The nominations are in.
The readers of Patch submitted seven nominations for the 2011 Person of the Year in Maplewood-Brentwood. Now, it's time for you to decide who wins by casting your vote in the poll below. We'll accept your votes until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Then we'll name the Person of the Year. He or she will be recognized with a feature story on Patch later this month.
Be sure to tell your friends to support the person you believe should be named Person of the Year! Any questions? Email me at email@example.com.
Here are the nominees, listed in alphabetical order by last name...
In 2011, Steve Bowman, with his wife Toni, launched The Brentwood Spirit, a community website solely dedicated to stories in and about Brentwood. Steve and his camera are present at nearly every school and community event, and his work has helped build the community.
Dr. Robert Dillon is in his second year as principal of Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School. He was nominated for his positive outlook, dedication to students and parents, and innovation in education. Dillon is on a constant journey to improve not only his own work, but the work of those around him. A note from the man who nominated Dillon: "How else does one school or one child improve than by inspired teachers who they themselves feel are on a journey of self improvement? Bob indeed is doing all that and then some."
As superintendent of Maplewood Richmond Heights schools, Dr. Linda Henke has orchestrated the transformation of the school district. MRH was on the verge of losing its accreditation but has become a district filled with talented and inspiring students, teachers and families. From the man who nominated her: "She has served the Maplewood and Richmond Heights communities with a vision for our kids. She has made this a better place by creating a learning community that supports their body, mind and spirits. We are now a school district of distinction that is doing great things for kids."
In his first year as head coach, Keith Herring coached the football Eagles to a 7-4 record and district championship. Herring's performance was under constant scrutiny, as many community members were upset about the process used by the Brentwood School District to hire Herring, who replaced former head coach Scott Surgener. Herring ignored the distractions and, instead, created a winning environment where students were celebrated for their on-the-field performance and, more importanty, their total life experience. As one reader put it: Herring invigorated the football Eagles program.
Donna MacDonald serves on the Maplewood Richmond Heights Elementary PTO. She is committed to the improvement of the school for the students, families and teachers. Donna organizes a group of parents to prepare homecooked meals for teachers during parent-teacher conferences. She attends monthly coffee session with parents and brown bag lunches with principals. She plans parties and helps with fundraising efforts. A note from the man who nominated Donna: "Donna's committment to helping make MRHE a better place for our students, families, and teachers is much appreciated by all! Thanks for all that you do!"
John Sappington is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off of his back. He has volunteered and coached baseball, basketball and football programs at St. Mary Magdalen and with the Junior Eagles. Even when none of his kids are on the teams, John volunteers to help because he wants to make sure that every kid gets a chance to play sports in Brentwood. When students from St. Louis City play on Junior Eagles teams through Brentwood's voluntary desegregation program, John is always willing to help pick up or drop off kids. A note from the man who nominated John: "John has taken a very active role in bettering the community and school district. He just goes and goes and goes..."
Maureen Saunders was nominated for dedicating "many hours and much emotional energy into keeping on top of the developing scandals in Brentwood city government," notes the man who nominated her. "She attended many meetings and didn't hesitate to ask the tough questions of city officials. She walked the streets of Brentwood and visited people in many social settings to get signatures on a petition seeking an independent audit. She has continued to stay on the scene to make our government more transparent, more responsive, and more responsible. What's in it for her? A better home town... what we all want."