Diamond Circle Award

  • The Ritenour “prize patrol” surprised four top Ritenour staff members on March 14 in their schools to announce that they’ve been selected as this year’s top district employees: Ritenour Diamond Circle Teacher of the Year, Employee of the Year, First-Class Teacher and Make A Difference Award honoree.

    Dion JohnsonDion Johnson, a third-grade teacher at Marvin Elementary, is the district’s 2022 Diamond Circle Teacher of the Year.  Jesseca Hankins, an office professional at Marion Elementary, is the 2022 Diamond Circle Employee of the Year.  

    The awards are given to Ritenour teachers and staff who best exemplify the district’s commitment to quality education and service.

    As the district’s Teacher of the Year, Johnson will compete against other teachers statewide for the Missouri State Teacher of the Year Award. Johnson, who started teaching in Ritenour in 2011, is a teacher-leader at Marvin and is admired by his colleagues for his extensive teaching knowledge and skills.  His students say that he is a passionate and energetic leader who always has a positive attitude.  During recess, you can often see him on the playground interacting with students by playing kickball or football.  

    “We are so proud that Mr. Johnson has received this prestigious and well-deserved honor,” said Marvin Elementary Principal Nikki Autenreith.  “He has such a great rapport with his students.  He goes above and beyond each day to help her students reach their goals, and he truly believes that to accomplish our biggest goals we need to have high expectations for all students.”   

    Jesseca Hankins, Diamond Circle Employee of the YearAs Diamond Circle Employee of the Year, Hankins is an integral part of the Marion Elementary team.  Hankins significantly contributes to creating a positive culture and climate at her school. According to Marion Elementary Principal Bilal Ewing, she always greets everyone with a smile and creates a welcoming environment for students, staff and families. 

    “Mrs. Hankins is our superhero,” Ewing said.  “She goes out of her way to make coming to school the best possible experience for students, staff and parents.  Ms. Hankins loves our students and is a trusted adult that many of them rely on every day for care and support.”  

    In January, the district announced Diamond Circle Teachers at the building level during the winter employee convocation. Awardees are selected each year by colleagues in their buildings.

    This year’s honorees are:

    • Ritenour School for Early Childhood Education: Linda Voelkel
    • Ritenour Virtual Academy: Amber Chaidez, first grade
    • Buder Elementary: Tina Nichols, fourth grade 
    • Iveland Elementary: Amanda Stein, third grade
    • Kratz Elementary: Yen-yi Chen, art
    • Marion Elementary: Amy Germain, first grade 
    • Marvin Elementary: Dion Johnson, third grade 
    • Wyland Elementary: Cindy Herd, second grade 
    • Hoech Middle: Cliff McDaniel, band 
    • Ritenour Middle: Mark Goldman, eighth grade English language arts and social studies
    • Ritenour High School: Danielle Swallow, math

    All award recipients, as well as 25-year service award recipients and 2021-2022 retirees, were recognized at the district’s annual Honors Dinner on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at the Ritenour Auditorium.  

    Watch videos from the 2022 Honors Dinner event: