by Brian Friddle and Mary Jo David
As has become custom at the Welcome Back Staff Breakfast, the winner of the Helen B. Mitteer Employee of the Year award is announced. This year, that special award went to Leslie Cummings, guidance counselor at Stockbridge Junior/Senior High School.
The Mitteer award is managed by the Stockbridge Area Educational Foundation (SAEF) and is accompanied by $1,500 that the winner can put toward any educational pursuit.
In the lead-up to the award, Superintendent Brian Friddle shared the history of the SAEF and their support of the Helen B. Mitteer Employee of the Year recognition. The award is a great way to showcase employees who exemplify the highest qualities. Cummings is one of these employees; she is described as an amazing individual and an asset to the school district.
Beginning her 28th year with Stockbridge Schools, Cummings has an exceptional passion for supporting students and their success. Many parents credit Cummings as the reason their son or daughter was able to graduate from Stockbridge High School. This is evidenced by the number of graduating seniors waiting patiently each year to get a photo with Mrs. Cummings on graduation day.
With so many years of service under her belt, Cummings is a wealth of information. She has a lot on her plate and wears many hats throughout her day, guiding students through scheduling, post-secondary planning, and the many daily challenges they face. She always supports and pushes students to succeed so they can eventually walk across the stage to accept their diplomas.
Coworkers credit her with a calming presence that is just what’s needed during intense moments and stressful situations. Staff members always feel welcome in her office to talk over their questions or concerns. In fact, there is rarely a moment when someone is not in Leslie’s office.
Leslie was nominated and chosen last year by the students as the Grand Marshall for the Homecoming parade, a testament to how much the student body appreciates and values her.
The look of surprise on her face changed from shock to pride as her husband and three sons joined her on stage when the Employee of the Year award was announced.
The Helen B. Mitteer Employee of the Year award is a great honor. Jr Sr High School Principal Trapp had this to say about Cummings:
“Leslie is an important part of the foundation of our district and a solid rock upon which our students can depend for support. She is a Stockbridge Panther in every sense of the word! I am so thankful that she is one of the lasting impressions that our students take with them when graduating from high school.”
Helen Bullis Mitteer was born in Pinckney, Michigan in 1910. In the fall of 1929, Helen started teaching in a rural, one-room schoolhouse between Pinckney and Gregory. For over 40 years Mrs. Mitteer was a committed, caring, and patient teacher to thousands of students in the Stockbridge Community. Her dedication to Stockbridge Schools is now perpetuated through the financial support provided to those employees who reflect her unselfish commitment to the students of Stockbridge Schools.