is caring, helpful, thoughtful and loyal.  Nikki said " I enjoy volunteering because I get to interact with some amazing and unique kids. Sometimes they are having a tough day, and I'm able to make it a little better. And, sometimes I'm stressed out and having a tough week and they are able to do the same for me. The volunteer moment I enjoy the most is when a student is learning to master a new concept and they suddenly have that "ah-ha!" moment and want to complete the rest of the assignment without any help from me. I love seeing how proud they are of themselves for working through something tough and coming through it more confident and ready to tackle the next thing. Thank you, Nikki!

Stephen Gangstead

Stephen Gangstead is a longtime volunteer at Emmerson.  Teacher Samuel Crossley shared “Stephen has been a fixture in the Emerson hallways for over 5 years. He is most commonly found with a group of students so engrossed in listening to him read aloud that they are oblivious to other classes passing or the noise of the hallway. He's an excellent communicator and incredibly reliable. Students eagerly check in every Wednesday when he arrives to see if they will be reading with Mr. Stephen that week. Audible cheers erupt when the names are listed and groans ensue when students realize they have to wait until his next visit. Stephen brings to life fiction and non-fiction picture books for our 4th graders with his expressive voice and passionate commentary. We're so thankful for Stephen's regular visits to Emerson and look forward to him reading many more stories in future visits. Thanks so much, Mr. Stephen!”

 Stephen shared that being a volunteer at Emerson is a reward in itself, noting “growing up I benefited enormously from my own public school education, and I'm grateful to be able to give back something now.”  Thank you, Stephen!

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Dan Stein

Dan is a dedicated community volunteer at Sheridan serving in the main office, art classes and reading with kindergarteners.  Staff said that Dan always shows up willing to help and that his kindness is contagious.  Dan said “In all of my volunteer efforts, my goal is to contribute to my community and grow as an individual.  The time that I spend at Sheridan is very rewarding and each visit gives me the opportunity to support the education of our children, recognize the extraordinary dedication of teachers and staff, and even practice my Spanish!  The Sheridan family has been welcoming and appreciative throughout and I'm honored to be a part of the team.”  Thank you, Dan!

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Jan Heasley

Jan Heasley is a dedicated community volunteer at Jefferson.  Staff member Elizabeth Hale shared that Jan is full of energy and enthusiasm.  Besides helping weekly in the fourth grade classroom, she partnered with another volunteer to work on providing arts opportunities and experiences to students.    She has especially strengthened our partnership with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where she also has served as a volunteer. Jan shared “If you haven't spent time in a public school since your youth, I strongly encourage you to do so and witness the many needs.  I invite you to give your support to Jefferson and other schools.”  Thank you, Jan!

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Stuart Klipper

Stuart Klipper, better known to students as Uncle Stinky, has been volunteering at Armatage for 13 years.  Stuart began volunteering as a reading volunteer and constantly sought out books to share with students. Stuart now volunteers regularly with 1st and 5th grade classrooms.  Staff appreciate his commitment and dedication to serving children sharing that he shares his insights and skills by tying in his experiences with the genres the students are reading about in class. Stuart genuinely cares about the children and shares his many talents with the kids.

Stuart shares artifacts from other cultures and natural history objects from remote places he has traveled, like the Antarctic.  Stuart uses the items to prompt discussion about issues some books raise; share question-and laughter- about what they've read. Stuart says “I like to joke that when I was in elementary school I could kick everyone's butt in Show 'n Tell, and I still can.  I began doing this after a few years of just reading - it got to the point that I can't show up without being asked- what'd you bring today?”  Thank you, Uncle Stinky!

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Peter Hamburge

Peter Hamburge, also known as “Coach”, serves as a mentor at Howe meeting weekly with the same student and forging a positive relationship.  Teacher Lisa Petras said “I am so thankful for his positive influence and willingness to take time out of his busy schedule to make a difference in our school, in our classroom, and in this young man's life.” Peter believes in the power of volunteering and being a mentor, sharing “I believe that time is the most precious gift that we can give another person. I learned from my mother, who selflessly gave her time, talents and energy to try and be a positive force for young people during her life, the impact that one can have when choosing to volunteer and give. I have been blessed to have wonderful mentors in my life, and my faith drives me to try and give back as much as I can.”  Thank you, Coach!

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Nikki Smith

 Nikki Smith is a parent volunteer at Jefferson.  She co-chairs the school's site council and is active on the Native American Advisory Group at the district level.  Staff note “Nikki has a positive relationship with many teachers and brings great ideas to the table. She also helped with a display we did for Native American Family Involvement Day. Nikki is a wonderful member of the Jefferson community.” Nikki shared “ I volunteer because I believe school is important and to show my children how much I care for their education. I want to make sure my boys feel comfortable in their environment.”

Thank you Nikki, for everything you do to support students and staff!

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Penny Sanderson

Thank you to Lucy Laney volunteer, Penny Sanderson.  Ms. Penny has consistently volunteered in kindergarten at Lucy Laney three or more days per week over the past five years. She leads small learning groups, makes and donates academic learning games, comforts students during times of need, donates warm winter clothing to students, and even supports substitute teachers when kindergarten teachers are out sick. Ms. Penny is truly a gem!

Thank you, Penny, for your dedication to Lucy Laney students and staff.

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Ron Goldser

Ron Goldser is a volunteer superstar at Webster.  Ron volunteers 3 times a week supporting kindergarteners with reading and writing in the Literacy Lab.  He also serves as the school's Volunteer Coordinator where he recruits, trains, and schedules all other school volunteers.  In addition to his generous gift of time, Ron donates regularly to the school by funding experiences for our students. Principal Ginger Kranz notes that Ron is punctual, positive, committed, and always eager to see our students each day.  Ron shared “the title Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is probably correct. It is a privilege to work with Ginger and the K crew to help these young learners begin to find their way. And I have a fantastic group of fellow volunteers who really make it all possible.” Thank you, Ron!

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Jim Hingeley

Thank you to Jim Hingeley, a longtime volunteer at Nellie Stone Johnson who tutors 4th and 5th grade students in reading and math.  As a retired high school teacher, Jim has dedicated his life to helping all students learn.  Staff say that Mr. Higeley allows the students to learn at their pace and is patient, flexible, consistent, and kind.  He knows the students well and brings in books and other materials that he knows they'd be interested in. 

Jim- thank you from everyone at Nellie Stone Johnson.  We are so lucky to have you as a volunteer.