In photo above from left: Director of Education Brenda Blancher, Board Chair Greg Anderson and Ted McCleister present Melanie Kraemer with the Patti McCleister Memorial Award

Patti McCleister Memorial Award Recipient Helped Turn Field of Dreams into a Reality


The Kiwanis Field in Brantford might still be a field of dreams if it weren’t for Melanie Kraemer, Teacher at Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School, who is this year’s recipient of the Patti McCleister Memorial award, the highest honour bestowed upon a Grand Erie employee.

Right: Melanie Kraemer is presented with the Patti McCleister Memorial Award from Ted McCleister, while Board Chair Greg Anderson looks on.

“Melanie’s hard work and dedication in seeing this project through began a decade ago,” said Greg Anderson, Chair of the Grand Erie District School Board. “Her efforts have been crucial in adding this amazing resource to Pauline Johnson as well as providing a community asset that will be used for generations to come. Melanie has been a tireless force behind the scenes, and Grand Erie is very proud to be able to recognize her.”

Kraemer, who co-chaired the Kiwanis Field committee, also activated the community connections necessary to bring the $3.5 million project to fruition. The result of Kraemer’s leadership and dedication was the opening of the facility in 2016. The project also wouldn’t have been possible without the more than 100 community partners who were inspired to contribute to it.

Since the field’s opening, Kraemer has continued to provide leadership and support to the project through the organization of annual fundraisers for equipment, and the hosting of events which utilize the field for feeder schools and community members. Additionally, as Pauline Johnson’s staff advisor to the school’s Students’ Council and the lead on several school events, Kraemer is inspiring and developing leadership capacity within her students as well.

Right: Neil Stamer, far right, who nominated Melanie Kraemer for the Patti McCleister Memorial Award joins Director of Education Brenda Blancher, Board Chair Greg Anderson and Ted McCleister.

“There is no one in our school community who has not been positively affected by the efforts Melanie contributes,” said Neal Stamer, Teacher at Pauline Johnson, who, along with fellow educators Tammy Legros and Meredith Clarke, put forward the nomination for Kraemer. “She has an innate drive to overcome obstacles in order to achieve what’s best for students.”

The Patti McCleister Memorial Award is given annually to a Grand Erie employee who exemplifies outstanding leadership, inspires others, and is a driving force in realizing the board’s goal of Success for Every Student.

Kraemer was presented with the award by Anderson, Director of Education Brenda Blancher, and Patti McCleister’s husband, Ted McCleister, during last night’s Board meeting (September 23).

“This is a huge honour, especially when I look back at who else has won this award in past years, and consider the reputation Patti McCleister had,” said Kraemer, who was first hired as a Secondary Teacher in Grand Erie in 2002 and has a long history at Pauline Johnson, having attended the school as a student. “I’m certainly in good company, and I get so much back from the students.”

Patti McCleister was Grand Erie’s Training and Development Officer, a valuable team member and an inspiration to many. She passed away in 2013 after a battle with cancer. Her memorial award is the highest honour given to a Grand Erie employee and embodies McCleister’s legacy of passion, creativity and commitment to leadership.

Photos by Grand Erie Communications

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