Bonnie Lee, Jake Manuel recognized as standouts in Delta Region by the Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA)

Last month, as all of the surrounding school board members gathered for their fall regional meeting Germantown Municipal Schools took home several awards. The five-member school board attained “Board of Distinction” status—a first for any municipal school board in our area. To earn enough points to qualify, school board members have attended classes and seminars since the formation of the district. In a similar promotion, both board members Linda Fisher (Level 2) and Lisa Parker (Level 3) both earned enough points to advance a level.


Each year, the school board also has the opportunity to nominate individuals from the district for recognition—and Germantown Municipal Schools’ nominations have won for the region.

Bonnie Lee
TSBA Delta Region Volunteer Recognition
When the school board reached out to each principal and supporting parent organizations one name came back from multiple sources--Bonnie Lee.

Bonnie is the quintessential, supportive PTA mother at Riverdale K-8 school. Heading committees on both the school and district PTAs; working out the meticulous details of school functions and events; spending time getting to know the staff and anticipating their needs; beginning focus groups and organizing parent symposiums; among many of her other volunteer accomplishments make her seem like a regular fixture in the school building.

Past PTO President Amy Jenkins couldn’t have had nicer things to say about Lee. In fact, it was Lee that encouraged her to serve on the PTO. What Lee has to offer her peers (parents and teachers alike) is SUPPORT. “She is thoughtful, caring, dedicated, loyal, and extremely hard working,” says Jenkins.
“She is thoughtful, caring, dedicated, loyal, and extremely hard working,” says Riverdale PTA President Amy Jenkins.

“Bonnie goes above and beyond to provide exceptional volunteer service and fundraising efforts, but takes it a step further—she is interested in educating our students and families in the development of good character, integrity and responsible citizenry,” explains Jenkins.

Riverdale K-8 School offers a world-class education, but Lee felt like it was the parents’ job to take the lessons in the classroom to the next level by involving the community in on the plans. Chief among Lee’s passion projects, she is invested in learning about digital citizenship and helping other parents and the students to learn about the new and foreign, fast-paced internet landscape. Last year, she organized nationally renowned guest speaker Brian Housman to present Tech Savvy Parenting, a symposium open to all parents in the school district. Housman spoke to the parents about digital safety and character development in the age of the smart phone.

Last fall, she arranged a special screening of Screenagers, an award winning film shown to both parents and to all of the middle schoolers in the district. More recently, she has worked with the district’s technology department to administer an online discussion group aimed at parents with questions about technological safeguards in the home. In this forum, parents are free to discuss how much screen time their children are allowed and to share positive parenting strategies.

In addition to character development and internet safety, Lee also advocates for the arts. She works each week in the art department at Riverdale, photographing works of art for the popular (with parents) Artzonia as well helps the art teachers to prepare for their classes. Lee has also written reoccurring grants aimed at increasing art opportunities at the school. With a successful track record of awarded grants, the school has several exterior installations and community spaces thanks in many part to her.

Lee also does much to unify the community over issues, even going so far as to organize a forum for school board candidates to answer student and teacher questions during last year’s election.

Moreover, though, what resonates about Bonnie Lee is not her list of accomplishments, the countless hours of committee work, or her passion projects. Most of the people we interviewed about Lee were left with one takeaway—that she cares.

Several ad hoc examples were cited, whether it was the loss of a beloved PTO mom and it was Lee that organized the Dedicated Care Fund; or it was a change in a personal situation of a staff member and she provided meals and notes of inspiration. It is clear that Bonnie Lee has built relationships with every staff member at Riverdale from teachers to custodial staff. It is also clear that the other parents feel well supported by her.

Bonnie Lee is a visionary leader and an incredible caretaker. Germantown Municipal Schools are fortunate to have her as such a dedicated volunteer.

Jake Manuel
TSBA Delta Region Student Excellence Recognition

Jake Manuel is currently at the top of his class at Houston High where he is enjoying his junior year. Aside from being an academic dynamo, he also holds a position on the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Executive Counsel in an effort to give back. Regular fixtures at SGA events like the Binghampton Trunk or Treat or Easter Egg Hunt, he understands the value of serving in the Greater Memphis Area.

Manuel also serves as the captain of the wrestling team. A well-rounded and deserving student, he has been named the TSBA’s Student Excellence Recognition for 2017.

Both Lee and Manuel will move on to compete against the other regional winners at the state level. We invite you to join us in celebrating them at our next school board meeting on October 23rd, Riverdale Elementary School Multipurpose Room at 6:30pm.
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