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Past Excellence in Education Award Recipients

2023 Excellence in Education Winners

2023 excellence in awards winners

Leigh Kleinert, Roel Garcia, and Janis Qualls 

Grand Rapids Community College held its Opening Day celebration on August 24, 2023, where we honored three employees for their outstanding work with students and the community. The Excellence in Education awards have been a longstanding tradition at GRCC, recognizing the contributions of dedicated employees. Here are the awardees for this year:

Faculty Award: Leigh Kleinert, Biology professor

  • Leigh Kleinert has been recognized for her exceptional contributions that advances our institutional mission and vision and her commitment to educating students. 
  • One colleague wrote, “Leigh goes above and beyond to educate our students and community. She strives to advance knowledge of the STEM fields as well as excel in scholarship, leadership, and service.  Leigh stands out for her excellence in the biology and honors classrooms, her service to the College, her community service, her professional development, and her overall excellence as a GRCC educator.”  Her dedication to teaching and support for student success have earned her the Faculty Award.

Adjunct Award: Roel Garcia, English adjunct instructor

  • Roel Garcia is a dedicated adjunct instructor in English and has made a significant impact on students, the educational community and his local community.  His nominator stated, “Roel is adored by students because he is firstly compassionate and also very approachable.  He interacts with students in a way that offers humor, genuine care, and availability. He stays beyond his class hours, within the classroom and on campus.”  He has an established rapport with his students and has a “charismatic, actorly approach to teaching. He combines fun with serious study.”
  • This award acknowledges Roel's valuable role in providing instruction and support to our students.

Staff Award: Janis Qualls, support professional in both Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences

  • Janis Qualls has received the Staff Award for her dedication and contributions as a support professional in both the Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences departments. Her work is evidently appreciated and vital to the functioning of these departments.
  • Her colleagues shared that Janis is committed to following up with students to ensure that all their needs are met and making sure that they are aware of resources available on campus. She is instrumental in serving students and employees who need guidance, assisting at student events, organizing community service projects and departmental celebrations.

Congratulations to Leigh Kleinert, Roel Garcia, and Janis Qualls for their well-deserved recognition and contributions to GRCC!

Roel GarciaAdjunct, English2023
Leigh KleinertFaculty, Biology2023
Janis QuallsStaff, Biological & Physical Sciences2023
Marne ApoloAdjunct, Language and Thought2022
Werner AbsengerFaculty, Secchia Institute of Culinary Education2022
Victoria JanowiakMeet & Confer, Operational Planning2022
Michael MichewiczAdjunct, Music2021
Michelle RichterFaculty, Nursing2021
Lori CookMeet & Confer, Admissions and Enrollment2021
Lynn PrinceAdjunct, English2020
William FaberFaculty, Physical Sciences2020
Sandy GregoryAPSS, Student Success & Retention2020
Barb BouthuillierAdjunct, Mathematics2019
Sarah RoseFaculty, Occupational Support2019
Deb DeWentMeet & Confer, Instructional Support2019
Julie SpahnAdjunct, English2018
Brian DailyFaculty, Academic Support & Tutoring Services2018
JaneAnn BensonMeet & Confer, Preschool2018
Tom MulderAdjunct, English2017
Lynnae SelbergFaculty, Counseling2017
Lorena Aguayo-MarquezAPSS, Adult Education2017
Yelena WellsAdjunct, Music2016
Mike KlawitterFaculty, Library2016
Laura DeVriesAPSS, English2016
Lynn JansenAdjunct, Occupational Therapy2015
Nikki BanksFaculty, Criminal Justice2015
Amy BennettAPSS, Exercise Science2015
Mary Beth O'RourkeAdjunct, Physical Sciences/Mathematics2014
Tom NeilsFaculty, Chemistry2014
MaryKay BethuneMeet & Confer, Financial Aid2014
Cheryl KatzAdjunct, Computer Information Systems2013
Judy JankowskiFaculty, Psychology2013
Nanci GuigueAPSS, School of Workforce Development2013
Dawn CheikhAdjunct, Language & Thought2012
Mike KidderMeet & Confer, Secchia Institute for Culinary Education2012
Diane SparksFaculty, Education & Child Development2012
Melanie ForbesAdjunct, Mathematics2011
Laurie WitczakESP, Academic Support Center2011
John DerschFaculty, Mathematics2011
Julie ParksMeet & Confer, Training Solutions2010
Steve AbidFaculty, Social Sciences2010
Bob PartridgeExempt, Business & Financial Services2009
Joe HesseFaculty, Physical Science2008
Bruce MorrisonMeet & Confer, Institutional Research2008
Linda SpoelmanFaculty, English2007
Becky YoderMeet & Confer, Applied Technology Center2007
Laurie FosterFaculty, Biological Sciences2006
Chris ArnoldMeet & Confer, Diversity Learning Center2006
Klaas KwantMeet & Confer, Media Technologies2005
Mike KasperlikFaculty, Radiological Technology2005
Marianne PiersonESP, Student Affairs2004
Marilyn SmidtFaculty, Nursing2004
Peg BurnsMeet & Confer, Financial Services2003
James CheslaFaculty, Mathematics2003
Lynn AsperFaculty, Performing Arts2002
Donna KragtMeet & Confer, Institutional Research2002
Elias LumpkinsMeet & Confer, Student & Alumni Services2001
Sandra AndrewsFaculty, Physical Sciences2001
Sue MerizonMeet & Confer, Information Technology2000
Fred SebulskeFaculty, Performing Arts2000
Jan & Jerry BenhamMeet & Confer1999
Alice DonahueFaculty, Occupational Therapy Assistant Program1998
Eric FlynnMeet & Confer, Information Technology1997
David FortunaCEBA, Custodian1996
Roger DeVriesFaculty, Physical Sciences1995
Don BoyerMeet & Confer, Dean1994
Duane DavisFaculty, Performing Arts1993
Earl MandevilleMeet & Confer, Financial Aid1992
Marinus SwetsMeet & Confer, Dean1991
Robert LongFaculty, Biological Sciences1990
Dee PalmerESP, Dean's Office1989