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  • Writer's pictureHannah Freese

Workplace Wellness Champion

Last Weekend, at an all-state Early Childhood Conference, our very own Sonshine Patch Preschool director won the honor of "Workplace Wellness Champion," and we want to share with you what her teachers wrote about her for the nomination.



There are so many award-worthy child care providers. What makes this person/organization stand out in this award category?

To understand Daisy as a stand out for this award, you must first understand who she is as a person. Daisy, being a pastor's daughter, grew up with a giving heart yet struggled expressing herself. She was once a shy, awkward teen who would eat lunch in the bathroom in order to avoid being around others. Gradually, she grew to become a confident woman who owns her outgoing, slightly crazy (in a good way) self. Once you meet Daisy, you will never forget her. She came as an "unknown" to her current role as an administrator to Sonshine Patch Preschool. The staff had whispers of fear about this newly hired director. Who was she? What were her expectations? The last thing wanted by the staff was a boss with an attitude of top-down mentality. It didn't take long to find out that all fears were unfounded. Waltzing into our first meeting, Daisy's upbeat attitude became contagious. She told us her goals and dreams for our little school and made sure that we knew that we were "her people." She commented that the children, the parents, the building, and all the "stuff" that come with it are all very important. However, without the health and well-being of the staff, nothing else matters. To put it simply, she said we were the foundation, the bottom floor that supports the empire of well-loved children. Unless our basic needs were taken care of, the wheels on the school would spin but not go anywhere. She promised to be an administrator who would keep her staff as a top priority. Daisy has kept that promise. There is not a day that goes by that she is unaware of who is feeling a bit overwhelmed, tired, or burned out. To curb all those feelings, Daisy will step in and remove her admin hat and put on her teacher hat. She will get at the children's level and take over. She will also let students know that without a doubt they are blessed to have the teacher that serves them daily. One moment that stands out was at the end of a particularly difficult week. The staff were all dragging and even a bit hangry, if truth be told. After whining to Daisy in a nonchalant but unintentional way, Daisy heard our cries and surprised us by having multiple pizzas delivered as a way to pick us up. It must be said here that there is not a budget to cover an expense such as this. Daisy had used her own money to buy us this treat without any expectation of being reimbursed. When you have a birthday coming up, watch out! Daisy will make you feel like a "queen for the day." Stepping into your classroom on the day of your birthday, don't be surprised to find a roomful of balloons. She will also personally pick out and buy each staff member a birthday present, complete with a cake and candles to go with it. Christmas is another time that teachers never know what to expect. As mentioned before, there is no budget to cover "frivolous" expenses. Daisy takes it upon herself to purchase each teacher a gift. She also plans the entire party, using money from her own pocketbook to provide us with a catered meal, prizes for the crazy games she has planned, and, of course, a bottle of Christmas spirits for all to sip and enjoy. To say Daisy is a good boss would be an understatement. She is a blessing to our school. She is devoted to her staff and, in return, has taken our once struggling but established, private school to a thriving, almost paradise where parents can feel good about leaving their children with staff who are committed and well cared for by a loving, faithful administrator named Daisy Jane Chell.

Please give 2 specific examples of things this person/organization has done to show excellence in this area.

Most administrators who plan for team-building come up with activities that make their staff want to get up and run. Have you ever had to be in a group with people and do those activities where you'd rather be at home cleaning a toilet? With Daisy, that never happens. As the beginning of each school year approaches, Daisy intentionally plans a staff-building activity. One year, we were all invited to attend a day of wine-sipping and painting. We spent the time together laughing and enjoying each other's company while learning to paint a mountainous landscape with a beautiful sunset. Each person's painting turned out a bit differently. Even though we had a choice to take our paintings home, we all chose to have them proudly displayed at school. This current year, Daisy surprised us with another team-building activity. She brought in a professional florist who guided us in making wreaths. We all got to create a one-of-a-kind wreath to hang in our own homes. There were several new employees this year. This activity was welcoming and created camaraderie within the workplace. A final example of Daisy looking after the wellness of her employees involves another new teacher. This teacher was asked to accept a full-time job at our school. Even though her heart wanted to accept, she knew she couldn't because of her responsibilities to her grandson. Daisy rearranged the teacher's schedule which allows the teacher to leave daily, so the grandson can be picked up from school. We are honored to nominate Daisy for this special award.



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