The Copper Country Association of School Boards holds an annual awards ceremony to recognize students, employees and community members from area schools who have made a significant meritorious impact on the educational system. All nominations must meet a specific set of criteria. (Click here to view criteria PDF Format.) Awards are also presented at the ceremony to local school boards and individual school board members who have reached milestones in the Michigan Association of School Boards’ Board Member Awards Program.

The following individuals from the CCISD were presented with awards for the 2017-18 school year at a dinner ceremony on April 18, 2018, at the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn. Information is also provided concerning this year’s area-wide Copper Country Leadership Award recipient.

Outstanding Education Employee Award: Mike Richardson

Mike is the Director of REMC and has been in charge of I.T. services.  In 2005, Mike created Support Net. Support Net was conceived as a joint effort to improve technical support services in our small, rural schools.  Support Net was and is intended to meet a number of needs, including: improved reliability and usability of technology systems, support continuity, implementation of best practices, real-time on-demand support through a centralized full-time help desk, and enhanced technology integration.

In 2005, Support Net started working with 12 school districts and supporting 2500 computers in 6 counties.  Under Mike’s guidance, Support Net has continued to grow.  Support Net now supports over 8100 computers for 20 school districts and 10 other agencies, such as Finlandia, the Western U.P. Health Department and the Houghton County Road Commission, just to name a few. Just in the last year alone, Support Net has handled over 4000 calls for assistance.

Mike had a vision on how to help not only our schools, but our community as a whole.  It is evident by the way Support Net has grown over the last 13 years, Mike’s vision has come to fruition.

School Service Award: Karyn Juntunen

Karyn has been the teacher of the Community Transition Program operated by CCISD for adults with moderate cognitive impairments for the last 19 years.  Karyn works with the students to increase their independent living and work skills, their functional academic skills, and their ability to participate in the community.  Karyn has used the greenhouse that was located at Copper Country Mental Health for years with her students, planting early in the spring, tending the herb, flower, and vegetable plants, and then selling them at her hoop greenhouse outside the AutoValue building where the Program is located.  When CCMH asked Karyn if she wanted the Greenhouse building before they took it down, she said, “Yes!”  She has since become the Greenhouse Project Manager; she has initiated the planning for relocating the Greenhouse to the CCISD grounds, has engaged community groups in conversation about the project, has organized fundraising, and is currently beginning to plan the groundbreaking and work of erecting the building with the help of U.P. Architects and Engineers. The greenhouse will be available to the CCISD Learning Center Programs for science lessons, projects, fundraising work, and work-based learning opportunities.  Karyn is bringing the greenhouse to the CCISD, where it may also be used by our local districts.

Student Leadership Award: Kylie Rauvala

Kylie Rauvala made the most of her final year attending the High School Mild Cognitive Impairment classroom, operated by CCISD and located at Hancock High School.  Kylie is a very well-liked student at Hancock High School and it was made even more evident when she was voted the Wing Ding Queen (Hancock’s Winter Homecoming) by the entire student body. Kylie proudly supported the Bulldogs at both the basketball and hockey games wearing her crown while countless people stopped her and congratulated her on her win!

Earlier in the fall, Kylie asked if there was anything that we could do to raise money for a non-profit organization called Dimes for Downs.  This organization grants “wishes” to people with Down’s Syndrome.  She has Down’s Syndrome herself.  Kylie brought this idea to the newly formed Student Body Council at Hancock High School and they made it one of their first initiatives.  Along with help from Kylie, before Christmas, the Student Body Council placed jugs around the community with fliers that explained the cause.  Each of the fliers had a beautiful picture of Kylie’s smiley face, which we are sure helped to raise the money!  The jugs were then picked up and Kylie, along with Hancock’s Student Body Council, raised $1200 for Dimes for Downs!

Kylie is truly an inspiration to anyone who is fortunate enough to cross paths with her.  She has a heart of gold and a great, positive attitude.

Pictured above: Robert Loukus, CCISD Board Treasurer; Mike Richardson; Kylie Rauvala; Karyn Juntunen; and Bob Tuomi, CCISD Board President.

Copper Country Education Leadership Award: Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA)

The Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) is the private, non-profit local economic development organization serving the Baraga, Houghton, and Keweenaw County Region.  KEDA’s Vision is to become a community driven by leaders to be the best at utilizing our technology, education and business assets to build a diverse economic base that leverages and develops the unique strengths of each county and its people.  KEDA’s mission is to engage community leadership to start, retain, grow and attract companies that will increase the wealth of the region through a holistic and collaborative strategy that builds on the assets and opportunities present in the region.

KEDA has many goals, and one of those goals is to Develop and Attract Talent.  KEDA believes strongly in the developing of local talent.  So, in 2013, KEDA created a Skilled Trades Scholarship for every local high school in the Copper Country.  For the last five years, KEDA has handed out a $500 scholarship to a local senior from every high school.  KEDA invites the local winners to their monthly meeting in May and makes a nice presentation of each individual award for the students.  The money raised for the scholarships comes from a special event every year, hosted by KEDA.  At the event, there is a silent auction featuring many unique items donated by members of KEDA and other community members who feel that these scholarships are an important part of developing local talent here in the Copper Country.  This year’s event was so successful, that KEDA will now be giving out a $1,000 scholarship to all local high schools.

During the last three years, KEDA was also instrumental in its backing of the Career and Technical Education millage.  KEDA provided many opportunities for presentations and discussions on the benefits of CTE.

It is because of KEDA’s goal of developing talent locally, by providing scholarships to all local high schools and supporting CTE Copper Country wide, that the Copper Country Association of School Boards proudly awarded KEDA with the Area-wide Education Leadership Award.


Pictured above: Joan Bugni, CCASB President (L’Anse); and Ron Fisher, Chairman of the KEDA Board 

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