NEWINGTON - The Board of Education recognized two individuals for being Everyday Heroes during a recent virtual meeting, presenting a special award that is only given out in special situations.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maureen Brummett presented the first of two Everyday Hero Awards to Kim Luiz, educational technology teacher at Elizabeth Greene and Ruth Chaffee Elementary schools.
Luiz has been working to help students and staff adjust to the evolving educational models being utilized during the pandemic, including hybrid and distance-learning platforms.
The individual who nominated her noted how patient and understanding she is when helping people work through their technology issues.
“She responds quickly to emails with questions and challenges no matter what the task is,” the nomination form read. “Kim is always there with a smile and a gentle hand to guide and instruct her peers. She has such a passion to help others Newington is extremely lucky to have such a caring and dedicated individual as part of our teaching staff.”
Brummett recalled how Luiz brought positivity to the district’s first socially distanced event before the new school year, during the distribution of Google Chromebooks.
“She was so excited, she made it a celebration,” the superintendent said.
Luiz said she was honored to accept the award on behalf of fellow Newington school staff.
“I think everyone knows all of our teachers are working so hard right now,” she said. “These are very tough times for everybody. I’m so proud of our staff as a whole, and parents at home, God bless them all.”
The superintendent’s Every Day Hero Award went to the late Richard Klett, who retired in July as Director of Residency and Security for Newington Public Schools. Klett passed away Oct. 2.
Upon her start with the district a few years back, Brummett said she “quickly realized how fortunate we were to have Richie here in Newington.”
“I want to personally thank Maureen for sharing him with us all these years,” she added. “I want Rich to know his legacy - both past and present - is nothing short of heroic. It’s my distinct honor and privilege to offer this small token of our sincere gratitude and appreciation for 18 outstanding years of keeping staff and students in Newington Public Schools safe and secure.”
Richard’s wife, Maureen Klett, and daughter-in-law, Michelle Klett, accepted the award on his behalf over the Zoom meeting.
“As a teacher in town I feel very safe going to school every day and sending my children to school in the Newington school system,” Michelle said, noting this was due to the protocol her father-in-law had implemented.
Board member Steven Sylvia recalled a night in 1992 when Klett made a distinct impression on his 6-year-old son.
“I had some issues with my son and the way Richie interacted with him had an immeasurable impact on the man that he became,” Sylvia said. “He has put a mark on the Sylvia family I can never repay.”
The school district was also the recipient of an honor, from the Newington Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President Deanna Reney presented Newington Public Schools with the organization’s 2020 Youth Service Award. Chamber Board members selected their award winners back in May, before the start of their fiscal year.
“This pandemic was no easy feat; we are very proud that you are at the helm for our children’s education,” Reney said. “Thank you for all your hard work; it is much appreciated. Keep it up.”
Board members appreciated hearing that business representatives in town had taken notice of the district’s hard work over the last six months.
“We are so proud of our administrators and teachers,” Cindy Stamm said. “Thank you so much for recognizing them with this award.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.