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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Nov. 16, 2022 – Education Minnesota is celebrating American Education Week by honoring KimEl Henry, a restorative practices and dean team lead at Andersen United Middle School in Minneapolis, as our 2022-23 Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year.
As a restorative practices and dean team lead, Henry’s days include working with scholars and staff in restorative circles and facilitating mediations to help everyone repair harm when needed, and to build relationships. She also helps staff, scholars and families learn about and understand the importance of restorative practices versus punitive measures. Henry also teaches mindfulness to staff and scholars, participates in three grade-level support team meetings, updates and communicates grade level behavior data each month, and identifies areas where the school community can improve.
Henry is a Minneapolis Public Schools graduate who has been with the district for 20 years. The core of Henry’s work is built on the importance of relationships.
“One way I’ve directly impacted student success is by helping students learn the importance of building relationships in a kind, welcoming way and taking time out to breathe before they reflect on an issue that is bothering them,” Henry wrote in the materials she submitted for the award. “I‘ve provided a safe space for scholars when needed by providing a restorative circle.”
“Seeking joy, her relationships with students are deep and filled with mutual respect,” said Teresa Gloppen, an eighth-grade teacher at Anderson United Middle School. “She relentlessly works to elevate the profession and demand improvements at a political and systemic level. She values growth and seeks out challenges as opportunities to learn.”
As the 2022-23 Minnesota ESP of the Year, Henry will receive a new Apple iPad and a $1,200 honorarium. She will also be nominated for the National Education Association’s ESP of the Year award and will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the awards ceremony.
“ESPs are the staff who make school happen and that is what KimEl proves every day,” Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said. “KimEl’s commitment to her students and her colleagues in creating a behavior management program at all levels of her school means that the space is a more welcoming, mindful and supportive learning and working environment for everyone.”
The winner of the Education Support Professional of the Year award is selected by a four-member committee that includes three leaders of Education Minnesota and a representative of an external organization.
About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.