Vote: Who's the 2011 Person of the Year? You Decide

We received seven nominations for the 2011 Person of the Year; now, you decide who wins with your vote.

The nominations are in.

The readers of Patch 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 ryan.martin@patch.com.

Here are the nominees, listed in alphabetical order by last name...

Steve Bowman

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.

Robert Dillon

Dr. Robert Dillon is in his second year as principal of . 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."

Linda Henke

As superintendent of 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."

Keith Herring

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 used by the Brentwood School District to hire Herring, who replaced former . 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

Donna MacDonald serves on the 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

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 and with the . 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 , 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

Maureen Saunders was nominated for dedicating "many hours and much emotional energy into keeping on top of the 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 . 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."

Elizabeth Edelmann December 07, 2011 at 11:31 PM
Maureen Saunders has been involved in the betterment of Brentwood since she came here. She participates and becomes involved in all school and city decisions for the good of the community.
Elizabeth Edelmann December 07, 2011 at 11:32 PM
Maureen Saunders has been involved in the betterment of Brentwood since she became a resident. She becomes involved in and participates in school and city decisions for the good of the community.
Ryan Martin (Editor) December 09, 2011 at 02:41 PM
We're up to about 350 votes with Maureen Saunders in the lead. Remember: the voting continues until 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
Ryan Martin (Editor) December 11, 2011 at 03:21 PM
With more than 1,000 votes cast, John Sappington has taken the lead with about half of them. The voting continues until 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
Mary Kunce December 11, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Seems like only Brentwood patch readers are voting. Perhaps next time we have one person of the year for Brentwood, and one for Maplewood
Joseph Mansker December 12, 2011 at 06:39 PM
John Sappington is one of the most quality people I know........JS for president!
Maureen Saunders December 13, 2011 at 12:23 AM
I have not visited this polling part of this site until today. Everyone nominated has made a wonderful contribution to Brentwood. John Sappington is one of the most genuine people i know. He is currently coaching my son in basketball out of the goodness of his heart along with the help of Dan Williams. Seamus loves the team. I really don't feel i deserve the nomination but am touched that someone was thinking of me. The neat thing about Brentwood is that we all come together with different strengths and weaknesses and work to make Brentwood a wonderful city. We are all blessed to call this home. Maureen Saunders
John Sappington December 13, 2011 at 03:21 PM
I agree with Elizebeth Edelmann on her comments about Maureen. I appreciate the nomination but am not deserving. All the people nominated and many, many more dedicate time to worthy causes including parents like Elizebeth. I am pretty much Dan's Williams side kick. What I do is more of a hobby and keeps me out of trouble and I get the benefit of being able to interact with great kids like Seamus, Mike Mills, and Jacob Clay etc. that keep me moving. The issues that Maureen are tackling effect all of the residents in the community young and old presently and in the future. God Bless John Sappington
Maggie Saunders December 13, 2011 at 04:59 PM
I agree Mr. Sappington and Maureen (mom) everyone on this list is worthy of praise. Mom obviously I see how hard you work. Mr. Sappington Seamus enjoys playing basketball on your team so much and watching the games and seeing his enjoyment warms my heart. What you and Dan Williams are doing for these boys is so wonderful, and since they'll be in high school next year they will have played on the court they'll be on next year. So both of you, and everyone thank you for making Brentwood the town I am so unbelievably proud and blessed to live in.
Dan Williams December 14, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Then Lori Herring Keiths wife knows about being the coachs wife. She has helped organize numerous team fundraisers, given up the TV at home countless number of times for keith to work on football, is there for keith during the good & bad times after a win or a loss. Believe me nobody has it worse after a loss than the coach, because you always critique yourself on what you could have done better to help your kids. She also deals with Keith being gone most of the summer with workouts, & late nights when Keith is at the school working on practice plans, scouting, & preparing the team daily. She sometimes gets Keith when he is at his very worst & also has to step in to handle the kids/familys schedule at home during Keiths absence; rides, school events, helping with homework, or being at her daughters soccer games because Keith is coaching. Steve, Robert, Keith, Linda, Donna, John, & Maureen you all represent the pride of our communities! I know you all try to do things on the down low & don't like to be recognized, but take a bow regardless of the winner all of you help to make our communities the best!!!
Dan Williams December 14, 2011 at 07:41 PM
And if anybody does read this Please Please vote for Maureen Saunders for Alderwoman!!! She will truly look out for our best interests at City Hall
Dan Williams December 14, 2011 at 07:57 PM
I disagree with you John. You are absolutely derserving, in fact all of the nominees are very derserving & do a huge amount for our communities!!! Ryan maybe next year you look to honor all of the nominees & crown one for Maplewood & one for Brentwood. Matter of fact if you look at the 4 Brentwood nominees their spouses are also very worthy of this award as well. Matt Saunders has been a volunteer coach for years, STMMAA President for years, & I see him at almost every athletic event working concessions, raking baseball fields, preparing soccer fields, etc. Toni Bowman has also worked tirelessly on the spirit, prepared numerous team dinners, volunteered at BHS countless number of times. Suzanne Sappington has been actively involved in the Mark Twain PTO, BMS & BHS. Prepared meals for the football team, helped pto BHS. Planted & kept up the garden at Mark Twain. Just Sun she was working our middle school concession stand. Volunteered anytime anyone has asked no matter the cause. With 5 boys/men going thru the Sappington home & numerous guests Suzanne deals with testosterine overdose on a regular and daily basis... And she has put up with John for years which like my wife might actually qualify her for sainthood!!! :)
Maggie Saunders December 14, 2011 at 08:03 PM
I am in total agreement with you Mr. Williams, and heck your name should be up there is well. There are so many people that have been assets to our community. And it really is an honor that we live in a community that has such support from the families. The whole city of Brentwood should be recognized. Football games, basketball games are all attended by families who don't even have kids playing for the team. The middle schoolers are at everyone of them! The crowd on the Brentwood side is always full. And it is all because of volunteers that all of this happens. Parents whose kids have graduated still work the concession stands which just shows how amazing our community truly is. So Brentwood everyone take a bow!!
Ryan Martin (Editor) December 15, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Wow — we had a combined 9,196 total votes cast in our Person of the Year poll. Thank you so much to everyone who supported this effort, and thanks to everyone nominated for their contributions to the community! With 6357 votes (69 percent), Maureen Saunders has been named 2011 Person of the Year in Maplewood-Brentwood. Technically speaking, folks can still vote in the poll, but voting has concluded for the Person of the Year. The final numbers are recorded below: — Steve Bowman - 104 — Robert Dillon - 53 — Linda Henke - 96 — Keith Herring - 109 — Donna MacDonald - 55 — John Sappington - 2422 — Maureen Saunders - 6357 Total votes: 9196
Dan Williams December 16, 2011 at 06:38 AM
Congratulations Maureen!!!


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