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The 2015-2016 Fridley Public Schools’ Employee of the Year is Kirby Rautio a paraprofessional at Fridley Middle School. Kirby is an educator whose contributions to students who have not traditionally experienced success in school is unmatched. She works tirelessly to create and support classroom environments that make success possible for students; she sees their strengths and gifts when others may see challenges.
“Kirby fosters a sense of belonging in the classrooms she works in and throughout the school. She is the most trusted adult in some student’s lives, serving as their academic and interpersonal coach and cheerleader,” said Principal Matthew Boucher.
Kirby works to reshape how students see themselves, as well as how others see them. She has contributed greatly to making Fridley Middle School a more inclusive and student-centered environment.
We are grateful and honored to work alongside Kirby Rautio, the 2015-2016 Fridley Public Schools’ Employee of the Year. Thank you, Kirby, for your dedicated and exemplary service to the students, staff and families of the Fridley Public Schools!
McKay (center), pictured with Fridley Director of Buildings and Grounds Dennis Craft (left) and MAPT President Derrick Agate (right).
The Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) named Cindy McKay the Transportation Administrator of the Year for 2016. McKay, who has been with the district for four years, works with each building to ensure students and buses are on time and families served in the best way possible.
“I’ve had the honor of working with Cindy for fourteen years now. Three years ago, we decided to take another leap with our poster contest and take the winners to a Twins game,” Derrick Agate, president of MAPT, said. “I can’t tell you the enormity of kids and parents who have benefited from it. Just to get recognized by the Twins organization itself; their posters get put up on the Jumbotron.”
In his nomination letter to MAPT, Dennis Craft, Director of Buildings, Grounds and Transportation for the district said of McKay, “Safety is always Cindy’s priority. She went from bus safety to making certain that our student walkers were getting to school safely under the guidance of trained crossing guards.”
Agate made the formal presentation of the award at the July 19, 2016 school board meeting.
“It’s a huge honor for me,” McKay said at the podium. “My kids tell me if I bleed, I bleed bus. I am so fortunate and blessed to work with Fridley Public Schools and carry my passion on.”
Majestic Oaks Golf Club banquet hall was filled on August 1, 2016 with Fridley Public Schools athletes and their families who came to see nine alum take their place as part of the inaugural class of the Fridley High School Athletics Hall of Fame. Organized by the district’s activities director Dan Roff and his assistant Sue Hanson, the evening provided an opportunity for the district’s sports legends to once again share the spotlight and hear the cheers of Fridley Tiger pride.
Members of the inaugural Fridley Athletics Hall of Fame are (from left to right): Don Meyers (Coach, 1958-1992); Steve Carlson (Class of 1968); Chris Dahlquist (Class of 1981); Nicole Johnson Kamp (Class of 1990); Bob Barnette (Contributor, 1958-present); the late Bob O’Neill (Coach, 1961-1987, represented by son Kevin); Lisa Hansen Boxwell (Class of 1977); Richard Peterson (Class of 1964). Also honored, but not pictured, was Jon Melander (Class of 1985).
The family of Bob O’Neill was present to receive his Hall of Fame Award. The Fridley High School football field is named after the longtime coach.
Fridley High School Resource Officer Randi Oman
As she makes her initial rounds, familiarizing herself with Fridley High School, Randi Oman reflects that she didn’t grow up with aspirations of being a police officer.
“I went to St. Cloud State at 16 through the Post Secondary Education Option (PSEO) for accounting. I still love accounting, but at the end of two to three years of accounting classes decided ‘I don’t like this!’ she said. “My friends were all in law enforcement and sociology classes. I didn’t have a direction at that time, so I decided, ‘I’ll start taking classes with these guys.’ Next thing I know I’m becoming a cop.”
After 11 years with the Fridley Police Department, the last three of which have been in special investigations, Office Oman now finds herself in the most unique role yet of her career.
“It was really just happenstance; I was coming over from investigations and this position opened and it was one I hadn’t done before. When I started with the Fridley Police Department, I never considered becoming an SRO (School Resource Officer). It just didn’t seem like something that was in my wheelhouse. But after 11 years, I thought ‘I could really handle this.’”
In a coincidence, Officer Oman’s husband, Jason, just began his first year as an SRO at Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine. The couple actually met while on the same burglary case. Together, they have four children ranging in age from 8 to 19.
Asked if there are specific classes an officer takes for working in a school environment, Oman said, “There’s a school resource office class you can attend. Depending on who you sign up through, it can be a two-day to a week-long class. It goes over the trends happenings in the schools, how to integrate from patrol into the school, and covers a lot of emergency management.”
Recognizing the importance of her new post, Officer Oman is excited about working with a younger generation than she may otherwise not have to interacted with.
“There are so many different facets to what I’m doing; I’m social working, I’m being a cop, I’m doing security,” she said. “I’m really more in the kids’ environment. It’s fun meeting them and making an impact in a different way. I’m like the new kid!”