Two JCPRD staff members recently received Johnson County Leadership in Action awards for 2020.
The recipients are Human Resources Manager David Grant and Children’s Services Manager Jennifer Anderson. The awards were announced during JCPRD’s annual employee meeting on Feb. 15. Both awards relate to the staff member’s handling of matters relating to the pandemic.
Leadership in Action is a County-wide recognition where, on an annual basis, supervisors nominate employees who have demonstrated extraordinary performance, contributions, and acts of leadership.
HR Manager David Grant was nominated for the LIA award for his work in serving more than 900 JCPRD staff members through several complex transitions and changes related to COVID-19.
“David shouldered these immense responsibilities with a positive attitude and led his staff through the mountain of paperwork associated with it,” the nomination states. “He quickly became the subject matter expert on all things COVID and all things furlough, which included continuation of benefits, communication ahead of furloughs, communication during furloughs, fielding questions about the state benefits process, and constantly-changing federal benefits. As JCPRD division superintendents and administrative leadership, we recognize the intricacies of these issues and the hardships of staff as they moved through them.“
After the transition back to work after stay at home orders, Grant shifted his attention to fielding questions related to suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. This included assessing each unique situation, working closely with the health department, assisting with contact tracing, communicating to staff and work groups, and advising on a number of complex scenarios.
“He carried our team through the complexities of leave, benefits, and hundreds of individual scenarios that had to be handled one by one. He listened, genuinely empathized, and tried to share any guidance that would assist staff in their personal journeys. He took calls at all hours of the day, nights, and weekends, particularly during the furlough period. At a time when many staff might have felt alone and abandoned, David took on a critical role as a coach, encourager, and subject matter expert on things he had just learned himself.”
Children’s Services Manager Jennifer Anderson oversees JCPRD’s Out of School Time programs in four school districts (Shawnee Mission, Gardner-Edgerton, Olathe, and De Soto) with a total of 66 sites. She was nominated for her leadership of the department during this unprecedented year.
“When schools shut down due to the Stay-at-Home order, Jennifer worked directly with our HR department to ease the majority of her staff into the furlough process,” the nomination states. “Throughout these first two to three months, she worked with her staff to keep a sense of ‘team’ - whether furloughed or not - no small feat with this large group.”
Throughout May, she worked with her staff, the Johnson County Health Department, and the school districts to determine how 36 indoor summer camps could take place amid the pandemic. This involved dealing with constant changes in how camps would need to operate, reassuring anxious parents, hiring 100 additional staff for new check-in/check-out procedures and protocols, ordering and teaching staff to use personal protective equipment, and getting staff back into the hastily-closed schools to prepare their areas for camps.
In the fall, she led the effort to bring JCPRD Out of School Time programs back safely into the schools, while also working to establish a total of 12 new learning hubs for middle- or elementary school students. She also worked with JCPRD’s finance department on CARES Act funding to assist in providing high-quality educational programs to Johnson County families during the pandemic.
“Jennifer led her staff to meet each school district’s expectations and requirements, all while putting the families of those districts first and foremost in her decision process,” the nomination states. “Her ultimate goal is serving these families and she has done it to a level of excellence - no surprise.”