Leah Henry Named Dedication To Education Award Recipient
December 13, 2017
Leah Henry, a teacher of learning strategies at the Juvenile Detention Center, was awarded the 11th annual Dedication to Education Award by the Lawrence Schools Foundation Wednesday afternoon. The award includes a $5,000 check.
The Lawrence Schools Foundation presented the award to Henry in front of the youth services employees, teachers and para-educators at the center, as well as her husband and parents.
The Dedication to Education award is given to a certified teacher or para-educator who goes the extra mile to help kids who need it most. The award honors someone who supports “Learning for all, whatever it takes” by ensuring that challenged and/or disadvantaged students learn. The honor was created by community members who are the sons and daughters of a group of anonymous donors who initiated the Bobs Award for Teaching Excellence, given in the spring.
Henry has taught at the Detention Center since 2008. After earning her degree at Baker University, she taught English at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka for five years before beginning work at the Detention Center.
According to Pam Weigand, director of Douglas County Youth Services, Henry inspires her students to work to the best of their ability and celebrates their accomplishments.
“Many of the students who participate in the day school program have had limited success in school,” Weigand said. “Leah incorporates creative projects and activities to engage students and promote a positive learning environment. She demonstrates caring and concern for her students and advocates to ensure her students have the necessary tools and supports to facilitate their success.”
Rick Henry, who is Henry’s former supervisor and is not related to the recipient, said she builds positive relationships with her students.
“Often, new students arrive at Day School distrusting adults and disliking school, but Leah always gently dismantles the relationship walls her students have constructed,” he said. “Once students discover her care and compassion for them, they begin to open themselves to learning, not only the content Leah taches, but also social skills, determination, compassion and self-worth.”
“Leah is far more than a teacher for her students,” Rick Henry added. “She is also a counselor, advocate, support person and mentor.”
One of her students said Henry always makes her feel welcome and is always positive.
“Leah treats us as if we were her kids and she wants what is best for us,” the student said. “She deeply cares about our grades and what is going on in our lives.”
The Lawrence Schools Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization that raises money to enrich the education of the students in the Lawrence Public Schools. The Foundation seeks to promote and enhance effective early childhood education, innovative teaching and learning opportunities, recognition of outstanding educators and encouragement of student achievement.
To learn about the Lawrence Schools Foundation or to make a donation to support Lawrence Public Schools, visit www.LawrenceSchoolsFoundation.org.
Dedication to Education Award Recipients:
2007 - Jim Immel (Early Childhood Center)
2008 - Mary Ann Henry (South Junior High School)
2009 - Mary Chamberlin (Pinckney Elementary School)
2010 - Charlotte Lauts (Lawrence High School)
2011 - Lori Sinclair (Woodlawn Elementary School)
2012 - Ron Swall (Lawrence Free State High School)
2013 - Morgan Randle (Southwest Middle School)
2014 - Heather Lee (Lawrence High School)
2015 - Cara McNorton (Kennedy Elementary School)
2016 - Kim Fuller (South Middle School)
2017 – Leah Henry (Juvenile Detention Center)