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Brainerd school employees honored with Above and Beyond Awards

Nicole Harmer, Sandy Loney, and Connie Christensen are recipients of Brainerd Public Schools'2018 Above and Beyond Award. Submitted photo

Brainerd Public Schools presented 2018 Above and Beyond Awards to three employees Monday, Aug. 27: Connie Christensen, Nicole Harmer and Sandy Loney.

The Above and Beyond Awards annually recognize employees who demonstrate a positive attitude that inspires others and consistently goes above and beyond what is expected so students can be successful.

Christensen has worked for Brainerd Public Schools for 20 years, most recently as the building secretary at Brainerd Learning Center.

"Students flock to her because of her non-judgmental attitude and caring demeanor," Jessica Haapajoki, Brainerd Learning Center principal, said in a news release. "She undoubtedly has a million other things to do; however, she drops those to make connections with our students. She has helped students, staff and parents in ways that extend far beyond a typical secretarial role."

Harmer is a science teacher at Brainerd High School and was previously chosen as the 2017 Brainerd Teacher of the Year. Her nomination letters said she has a "phenomenal zest for the subject she teaches and complete adoration for her students."

Loney is a science teacher at Forestview Middle School.

"(Loney) is an environmentalist, a humanitarian, but first and foremost, always an educator," Tammy Stellmach, Baxter Elementary principal, said in a news release. "She has a never-ending devotion to and energy for helping third-world countries through efforts to improve freshwater situations by adding wells and sanitation and hygiene education. She coordinates Water Week fundraising efforts that to date have raised over $57,000 and impacted over 30 schools in places such as Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico."

All school district employees are eligible for this award, and anyone can nominate. Nominations are gathered every spring. An announcement will be made when nomination forms are available at