Together We Rise header image
  • We are excited to announce the March CSIU: Together We Rise Nominees!

    As announced at 2021 Professional Leadership Day (PLD), the CSIU has implemented a new award program, "CSIU: Together We Rise!" The program recognizes colleagues for their commitment to: 

    • Rising through innovative work: A person who has demonstrated innovation in the workplace.
    • Rising through service to others and self-care: A person who modeled service or self-care or who helped a person or team with service or self-care.
    • Rising through equity: A person who embraced equity in the form of learning (self-growth), teaching (providing or organizing professional learning experiences for others), or practicing (ensuring equity for served populations).

    March brought in eight nominations for the awards! Please take a few moments out of your day to read about these valued members of the CSIU family and to congratulate them for making a difference by RISING through innovative work, service to others and self-care, and/or equity!

    Nominate a colleague for an April award by the 29th.

March Winners


    Karen Bower, Nancy Jacobs, and Linda Saxton

    Early Intervention Team
    Rising through Service to Others and Self-Care Award; Nominated by Laura Adams

    Why Karen, Nancy, and Linda were nominated: 

    The Early Intervention (EI) team at Watsontown Children's Center goes above and beyond with their students. This year, for Read Across America week, Dr. Kurelja and Kaitlyn Hall were invited to read to the class. The team went all out by making green eggs for a snack and creating fun artwork and to make learning fun for the kids and staff.

    Nancy and her team have been making Read Across America week very special for the kids for many years. I wanted to make sure everyone knows how amazing Karen, Nancy and Linda are!


    Kate O'Neill 

    Human Resources: Compensation and Compliance Specialist
    Rising through Service to Others and Self-Care Award

    Why Kate was nominated: 

    Kate goes above and beyond to help her CSIU colleagues. It's very apparent how much she cares. Her effort is reflected in her organized and thorough work. You will never hear her say 'that's not my job.' She is willing to help everyone and does so with a kind and positive attitude. Kate is continuing to grow in her role and is very valuable to the CSIU. I am thankful to have her as a colleague.

    "Kate is extremely kind and helpful to all!"


    Soniris Arroyo

    CARES Team: Workforce Career Coach
    Rising through Equity Award

    Why Soniris was nominated: 

    Recently, a Direct Care Worker (DCW) Heroes program English Language Learner participant had a medical emergency that sent her to the hospital. Speaking no English and having no support, she reached out, via phone, to her DCW Career Coach, Soniris, to help translate, as the hospital had no interpreter. Soniris spent several hours on the phone translating until the hospital could put a translator in place. Soniris supported this individual outside her typical role as a DCW Career Coach and went above and beyond to assist during this time, allowing the medical staff to provide the proper treatment and get her English as a Second Language (ESL) support. 


    Jolene Hyppolite 

    Early Intervention Teacher
    Rising through Service to Others and Self-Care Award

    Why Jolene was nominated: 

    Jolene covered for a teacher vacancy when asked. She adjusted her own caseload and schedule, to add more students. This meant that instead of being responsible for one district, she covered three districts.


    Corie Kline

    Buildings and Grounds Services Assistant
    Rising through Service to Others and Self-Care Award; Nominated by Amy Pfleegor

    Why Corie was nominated: 

    Corie joined the CSIU in November 2021. Since that time, she has embraced the mission and vision of the organization. She goes above and beyond to help the staff and guests at the central office. She is eager to do a good job and asks questions and makes suggestions to enhance or improve services. She treats all people with dignity and respect and always has a smile on her face while doing so. She has even been seen wrapping a to-go plate for a board member who was running late and didn't have time to finish their meal before a meeting. Corie's customer service skills are beyond measure!

    "Service with a smile!" — Amy Pfleegor


    Dr. Shileste Overton-Morris

    Chief Programs Officer
    Rising through Equity Award; Nominated by Dr. John Kurelja

    Why Shileste was nominated: 

    Shileste has done an excellent job helping the CSIU, as an organization, move forward in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Her skillful leadership has put the CSIU on the road to improvement in these areas and is proving to be of great importance as we navigate our way out of this pandemic!