WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Juvenile Court’s chief probation officer has been presented with the 2o16 Clinton County Friend of Education Award.
The award honoree, Deanne Whalen, was recognized during the 19th annual dinner-meeting of administrators and boards of education members from the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center (SOESC) four-county service area.
Each year, superintendents are asked to nominate members of the community as Friends of Education — individuals or organizations that have contributed greatly to successes in the schools.
Whalen began her career with the Clinton County Juvenile Court system in January 1990 as a college intern. During the past 26 years, she has worked closely with Clinton County school administrators, families and students, according to remarks delivered prior to the award presentation.
“She has worked diligently in developing creative options for the courts and families to prevent students from incarceration or probation. However, as you may be aware, high school students don’t always hold up their end of the bargain and there have been times when Deanne has had to be the ‘bad guy’,” said Tony Long, SOESC superintendent.
“Deanne has the uncanny ability to show both compassion and a tough demeanor, transforming the lives of hundreds of students in Clinton County,” Long added in the introductory comments.
In Whalen’s current role as chief probation officer, she is responsible among other things for matching probation officers with youths and for bringing summer interns to oversee community service work experiences.
She grew up in the Sabina area and is a graduate of East Clinton High School where she was a star athlete in basketball and softball. She graduated in 1992 from Wilmington College with a degree in criminal justice.
In 2004 Whalen was inducted into the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2006 she was inducted into the Wilmington College Athletic Hall of Fame. Since 2006, Whalen has been a volunteer basketball coach for Special Olympics.
She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and serves on several county and regional boards, Long said.
Also recognized at the SOESC event was Stephenie Eriksson, an English language arts teacher at Blanchester High School.
Eriksson was recognized for being one of 10 finalists for the Ohio Department of Education’s Ohio Teacher of the Year honor.
A national board certified teacher, Eriksson has worked with the Ohio Writing Project at Miami University and the National Writing Project. She has completed projects for the public television stations in Cincinnati and Dayton.
One of Eriksson’s nominators said students have a true desire to be in her classroom.
“She does an amazing job of integrating 21st-century technology into her daily teaching. In addition, Mrs. Eriksson regularly mentors and supports pre-service teachers from Wilmington College, passing along her passion and expertise to new and aspiring teachers,” according to introductory remarks.
Neighboring Lynchburg-Clay Elementary was recognized for being chosen a National Blue Ribbon School.
“Lynchburg-Clay is only the second school in our region to receive this prestigious award. Putman Elementary in the Blanchester Local Schools received the award in 2011,” Long said.
R. Kirk Hamilton, Ph.D., the executive director of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, was guest speaker for the event held at Laurel Oaks Career Development Center.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.