Mrs. Lori McNeil is a para-educator and nurse assistant at Rutland Town School. She has worked with many students over the course of 27 years in various capacities. It is fitting that she has been chosen from a pool of nominees as the Vermont recipient of the 2022 Delta Kappa Gamma Service to Education Award. Delta Kappa Gamma is an international organization that promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education with membership throughout the state of Vermont.
At Rutland Town School, Lori has worn many hats. Primarily, Lori has worked with children from preK to eighth grade highlighting their strengths and meeting their individual needs with caring, patience, and a positive attitude. Secondly, Lori became the assistant to the school nurse for part of her work day. This responsibility was intensified when students returned to school after quarantine in September of 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lori said every day was different and the health department rules were always being updated and changed. Willing to step in and assist the school nurse, her caring, patience, and positive attitude helped the 360 students and families and over 80 faculty and staff members during the pandemic.
Lori’s day did not end at three o’clock. At the end of the school day, Lori worked with the Tapestry program, first as the Group Leader and then as the After School Site Coordinator. Her goal was to provide a safe, active environment for young children.Lori and her staff brought the Program to Five Stars in the Star Quality Program. Lori used local resources to stimulate and engage the children. There were visits from Vermont Electric Power Company and Vermont Energy Education Program and visits to area lakes and farms to name a few of the many, many activities. Lori continued as the Site Coordinator during the school year and the special Summer Tapestry Program for 17 years, retiring in June of 2019. Our Vermont State Senator who is also a parent of a former Rutland Town School student, State Senator Brian Collamore, emphasized Lori’s leadership with the Tapestry Program. He writes, “I have visited many times after he (his son) graduated and have always been impressed at the quality and fun atmosphere Lori created. You can tell when you walk in that the students are enjoying themselves and are learning fundamental qualities that will make them outstanding future citizens.” Lori’s values continue because some of the children who attended the after school program under her guidance have returned as volunteers in high school and now as paid counselors.
Lori has touched many lives as a paraeducator, nurse’s assistant, and Tapestry group leader and site coordinator. Our school nurse, Lisa Lones, sums up Lori’s dedication by stating, “each of these roles she has tackled with dedication, professionalism and patience. Lori has an honest love of children of any age.” And our school Principal, Mrs. Sarah Tezlaff, credits Lori for helping promote the school’s goals of acceptance, belonging, and caring. “Lori is the fabric of our school and will be greatly missed when she retires at the end of the school year. We know that she will continue to inspire others and make a difference in other children’s lives wherever she goes.”
The Rutland Town School community congratulates Lori as being chosen Vermont State recipient of the DKG Outstanding Service to Education Award!