Council Bluffs Community School District announced its employees of the year last week.
The honorees include Todd Auffart, network specialist, 2021 Support Staff Member of the Year; Terrence McGurren, TradeWorks instructor at Thomas Jefferson High School, 2021 Licensed Staff Member of the Year; and Bridgette Bellows, principal at Abraham Lincoln High School, 2021 Principal of the Year.
Auffart, who has been with the district for 33 years, is a “problem solver and a trouble shooter,” according to the person who nominated him.
“In the buildings, we know Todd as the go-to person for our phones, bells and security cameras,” the person wrote. “It is not just what Todd does for us in our front offices but also what he does behind the scenes that makes him so deserving of this honor. On Christmas Eve this school year, ALHS experienced a power outage, where one of the main internet connections in the district is located. Todd spent the next 12 hours (yes, on Christmas Eve) securing the building and getting generators up and running.”
Auffart, like other staff, has made “heroic” efforts during the pandemic, his nominator wrote.
“He was instrumental in setting up the drive-thru Chromebook repair depot,” the person wrote. “Todd built the decontamination room (including a drop slot), staging area and quarantine room for the health and safety of our staff and families.”
Auffart has also played an important role in the renovations of Kirn and Wilson Middle Schools.
“At Kirn, Todd assisted the security contractor, made sure the heating and air contractor had connectivity and that all the additions were added to the security camera system,” the person wrote. “At Wilson, he removed more than 9.5 miles of outdated low voltage cable and has installed 40,000 feet of new cabling to ensure internet connectivity and to operationalize the new security system.
“Finally, it is worth noting that Todd has served our country for many years in the Army National Guard. He has been deployed many times, and we are grateful he chooses to also be part of our school district.”
Terrence McGurren, who has been with the district for four years, has helped make the TradeWorks Academy launch successful, his nominator wrote.
“From planning and implementation of curriculum to hosting donors, the media, future students, industry partners and even the governor of Iowa, Terrence has demonstrated his keen investment in students and their success after high school,” the person wrote.
McGurren recruited Nate Clausen to co-teach with him at TJ.
“Together, they have spent countless hours creating lessons for each of the five areas of the academy and then refining them each year so that it is a seamless learning experience for their students.
“Terrence also works with students after school on their SkillsUSA projects and demonstrates his belief that the leadership and technical skills taught through this program will make students marketable in the industry,” his nominator wrote.
That has resulted in strong student participation in the program and many continuing their studies at Iowa Western Community College.
“Thanks to the vision of Dr. Murillo, Dr. Rassekh, the Board of Education and Terrence, Council Bluffs is now a leader in skills training for high school students,” the person wrote.
Bridgette Bellows has been with the district for 15 years and served as an assistant principal at Abraham Lincoln before being promoted to principal in 2015.
“Bridgette Bellows is a true leader who walks the walk,” her nominator wrote. “She has a large knowledge base and is able to not only share information but also model and teach it. She is collaborative, caring and is an engaging colleague, able to establish and maintain quality relationships with students, staff and families.”
Bellows is both empathetic and realistic, her nominator wrote.
“With her high expectations, she works to ensure students and staff have what they need to be successful,” the person wrote. “She is an advocate who always supports students and staff in their personal growth. She is trusted, solution-focused and always keeps students and their success at the center of her work.”