LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Riley Malinowski

Position: Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent
School: Hatfield Public Schools
School District: Hatfield Public Schools
City, State: Hatfield, MA

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Riley Malinowski was nominated by her former principal, Jennifer Chapin.

Ms. Malinowski, also known as "Miss Riley," is the heart of Hatfield Public Schools. She is the first one to arrive each day, greeting everyone with a bright smile and often a warm hug. Everyone relies on Miss Riley for the day to day operations of the district, which can extend to evenings and weekends. She lives in town, and anytime someone needs access to the superintendent, they will call her at home. She is always willing to drop what she is doing and come to their rescue. Miss Riley knows everyone in town and where every child lives. She even drives the minibus when the drivers are out sick. 

Miss Riley is a natural nurturer. She is often the go to person for students who are having a tough day. She is always ready with a tissue, a smile, and encouraging words that reassure a sad child. Her desk is always filled with pictures and cards from students, and it isn't unusual for there to be an assortment of freshly picked flowers dropped off for her in the morning. She always needs help after every holiday carrying out the many gifts that she receives from both families and staff members. When she worked at the elementary school, one of the paraprofessionals gave her a hand made flower each day with a note of appreciation for all the little things she does that make a big difference in their little school. There is no shortage of love for Miss Riley.

In addition to her daily duties, Miss Riley has also volunteered on the PTA. She has been the treasurer for several years, balancing the checkbook and making countless trips to the bank with deposits. She also volunteers her time to help out with PTA events. As a community member, she attends after school and evening events in an effort to support the children. She is always the first one to step up and lend a helping hand when needed. From cutting hundreds of pounds of strawberries for the Strawberry Festival, to dressing up as her favorite character, to walking in the Memorial Day parade with water bottles or driving the homecoming float, Miss Riley is always available. 

Everyone trusts and has the utmost respect for Miss Riley. She is often handed hundreds of dollars in field trip money, tickets for games, or keys to the building, and her community knows she will keep these items safe. Parents will call and ask her to bring home their child in emergency situations or stay late to watch them if they are running late.

"Miss Riley maintains the highest level of confidentiality at all times," Chapin said. "Parents will often try to get information out of her at the grocery store or at a ball game, but she always just smiles and suggests that they call me if they have any questions or concerns."

Miss Riley is always at school. Her attendance record is excellent, and her performance evaluations are always outstanding. She is a perfectionist who will stay late on her own time in order to make sure everything is done correctly. She has been known to come in at 6:00am on a snow day to make sure that everything is prepared for a special event schedule for the next day. Her commitment to the school community is commendable. One year, when Hatfield had huge amounts of snow, she met Chapin at the school on a Saturday morning with her husband and father to help her and the custodians shovel and snow blow the roof, which was in danger of collapsing. 

"Miss Riley takes initiative and will often hand me reports or documents that she knows I need to complete before I get a chance to do them. She keeps me organized, checks my rather poor typing skills and makes sure that I take care of myself," Chapin said. "She has been known to call me after she drives by and still sees me in my office to tell me to go home when I stay too late. She is my most trusted sounding board, and I know that she will always be honest with me."

Miss Riley touches the lives of every member of the school community in a positive way.



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