Kelly Kempf, Hudson City School's director of pupil services was a recent recipient of the 2014 Chemical Abuse Reduced by Education award from the Six District Educational Compact.
Kempf was presented the award at an April 3 banquet at the Silver Lake Country Club. The Six District Educational Compact provides college tech prep initiatives, career programs, services and resources for the Hudson, Stow-Munroe Falls, Cuyahoga Falls, Kent, Tallmadge and Woodridge school districts.
C.A.R.E. awards are presented to "a remarkable individual or organization in recognition of outstanding service to the Six District Educational Compact schools and communities," according to Jennifer Chadima, a counselor and C.A.R.E. coordinator at Hudson High School. Recipients of this award have distinguished themselves in substance abuse prevention and intervention efforts and each school district recognizes a school-based or community resident or organization, she added.
"Kelly Kempf champions the vision that we work for the well-being of all of our students," Chadima said. "She leads with kindness and compassion and makes students and staff know they are important and valued."
Kempf was given a framed certificate commemorating her "exceptional commitment to growth and development of Community C.A.R.E."
"Each year the district selects a student(s), staff, community members or organization to recognize," Kempf said. "This year, unbeknownst to me, I was selected. When I showed up for the banquet, which I attend every year as director of pupil services, I realized I was in the program as the Hudson recipient. My family had been invited as well, which was also a very nice surprise."
Kempf said she was both honored to be selected by the district and appreciative of the sentiments shared by Superintendent Phil Herman and three building principals in their nominations. Herman introduced Kempf at the April 3 banquet and read portions of nominations written by Hudson High School Principal Brian Wilch, Hudson Middle School Principal Kim Cockley and East Woods Elementary School Principal Paul Milcetich.
"It is an honor and a pleasure anytime you get to introduce someone whom you admire for her work, respect for her character and who makes your life a better one simply for knowing her," Herman said April 3. "This evening, I get that honor in introducing Kelly Kempf."
Wilch wrote that "Kelly epitomizes the acronym C.A.R.E. because she does truly care; she brings a focus and passion to her position that exemplifies the following, student-centered approach in how she performs a very difficult and challenging job."
"She [Kempf] wants to spend time with the students whenever possible, and heads right to the classrooms where she can be with them," Cockley wrote. "She leads with kindness and compassion and wholeheartedly deserves this award."
Milcetich wrote that Kempf "truly understands and lives the idea that our students will not learn their best and reach their potential unless they are happy, healthy, safe and feeling loved/nurtured. She is a crucial moral compass to our schools and district to make sure we do not lose sight of keeping the safety, security and well-being of our children always at the forefront."
"I have worked in the central office with Kelly for over six years, and one of the greatest things about Kelly is her humility," Herman said in his closing remarks April 3. "She brings no ego to the work that she does. However, Kelly is so humble that she often fails to see the magnitude of the impact that she is having on our students, staff and the greater Hudson Community. Tonight, we hope that this award helps her understand that she is truly changing lives."
And while Kempf accepted the award, she said April 14 that "the staff and organizations which work directly with students, or the students themselves that do more front line work, deserve to be recognized more than I do."
"I feel like I am just doing my job," Kempf said. "I almost hate to be highlighted as a recipient because every year we have wonderful recipients, and I think they are all worthy of recognition."
The district is "fortunate to have many concerned and committed individuals and organizations in Hudson that care about the health, wellness and safety of our youth," Kempf said.
Kempf also credited Chadima with being a champion of "many educational programs within the district as well as brings in outside resources that focus on the safety and well-being of our students and to encourage them to be alcohol and drug free."
Herman was "thrilled to hear" that Kempf would be recognized at the banquet, he said.
"Kelly is passionately dedicated to meeting the needs of all students," Herman said. "Her humble and unassuming demeanor enable her to develop meaningful and productive relationships with students, their parents, teachers and administrators while always maintaining a focus on meeting the educational needs of each student."