Josh Penn, a custodian at Peaks Mill Elementary School, was recognized Friday by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA) as one
of three statewide finalists for the organization’s Fred Award. The award recognizes non-administrative staff, students, and volunteers statewide whose daily efforts are deemed extraordinary and integral to a positive learning atmosphere in their school communities.
As a finalist, Penn was awarded $250 and was recognized at the KASA annual conference in Louisville. According to a KASA news release, he was selected for the honor in part because he “uses his time with them (students) to talk about making good choices and to build them up,… takes an active role in educating students… and works with teachers to reward them (students) for good behavior, reads to first graders and listens to some of them read. Josh is a strong role model for the young boys at his school.”
Penn has been a custodian at Peaks Mill nearly five years. Although his job description primarily focuses on cleaning and maintaining the building, he goes above and beyond his basic responsibilities, constantly engaging with students, helping teachers, and serving the entire school community in any way he can.
Franklin County Schools Supt. Mark Kopp said, “Josh exemplifies the kind of customer oriented attitude we want in every FCS employee. It’s an attitude of finding ways to help, finding ways to get things done and finding ways to grow better in everything we do. That falls perfectly in line with our theme for this school year, which is growth: We want to grow our district in every way possible, to make it better each day. Josh is an integral part in making that happen. We are fortunate to have him on our team.”
Peaks Mill Principal Dana Blankenship said, “We are so fortunate to have Josh at Peaks Mill. He is an outstanding employee with an outstanding attitude, and he connects so well with our students, serving as a mentor and role model. Every member of our staff is aware of the important role Josh plays in our school’s culture. It’s amazing how much a single person can contribute to making our school a better place for kids to learn and grow.”
On Friday, KASA recognized the three finalists, and selected one, Rita Renfrow a Classroom Assistant from the Butler County Schools, as the statewide winner of the 2018 Fred Award. According to KASA, the Fred Award is a favorite for KASA members, drawing in nominations from school districts across the commonwealth each year. It was inspired by Fred Shea, the postman who became the subject of Mark Sanborn’s national best seller, “The Fred Factor,” and recognizes non-administrative staff, students, and volunteers statewide whose daily efforts are deemed extraordinary and integral to a positive learning atmosphere in their school communities. The other finalist was Bryan Tackett, a school resource officer from the Russell Independent Schools.