Avedis Foundation hosts 'Celebrate Teachers' event

Avedis Foundation
Avedis Foundation President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster, at far right, and Avedis Board Chair Chuck Skillings, at far left, are shown with winners of several door prizes awarded at the event.

The Avedis Foundation hosted its annual “Celebrate Teachers” event for Pottawatomie County educators on Monday, Aug. 9.

The one-day professional development event, offered at no cost to public school teachers, support staff and administrators from Pottawatomie County, was presented as part of the Avedis Foundation’s ongoing commitment to recognize, inspire and motivate teachers through a countywide education initiative.

“Avedis Foundation recognizes the enduring impact of committed educators who truly shape our country’s future,” President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster said. “Like so many other events, our ‘Celebrate Teachers’ series was paused in 2020 due to the pandemic. As our educators rose to the challenge of delivering lesson plans virtually and in-person, Avedis turned its focus to planning an exceptional 2021 event with a superintendent-driven committee that worked all year to ensure its success.”

Pottawatomie County teachers participated in professional development sessions at each district’s home sites throughout the morning. The afternoon session, held at Firelake Arena, featured keynote speaker and award-winning television journalist Dr. Rick Rigsby.

Keynote Speaker for the 2021 Celebrate Teachers event was Dr. Rick Rigsby.

Rigsby has earned international acclaim as a dynamic and inspiring speaker who is a favorite among professional sports organizations, including the NFL and the PGA. During two decades as a college professor, primarily at Texas A&M University, Dr. Rigsby served as character coach and chaplain for the Aggies football team. He is also the author of a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon best seller, Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout.

“It’s been an honor to introduce Dr. Rigsby to our Pottawatomie County educators,” Audrey Seeliger, Avedis Foundation’s director of external relations and special events, said. “Pandemic or not, our teachers make up the ‘front line’ for advancing excellence in education, and we are pleased to offer our ‘Celebrate Teachers’ event as an engaging day of professional growth and development for them.”

Avedis board member Mike Warwick welcomed educators, representing all 15 Pottawatomie County school districts, to the annual event.

“It’s important that we recognize, thank, and celebrate our educators in a meaningful way. The collective talent assembled at this event represents a strong and unified voice for education in Pottawatomie County,” Warwick said.

“Participation in this event continues to grow,” Seeliger said. “Avedis Foundation is especially grateful to the individuals who worked tirelessly in planning the 2021 event: Sarah Weeks, director of business and career services for Gordon Cooper Technology Center; Cindy White, superintendent of Maud Public Schools; Blake Moody, superintendent of North Rock Creek Public Schools; Scott Roper, superintendent of Pleasant Grove Public Schools; April Grace, superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools; and Robert Kinsey, superintendent of Tecumseh Public Schools.”