Wishing you Happy Holidays from The Leona Group!
As the holiday season is upon us, we wish each and every one of you peace and joy. We hope you are able to enjoy time with family and friends. Best wishes for a great end to 2015 and a happy new year in 2016.

We are approaching a big anniversary in 2016 as we celebrate 20 years in education at The Leona Group. We thank all of you who have been along for our journey thus far and we look forward to making a difference in the lives of children for many years to come.

Happy holidays to you and yours!


The Leona Group Family
Wildwood Environmental Academy Launches World Wide Water Website
Wildwood Environmental Academy students and teacher, Ms. Laura Schetter, launched a new water conservation website to teach students about how the water in Toledo is connected to all bodies of water on Earth and to have people across the globe share their stories about water. 

"The  ultimate goal of H2yOu is to inspire people to care for and conserve our shared global resource of water," Schetter told NBC24.

The students are testing water, learning about where it comes from and why it's important. Students also toured Toledo's Collins Park Water Treatment Plant. The students' website is H2yOu.co.
South Ridge High School Leader Dr. Rivers Rodel Principal Semi-Finalist
Dr. Melissa Rivers is the school leader at South Ridge High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Rivers was named a semi-finalist for the 2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal Award; she has been with The Leona Group since 2011 and has been an educator for over 20 years.

South   Ridge  is a  high -performing  school and  have received three consecutive "A" ratings from the  Arizona  Department of Education. They were ranked by the U.S. News & World Report "Best  High  Schools" receiving  Bronze  Status in 2010 and 2012, and Silver Status in 2013 and 2014. They are also very proud of their 98.6% four-year graduation rate, one of the criteria which secured their spot on America's Top High Schools 2015 list. 

According to the Rodel Foundation of Arizona, Rodel Exemplary Principals are nominated and selected based on their school's academic achievement and minimum of 50% Free or Reduced Price Lunch rate. The principals nominated are reviewed, observed and interviewed for evidence of effective leadership practices. They undergo site visits including interviews with principals and staff members, campus tours and classroom observations. Candidates are then narrowed down to a prestigious group of finalists. Finalists are then invited to a working session and exemplary principals are determined, announced in January and asked to mentor future school leaders while being recognized for their dedication to improving Arizona's public education system.

Finalists will be announced next month, so stay tuned! Congratulations, Dr. Rivers and best of luck!
Thea Bowman Leadership Academy Students Vote for the First Time
Photo courtesy of John Luke, The Times
Thea Bowman Leadership Academy seniors cast their votes, exercising their voting rights for the first time on Monday, November 2.

"I know some of the candidates and I know what I am here to do," TBLA student E'Staria McFerrin told The Times of Northwest Indiana. "Voting allows our voices to be heard. We vote for who we want to lead our community, our country. When we vote, we get a chance to make the world a better place."

About 30 TBLA students between the ages of 16 and 18 worked at the polls on Election Day in Gary, IN. 
Great job, TBLA students for exercising the 15th amendment!
Arizona Cardinal Calais Campbell Donates 200+ Thanksgiving Dinners to South Pointe Elementary School
On November 24, Calais Campbell, NFL defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals, delivered 200+ Thanksgiving dinners to South Pointe Elementary School in Phoenix. Campbell joined the students and staff for their 3rd annual Turkey Trot in partnership with Calais Richard Campbell Foundation (CRC).

According to their website, "The CRC Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by NFL player Calais Campbell and his family for the enrichment of children and young people. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, our goal is to help underserved children reach their full potential."

A huge THANK YOU to Calais Campbell for his generosity and support of South Pointe Elementary School. We are thankful for CRC!
Gilbert Arts Academy Honors Veterans
Gilbert Arts Academy in Gilbert, Arizona celebrated veterans with a beautiful program on Veteran's Day last month featuring students in grades 3-6. Sixteen veterans were in attendance and honored at the program.

"I was overwhelmed by the tears and gratitude from our veterans, both during and after the ceremony," said Lisa Figueroa, GAA school leader.

Thank you to all veterans for serving our country and thank you, Gilbert Arts students and staff for such an inspirational and patriotic event in their honor!
Lonnie Williams, CCA HS Substitute Teacher, Overcomes Adversity, Inspirational Role Model
Click the photo to the left to watch a brief documentary about the inspirational story of Lonnie Williams, a substitute teacher at Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Detroit, MI. 

"Lonnie has a remarkable story in the face of tragedy. Lonnie's courage, confidence, determination, contagious smile, and positive outlook on life is admirable," said Juan Jose Martinez, school leader at CCAHS. "The CCAHS family is blessed to have Lonnie! We are proud to call him friend and teacher. "

Lonnie's positive outlook is infectious and he touches the lives of all around him. 

"It's like a dream come true. I always tell people I work at the greatest place in the world," said Lonnie.
In Remembrance of Discover U's Ms. Brady and Academy for Business & Technology's Mr. Pye
Ms. Johnna Brady, 4th grade  teacher  for the 2014-15 school year, touched the hearts of Discover U Elementary School's students and staff alike in her special way. She was diagnosed with cancer in early 2015. Sadly, Ms. Brady lost her battle with cancer on November 30.

"Ms. Brady will be missed very much and never forgotten," said Lisa Nahrgang, school leader at Discover U.

  Academy for Business and Technology High School will miss the talents and warmth of Mr. John Pye. He passed away suddenly this October. MrPye was a math teacher, a professor at Baker College, the president of his father's scholarship fund and a volunteer for community projects in the construction industry.  

"MrPye's premature death is certainly a tragedy; however, the real tragedy would have been if we never had him in our lives," said Delores Jones-Bell, school leader at ABT.
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