On Wednesday, September 17, Dr. Nat Coffman, Head of School, Mrs. Imogene Johnson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Prairie faculty and staff gathered in the atrium of the Johnson Athletic Center to celebrate the successful start of the new school year, welcome new teachers and staff members, and recognize and honor members of the Prairie community who have reached major service milestones at the school. In their remarks, Dr. Coffman and Mrs. Johnson gratefully acknowledged the vital contribution that each employee makes to Prairie, day in and day out. Indeed, every member of the Prairie team plays a key role in ensuring that our school continues to achieve its mission and purpose.
The celebratory dinner this year was especially noteworthy for honoring those colleagues who have reached the service milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years. Please celebrate and honor with us the following individuals who have reached those significant anniversaries of service at The Prairie School…
Faculty Celebration Dinner Photo Gallery (view entire album)
35 Years of Service
Mike Davenport, Facilities Team Member
Often the first to arrive on campus, Mike will complete his 35th year at Prairie. Each morning, students, faculty, staff and parents are greeted with his friendly smile and soft spoken demeanor. Mike works hard to help keep our school environment clean and safe. He takes ownership of the building, and if things aren’t working correctly he takes it personally and wants to make sure it’s fixed and ready to go. His hard work and true commitment to our school is an example for all to follow.
30 Years of Service
Bonnie Benes, Head of Middle School
As the Head of the Middle School, Bonnie is a consummate school leader and absolutely passionate about her work. Her dedication and love for the school and her students is evident daily. She serves as a mentor to our students during the day and supports their activities by attending middle and upper school sporting events, choir concerts and school plays. Bonnie has a quick wit and wonderful sense of humor, yet her enthusiasm and energy are grounded by her sense of fairness, integrity and competence. Her leadership is appreciated by all who work with her.
Colleen McCarthy, Primary School Education Assistant
For three decades, Colleen has been known for her love, patience and guidance of our youngest students. In 1986, Mrs. McCarthy started the P.E.P. Program, which is now known as Stay & Play. She was instrumental in introducing our very popular Museum Project — which now gains recognition amongst the entire Racine community — as well as planning and facilitating Grandparents’ Day.
Kevin Will, Upper School Science Teacher
As the senior member of the science department, Kevin has taught a spectrum of courses including middle school biology and AP courses in biology and environmental science. Through his tenure here, he’s also played numerous roles outside of the classroom — some of which include upper school activities director, dean of students, golf coach, basketball coach and student government faculty advisor. He’s played an instrumental role in launching the upper school honor committee, and through his love for the outdoors and nature he initiated our participation in the Manito-wish outdoor experience.
25 Years of Service
Everett McKinney, Head of Upper School
Serving as the Upper School Head, Everett holds high expectations and affords sound and positive encouragement for the students and teachers in his care. He not only inspires and encourages every single student, teacher and faculty member to strive for success, but ensures that everyone does. Everett exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader. Through his determination and love for the school, he’s developed a vision for the Upper School, leading our students to a brighter future after graduation. His peers consider him a true ‘southern gentleman’ and he is well known for his proper etiquette and demanding standards.
Elena Wright, Facilities Team Member
Elena has been a valued member of our facilities night team. For over two decades she has helped maintain a pristine campus, responds to members’ requests efficiently and maintains a positive working relationship with staff. You can always count on Elena to bring a friendly smile to any assignment. She is thoughtful and meticulous about her work and we couldn’t be more grateful for her presence and work ethic.
William Ogden, IT Director & Network/Technical Manager
Bill Ogden has played an instrumental role in our Technology Department. As the school transitioned from mile-long cables to wireless computers, from the use of desktops to laptops, and finally the implementation of the 1:1 iPad program, Bill has played a crucial role in making these efforts a reality for our students and the entire Prairie School community. Day-in and day-out, Bill is constantly researching and answering technology-related questions for students, staff and faculty as well as troubleshooting network issues.
Mark Krekling, Facilities Team Member
Mark celebrates 20 years of valuable service to Prairie. Currently managing the facilities night crew, he is a natural leader and knows how to get things done efficiently and with care. Always here at night and during athletic home games, no task is too small as he assists with crowd control, set-up and tear-down and on occasion timekeeper for athletic games. For the past 13 years, he has also coached the boy’s baseball team and has previously served as a coach for the middle school basketball program.
John Kirt, Facilities Team Member
For John, there has never been a job too big for his broad shoulders or a child too small for his helping hand. He knows every square inch of our sidewalks, closets, classroom floors and cafeteria walls. His kind, welcoming, and friendly demeanor with the students, parents, and faculty makes him a treasured member of The Prairie School family. John has mopped, swept, repaired, replaced, carried and hauled his way into our school’s history and forever into our hearts.