Blessed Sacrament School, a part of the Aquinas Catholic Schools, has another recognition to add to the list.
Principal Kay Berra received the 2018 Kohl Principal Leadership Award from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. Kay Berra was nominated by Ted Knutson, the president of Aquinas Catholic Schools, for the Kohl Principal Leadership Award. This is a prestigious recognition that only a handful of principals across the state of Wisconsin have received.
Blessed Sacrament School is adding another award to the wall of recognition as you enter the main lobby. The school was a Blue Ribbon Award winner last year and now a Kohl Award winner this year. Berra said of the award, "The Kohl Foundation recognizes sixteen principals in the state of Wisconsin. Four of which can come from non-public schools. I am very, very honored to be a recipient of this 2018 Kohl Leadership Award."
The process was rigorous and required letters of recommendation from different perspectives. A parent's point of view who has had two children learn under Berra may be the most important. Roxie Tobin, a parent of a couple students from Blessed Sacrament School says, "She is a model servant-leader for our children. As a parent there, I don't know that there's much rewarding to know that when you're children aren't with you, that they are in an environment, or school, that is being led by someone with those characteristics."
Principal Kay's interactive servant-leader style is put on display everyday. It is just one role she excels at. Roxie added, "She may be Mrs. Berra the substitute teacher. She could be serving food in the kitchen line, or she could be changing the garbage cans. She wears so many hats, so to define her simply as a principal is a huge understatement."
Kay's contagious characteristics inspire students and teachers alike. Mary Erickson, a guidance counselor with Blessed Sacrament School, and Maureen Grenisen, a teacher at the school say, "She is always looking out for the interest of the child. The after school clubs; she encourages us to do them and it benefits us as well. She just is always innovative and thinking of new things. She does a wonderful job."
Kay's brain is always working even if she is not. Mary and Maureen added, "Kay always says, 'You know, sometimes I'm up at night and I get these ideas'. Then she presents them at faculty meetings. Even during Lent; she had a new idea for Lent. Principal Kay Berra's resounding principles about leadership and education are what make her a top principal in the state of Wisconsin."
The Kohl Principal Leadership Award was introduced in Wisconsin about three years ago with Kay being the first recipient from the La Crosse area. As the award recipient, Kay will receive a six thousand dollar grant for her own continued education and it doesn't stop there. Blessed Sacrament School will also receive a six thousand dollar grant. Principal Kay intends on using this allowance to provide the best benefits to the most amount of students.
As of August 2017, the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation has awarded a total of roughly $14.5 million dollars to Wisconsin educators, students, and schools.