The Kentucky Association of School Administrators named three finalists for the 2019 Fred Award, including Bevins Elementary Custodian Russell Harrison.
The award, inspired by Fred Shea, the postman who became the subject of Mark Sanborn’s national best seller, The Fred Factor, recognizes non-administrative staff statewide whose daily efforts are deemed extraordinary and integral to a positive learning atmosphere in their school communities. Finalists for this award must embody four guiding principles: makes a positive difference each day; has a heart for people; changes ordinary moments
into memorable ones; and leads by example.
“Freds are change agents who help determine the culture in their schools,” said KASA Executive Deputy Director Dr. Rhonda Caldwell. “They freely share the gift of encouragement to those who need it most. They give immeasurably more often at personal expense and sacrifice. They are quiet leaders without unofficial titles who unknowingly weave a legacy of greatness around them.”
Finalists are selected by a blue-ribbon judging panel representing education leaders from school districts across the
state. A film crew visited each finalist’s district to capture the spirit of his or her service. Footage from these visits will be presented during the final award presentation July 19 at KASA’s Annual Leadership Institute and Expo in Louisville.
“The Fred award is all about leading by example, changing ordinary moments into extraordinary ones and having that heart for people,” Bevins Elementary Principal Amy Swiney said. “Russ is doing all of that and more — he is the first one here in the morning and the last one here at night. He’s the one leading the whole cafeteria in singing Happy Birthday’ to a student on their special day. He is helping kids off and off the bus when that’s typically something a custodian doesn’t do. Russ’s presence here brightens our whole school. He is very observant and pays attention, not afraid to talk to a student or staff member when they’re having a hard day to offer support. Russ embodies the Fred Awards in every way.”
Each finalist will receive a $250 check, overnight lodging at the Galt House Hotel, and a distinguished marble plaque detailing the award. The winner will receive a $500 check.
“There are few recognition programs for support staff in our public schools today. KASA is proud to partner with author Mark Sanborn and American Fidelity to recognize Freds across the state. This year’s awards will expand the program’s reach to 37 school districts statewide,” said Caldwell.
KASA is the largest school administrator group in Kentucky, representing more than 3,100 education leaders from across the commonwealth. Formed in 1969, KASA connects education leaders to policymakers, legislators, and other interest groups and provides numerous benefits and services to Kentucky’s school administrators.