Make a Difference Award

  • The Make a Difference Award recognizes a member of the Ritenour educational community for their efforts in supporting the diverse needs of students academically, socially and emotionally in a variety of learning settings.

    Individuals who qualify for this award:
    Adaptive PE Instructors
    Occupational Therapists
    Physical Therapists
    School Psychologists
    Social Workers
    Special Education Teachers
    Speech and Language Pathologist
    Special Education Paraprofessional

    Any staff member in the district can nominate an individual who meets the qualifications. The criteria for nomination include the following:
    • Excellence in the support of meeting the diverse needs of all students
    • Helping to support an atmosphere of continued learning and growth for all students
    Nominate an employee: 2021 Make A Difference Award DUE NOV. 18, 2020

    For questions about nominating an employee, email Evelyn Gilliam.

    Tavonda Palmer, graduation coach and leadership teacher at Ritenour High School, is the 2020 Make A Difference Award honoree. As an RHS Class of 2000 graduate, Palmer enjoys making a difference and leaving a positive legacy in the lives of young people. She is in her 14th year as a teacher at her alma mater.

    Tavonda Palmer Palmer is one of the most decorated and celebrated educators in the Ritenour School District.  Over the past few years, she has received numerous awards and accolades - both regionally and nationally.  

    “Ms. Palmer personifies what it means to receive the Make A Difference Award,” said Ritenour Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride.  “She is a highly-skilled, engaging educator with high expectations of her students not only to live up to their potential academically, but also as servant leaders in their school.  She does a great job touching students’ hearts to enable their minds so they can excel academically and beyond. Because of her, many students’ lives have been changed for the better.”

    On her nomination form, one of her students commented: “I would select Ms.Palmer because whenever I'm feeling down or not myself she knows automatically and does a very great job of lifting my spirit. She sees unconditional potential in all her students. If you let her she can mold you into your very best and authentic self.” 

Make a Difference Past Honorees

  •  Michael Thomas  Re-Entry Center  2008
     Anne Becherer  Marion Elementary  2009
     Cate Peterson  RHS/SSD  2010
     Anne Gerst  Marion/SSD  2011
     Jennifer Love  District  2012
     Christina Thompson  Ritenour High School  2013
     Sara Luesse  Iveland Elementary  2014
     Kay Castello  SEC/SSD  2015
     Michael Steven Thomas  District  2016
     Chrissy Phillips  Buder Elementary  2017
     Julie Kampschroeder  Ritenour High School  2018
     Jeremy Kane  Buder and Marvin Elementary  2019
     Tavonda Palmer  Ritenour High School  2020