One administrator who supports scholastic journalism is special, but having a team of administrators in one school district who stand up for student journalists is rare. That is why the Journalism Education Association is recognizing the leadership team of Michael Ginalski, Michelle Caulfield and Robin Sheehan as the JEA Administrator of the Year recipient.
Ginalski, superintendent for the Corning-Painted Post Area School District, along with Caulfield, assistant superintendent for secondary education, and Sheehan, principal of Corning-Painted Post High School, has consistently shown his appreciation for what scholastic journalism can bring when given the opportunity to flourish.
In 2014, the administrative team approved a plan to turn an unused 2,300-square-foot area into a state-of-the-art student media lab, which cost the district well over $100,000. The next year, student journalists walked into their brand-new lab, a space where they work to tell the stories of their school community.
Occasionally, Ginalski and his team field complaints on coverage ranging from LGBTQ stories to teen pregnancy, from cat-dissection photos to Catholic youth retreats. But no matter the complaint, they stand behind the student journalists and advisers and the work they do. They believe in the high school students so much that they make it possible through scheduling and transportation to allow 12 students to mentor an elementary school yearbook staff in the creation of their yearbook.
Just recently, C-PP High School students shared with Ginalski the legislation in New York to grant student journalists free speech. Ginalski vowed to be an advocate and resource for the students when the state senate reconvenes in early 2018.
Our district’s motto is, Students are the center of all we do, and Mike clearly articulated how, he, Michelle and Robin put those words into practice in support of our student journalists, nominator and journalism teacher Michael Simons, MJE, said.
Ginalski, Caulfield and Sheehan will be recognized for their ongoing administrative support for scholastic journalism Nov. 18 at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism convention in Dallas.
Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.