Kailey Greenleaf was recognized Friday, May 6 as the Northwest Arkansas 2022 Mental Health Champion Awards recipient in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.
Greenleaf, a Central Junior High School language arts teacher, received the news at a surprise presentation in the school library.
Greenleaf said she is extremely humbled and honored to receive the award.
"I genuinely love working in Springdale Public Schools, and I absolutely love the students that we have here," she said. "It's been a real blessing to work at Central Junior High and to work with all the staff here."
Reece Lofdin, 14, said she enjoys having Greenleaf for a teacher.
"She's a great teacher, and I think that she pushes me to do my best," the ninth-grader said. "Even though I'm very loud and sometimes unwilling to do things, I end up doing them because she supports me and helps me."
Greenleaf was selected for the recognition by Arisa Health, which encouraged nominations for the awards from all of its school partners and school-based employees, said Jennifer Coldiron, Arisa Health School Outreach and Training director.
Greenleaf was nominated for the award by Afton Schleiff, Central Junior High School assistant principal, Coldiron said.
“Mrs. Greenleaf goes above and beyond for her students. She approaches them with kindness, care and empathy,” Schleiff said. “Her bubbly spirit is infectious, and she truly cares for everyone she comes across. She values relationships and takes time to get to know her students and the faculty at Central. She is an integral part of our Central school family.
The awards are in recognition of both Teacher Appreciation Week and May as Mental Health Awareness Month, Coldiron said.
A winner was selected from each region in which Arisa Health’s legacy organizations have school- based services, which include Northwest Arkansas for Ozark Guidance, Central Arkansas for Counseling Associates and Eastern Arkansas for Midsouth Health Systems, Coldiron said.
Awardees include educators from the elementary, middle or junior high and high school levels, Coldiron said.