Kaci Casey, a family resource coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Head Start-Family and Community Partnerships, has been named the recipient of the February 2022 STAR Award.
She was nominated by JoLee Romanowski, family resource program assistant.
The nomination follows:
“In addition to maintaining her own job responsibilities, Kaci has taken on responsibilities, such as case management of additional families, communicating with program staff, resolving staff questions, creating and completing some training forms, leading staff meetings, and anything else as needed to support our staff and families. All the while she has maintained her compassion with everyone.
“She is an exceptional staff person and deserves to have this acknowledged in a bigger way than all of us simply telling her thanks.
“Kaci has jumped in to help not only during COVID when responsibilities and policies were ever-changing, but also not long after being hired into her position. She has gone over and above by maintaining not only her own job responsibilities but also taking on those of other family resource specialists and our supervisor due to unexpected and serious health issues with staff and/or their families. Specifically, she has provided case management of not only her own caseload, but also many additional families with multiple high needs, such as homelessness, child abuse and neglect, child custody matters, domestic violence situations, and mental health concerns.
“Kaci has also provided leadership by being the single point of contact for 11 family resource specialists in the in the absence of her supervisor. Due to the myriad of complex issues we face each day with children and families, this is no easy task. Yet she has made herself available and assisted all staff as needed, including partnering in virtual visits with teachers and families during moments of crisis, creating and guiding staff in using new protocols due to COVID, leading staff meetings on her own, and creating electronic forms and data tracking in ways that have never been done before. She has taken the time to ensure all staff understand how to implement and analyze the new data, creating a more accurate and efficient system.
“In the end, it is not just her jumping in and taking on new and challenging tasks that has led me to nominate her for this award, but it is her ability to continue to treat everyone with kindness, compassion and understanding despite the added stressors she has navigated. Not only do those of us who need to take time off for reasons out of our control know the families we work with will be supported with Kaci’s involvement, but also we know they will be supported with the same type of kindness, compassion and understanding as we are. That makes a huge difference.”