The Chillicothe Education Foundation celebrated its annual benefit dinner Wednesday evening at the home of Ed Milbank, foundation board member, and applauded the nominees and recipients of the Teacher of the Year Award and Beacon Award. Early estimates indicate that the event raised more than $22,000.

The Chillicothe Education Foundation celebrated its annual benefit dinner Wednesday evening at the home of Ed Milbank, foundation board member, and applauded the nominees and recipients of the Teacher of the Year Award and Beacon Award. Early estimates indicate that the event raised more than $22,000. At the banquet, foundation president Ed Douglas thanked those who attended and gave special recognition to Milbank for having hosted the banquet for the last 20-plus years. An estimated 100 people attended. Douglas also introduced the rest of the foundation board members and thanked them for their service. “I am very appreciative of all you guys do,” Douglas told those gathered. “Ed (Milbank) puts it on, but your contributions is what makes it work.” Douglas stated that the foundation’s purpose is to do projects that the school is unable to do by itself. According to Douglas, the foundation spends approximately $12,500 annually for Teacher of the Year and Beacon awards, and additional funds for teacher mini-grants which are awarded each year. “Because of your generosity, we increased the mini-grants from $4,000 a year to $6,000 a year,” Douglas said. The foundation also makes funds available for teacher recruitment bonuses. “The Chillicothe Education Foundation has been an exciting organization because we’ve been able to accomplish quite a few things,” Douglas told those gathered. “We helped get the 60 acres for the school so they can expand; we recently helped with the road project (the road that will connect U.S. Highway 65 and the new elementary school) along with contributions from other foundations and the city; the Teacher of the Year Award for 25 years; and the Beacon Award program seven years ago.” The fundraising for construction of the new Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium was headed by the education foundation, and the land the stadium sits on was also partly purchased by the foundation in 2003. Douglas noted that the foundation just signed paperwork transferring the land north of the high school to the school district. The foundation also has other ideas for partnering with the school district on more projects. He stated that the foundation hopes to endow the Teacher of the Year and Beacon Award program so that it is self-supporting. Following his remarks Wednesday evening, Douglas introduced the school superintendent and building administrators, as well as the nominees and recipients of this year’s Chillicothe R-2 Teacher of the Year and Beacon Award. “We like to encourage excellence and it is a joy to recognize the teachers and support staff,” Douglas said. “Good teaching leads to good students and the beacons support that.” Earlier in the school year, each school nominated one staff member for the Beacon Award. Those nominees were Sara Eller (Garrison), Marcella Murry (Dewey), Melody Munson (Field), Kathie Midgyett (Central), Cheri Waggoner (CMS), Pat Ewing (CHS), Mandy James (GRTS). This year’s award winner was Kathy Midgyett. Midgyett has worked for the R-2 school district for 11 years and has been in her current position as Central School secretary for the last seven years. After Douglas recognized all of the Beacon Award nominees, he read the reasons Midgyett was nominated, which was submitted by the Central School staff. “She is a shining light, the picture of diligence, an expert in discretion, and able to see below the surface,” Douglas said. “Staff members at Central say ‘she never misses a beat’ and is great at multitasking. Mrs. Midgyett knows it all, does it all, and is always patient, kind and willing to help anybody at any time.” As the Beacon Award recipient, Midgyett received a $300 prize. All Beacon Award nominees received $100 apiece. Pam Miller, vocational child care instructor at Grand River Technical School, was named this year’s Chillicothe R-2 Teacher of the Year. Miller has been teaching for 32 years, having served 22 years with GRTS. Douglas read what Miller’s colleagues submitted on her behalf. “Mrs. Miller has a big heart and is able to build confidence in all the lives she touches,” Douglas read. “She is passionate about meeting the educational and personal needs for students regardless of their abilities. She passionately believes all students can learn and be successful, and her students know that she cares about them and that she will make them better.” As Teacher of the Year, Miller was awarded a $1,500 prize and a $500 classroom prize. Each Teacher of the Year nominee received $1,000 and a $500 classroom prize for their nomination. Other Teacher of the Year nominees recognized at the banquet were: Ellen Hansen (kindergarten teacher at Dewey School), Katie Maples (third grade teacher at Field School), Donna Good (fifth grade teacher at Central School), Shaylee Rademacher (science teacher at Chillicothe Middle School), Lisa Rule (English, drama, speech and yearbook teacher at Chillicothe High School), and Diana Holcer (English language arts teacher at the Transition to Life Center). The Chillicothe Education Foundation Board consists of Ed Douglas, president; Roger Barnes, Ed Milbank, Julie McCoy, Mike Turner (treasurer), Inger Young, Lindy Chapman, Robin Westphal, Mary Staton, Trent Miller, Bruce Brodmerkle. The Teacher of the Year Award began in the 1992-93 school yar and the Beacon of the Year Award was added in 2007. Douglas read the list of past recipients:  Teacher of the Year: Charles Epps (1992-93), Terri Critten (1993), Bill Maupin (1994), Pat Nichols (1995), Nancy Zelmer (1996), kathy Breeden (1997), Greg Thurmon (1998), Janet Zion (1999), Linda Fox (2000), Marsha Leopard (2001), Jamie Caughron (2002), Debbie Goodwin (2003), Larry Vance (2004), Rosie Smith (2005), Keith Dietzschold (2006), Tami Riekena (2007), David Goodwin (2008), Tammy Price (2009), Ellen Gott (2010), Christine Jones (2011), Tim Riekena (2012), Billie McGraw (2013), Terria Cox (2014), Sophie Chambers (2015). Beacon of the Year: Gary Eide (2007), Ron Rader (2008), Lesa Lee (2009), Rick McCully (2010), Laurinda Davison (2011), Carla Meyers (2012), Dave Sheler (2013), Anita Coult (2014), Mike Lewis (2015).