The Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation has announced Cornerstone Award winners and distinguished alumni who will be entered into the Gahanna Lincoln Hall of Fame on Friday, May 2.
The recognition program and community reception is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
The Cornerstone Award is an annual recognition of builders of excellence, according to Dale Foor, Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation president. Recipients must have been associated with the school district for at least 10 years as an employee or in other official support roles.
The 2014 recipients are Mike Fritz, an accountant who was instrumental in the creation of the GJEF; Charlene Greene, who taught biology and chemistry at Lincoln High School for 22 years; and Jeff Shellhammer, who directed Gahanna Lincoln bands for 25 years.
Foor said Fritz was directly involved in expressing the vision and securing the professional services necessary to formalize and incorporate the foundation in 2003. He has served as the foundation's treasurer and as treasurer for many school levy campaigns.
Fritz also has supported the Gahanna Lincoln Investment Society and art department.
"When the idea of the club was first brought to the foundation, Mike quickly caught the vision of what it could do for students, and he has been a consistent champion for the mission of the club," said Phil Peters, club adviser. "Without his advocacy through the foundation, the club would lack the impact on students as real investors, not just simulated."
Art teacher Sarah Fairchild said her department has received thousands of dollars donated by Fritz because his son, Alex, was a student in the program and had a fantastic experience.
Greene served as a Lincoln High School teacher from 1980 to 2002.
Phillip Koppel worked with her as a colleague at the high school for eight years.
"Within weeks of Charlene's first year at Gahanna Lincoln, a close friend of mine in the science department reported that we had just hired an outstanding teacher who had an amazing work ethic and challenged her students, yet it was a motivational approach," he said. "His evaluation was accurate, as others who worked with her soon echoed similar sentiments."
Wanda Neudorfer-Pack has known Greene since the beginning of her tenure at Gahanna Lincoln in 1984.
"Gifted with high intelligence and years of experience, she patiently works with students to encourage understanding of subject matter and to cause them to aspire to high goals of scholarship, character, leadership and preparation for their careers and role in society," Neudorfer-Pack said. "She had boundless energy and serves others to improve the lives of senior citizens, women, adolescents and the whole community."
Shellhammer worked in the district from 1985 to 2010 as director of bands. He's currently an adjunct professor of music education at Capital University's and the Ohio State University's schools of music.
"During his 25 years as director, all three bands consistently earned superior ratings in the Ohio Music Education Association's state band contest," said Robert F. Kessler, Shellhammer's predecessor. "Those are the highest ratings that any band can earn. In addition, he is called upon to adjudicate statewide at many state and district band contests."
Stonybrook United Methodist Church pastor Nicole Baker said Shellhammer has been an integral part of Stonybrook's music ministry since 1986.
"What is most impressive about Jeff is his dedication to excellence," Baker said. "He works directly with both pastors and our contemporary worship leader to plan worship flow, musical integration with themes and connection to scriptural selections. He is meticulous, creative, thoughtful and reliable."
Hall of Fame winners feature business owners
The Gahanna Lincoln High School Alumni Hall of Fame was created to recognize graduates who, through their performance and achievement, brought credit and honor to themselves and to the high school, Foor said.
This year's award recipients are Amy Dudas Huddleston, owner of Home Instead Senior Care; Brian Kent Jones, president of Brian Kent Jones Architects, Inc.; and Michael Shank, owner of Michael Shank Racing.
Huddleston began her career in sales and planning, working both in the United States and abroad with fledgling computer companies. She eventually became senior project manager for Amazon.com.
John Howard, who nominated Huddleston, said she hoped to eventually own and manage her own company, which would model the values she has held in high regard. They include helping people receive needed services with care, compassion and competence.
"This goal led her to where she is today," he said. "She owns and manages Home Instead Senior Care, and her franchise serves senior citizens in Licking and Muskingum counties. In the nine years that her company has served these seniors, there has been steady growth of her business."
Huddleston also works with Rotary International through her Rotary Club in Granville that has helped bring fresh water wells to Haiti.
Jones started his architectural practice in July 1997, committed to providing community-based architecture and planning.
"Brian has excelled in his profession," said Kevin Knight, who has worked with Jones in the design/build environment of construction and architecture. "He is recognized by our community leaders as being the master of spawning creative ideas into the structure of housing and the inception of neighborhood."
William Ebbing, president of the New Albany Co., said he has known Jones for 18 years. Jones has been the director of design and principal architect for the New Albany Co. for 21 years.
"During that time, Brian has been instrumental in the master planning of 12,000 acres in our community," Ebbing said. "Brian's background in Georgian architecture and classic design has contributed to the aesthetic trademark of New Albany, which has become nationally recognized."
Shank started racing professionally in 1989 and was named the SCCA-Ohio Valley Regional Novice Drive of the Year.
Nominators David and Beverly Metcalf said he didn't lose any momentum as he moved up the ladder, winning the 1996 Toyota Atlantic C2 Championship before moving up to race in the Indy Racing League.
As he gained winning experience in the car, Shank put that knowledge to work as his team expanded to run other drivers, and he eventually retired as a driver to focus on running and growing his team.
Shank was named Team Owner of the Year twice in four years before deciding to move his team in a new direction with the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004.
Fred Paul, business and industry partnership coordinator at Career and Technology Education Centers in Licking County, said Shank has a keen interest in working with local schools and helping students see the value in education and work ethic.
"Michael has brought his race cars to C-TEC for demonstration and emphasizes how the skills acquired at C-TEC flow into manufacturing, teamwork and learning to solve real-world problems by communicating and demonstrating respect," Paul said.