LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Michael Fringer

Position: Principal
School: Elmwood Elementary School
School District: South Lake Schools
City, State: St. Clair Shores, MI

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Music that Describes Michael

Michael Fringer was nominated by his colleague, Becky Schroll-Riedel.

Elmwood Elementary and South Lake Schools would not be where they are today without Mr. Fringer's dedication, perseverance, and advocacy. At any given school or district event, Mr. Fringer is like a rock star. Kids and parents cannot wait to say hello or take a selfie with him; he is beloved by current and former students.

Scroll through his Twitter feed and you'll find a quote that embodies who he is and what he strives for: "Imagine if every child in every school could feel a genuine sense of love and belonging, every single day!" Every single day, even over summer break, Mr. Fringer works relentlessly to provide support and resources for his students and to make sure each and every one of them knows they are loved and seen.

Mr. Fringer sets the bar for what it means to be an elementary school principal. Over the last year, he has worked with his Boy Scout troop to raise over $80,000 and donate a Gaga Pit to the school. His PTA raised $20,000 to provide students with learning resources and free field trips. He is currently working with them on the possibility of having a washer and dryer installed in order to increase attendance and provide families in need with the ability to have clean clothing.

Mr. Fringer has implemented the "Caring. Responsibility. Respect. Every Day." program in his building, which recognizes students who demonstrate these qualities. He supports and works with student organizations like Chocolate Dipped, a student run business that uses profits to sponsor a "Save the Sea Turtles" campaign.  In the past, other groups have raised money for Wigs for Kids, a non-profit that provides free wigs and support services for children with cancer.

Mr. Fringer is always looking for new and innovative ideas to bring into his building that will inspire students. Recently, he has recruited dads of students to form a Watch D.O.G.S. group and implemented a "Bike to School Day" program to engage students in a conversation around taking care of the environment.

"Take a moment to scroll through his Twitter feed, and you will see how proud he is of his students and what an advocate he is for the district and community," said Schroll-Riedel. "Whether he is advertising the healthy lunches SLS provides, his amazement at kindergarten students reading, or his appreciation of the bathroom being remodeled, he always seek to find the positive, silver lining in every single day."

Comments (64)

Heather Randall Posted over a year ago

We moved into the district in 2015. My son, Evan started 3rd Grade at Elmwood and that is when we started to get to know Mr. Fringer. I couldn't have had a more welcomed and positive feeling going into a new school with such an exceptional Principal. Mr. Fringer always was out and about before and after school and saying "Hello" to everyone and by name. No matter when you run into Mr. Fringer he is always polite, friendly, kind, caring and upbeat! I have come to know not only Mr. Fringer but several staff members and they all care a great deal about the students. Mr. Fringer had always been a person you can turn to if you are in need of something or if you need someone to talk to. His door is always open and he TRULY GIVES FROM HIS HEART. Mr. Fringer is always willing to help and I am sincerely GRATEFUL for all he had done for Evan and for Me. He really is a Principal that goes way above and beyond and really truly cares about all his students. He already is a Life Changer of more than an year in our book. We look forward to visiting him and the school for many years to come! Congrats Mr. Fringer you deserve it!!

Kristie Penn Posted over a year ago

I met Mr. Fringer at the South Lake Board Office when the board was introducing us to the incoming Principal prior to the start of the school year. What I recognized that day and throughout my encounters with Mr. Fringer is how he LITERALLY gets on the kids level. He bent down to look both of my kids in the eye for an introduction. While we were impressed with that, it came out on the first day of school when he greeted us and said a personal HELLO to both kids by name. Another time is when there was an incident at the school and we immediately emailed Mr. Fringer to find out more information. It was well after hours and we received a return call within minutes to re-assure us all was okay. He is engaging, personable and no matter what is going on at the school, he has your attention. He is an advocate for all the kids, even those who don’t make the grades, don’t have a voice. I truly believe his calling was to be in our small universe. We are all better because of it.

Kianira Pacheco Posted over a year ago

Michael is a life changer because he has a welcoming personality that makes you feel loved and respected. It is an honor to know him and know that I have a true caring person in my circle.

Tracy Vissers Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer is AMAZING!! Just before lunch on the third day of school this year, our son Jameson broke his arm while on the playground. Fringer stabilized him on his lap while waiting for me to arrive. He carried him out to my car and quickly decided it was best to keep holding him and come with us to the hospital. I pulled up to the ER entrance, gave him my license and insurance card and he took Jameson in and got him registered! I never broke a bone, so I was unable to distract him with the best/appropriate conversation. Fringer said all the right things to help Jameson manage through the pain (i.e. they were "broken bone brothers", etc.). He stayed in the ER with us for almost an hour and then followed up with text messages. We ended up spending 8+ hours in the ER, so when we arrived home, we were pleasantly surprised Fringer delivered the get-well cards his classmates made! He broke his arm on a Friday, which is pizza day at Elmwood, and Jameson didn't get to eat the pizza/salad he loves so much, so Fringer made the following Monday pizza day! He went above and beyond when he didn't have to. The weeks following he was unable to go outside for recess, so Fringer let him sit in his office everyday and play on his iPad. We will never forget what he did for us on 9/6/19!!

Christina Pelt Posted over a year ago

I don’t know how many times I visited Mr. Fringer when he was a counselor at Koepsell Elementary. Whenever one of my kids had a problem or issues at school he was always there to help and guide us. When your child is having a hard time and you have to address hard topics it causes anxiety for them and also for us as parents. I am so thankful he was the one we could turn to. He is so caring and easy to talk to. I would leave his office feeling so much better about everything, because as a Mom you know when someone really cares about the welfare of your child. He always did. A few years later when my kids were attending South Lake High School Mr Fringer became Vice Principal. He lit up the place! Seriously. Everyone suddenly became happier. He was involved and cared about the students. I think he was there for two years and I know we cried when he left. My kids loved him and still remember him fondly. He is the perfect example of what an educator should be. We all have that one teacher, counselor or principal we remember and I know Mr. Fringer is that for so many lucky students that had the pleasure of being in his care. He deserves this and more. Thank you for being there for my family and so many others.

Kirsten Anderson Posted over a year ago

This one.

Erin Quinones Posted over a year ago

Mr.Fringer is here on Earth doing what he was meant to do. I am so grateful he has chosen to do it in our community. He is a strong, understanding, loving, and compassionate person. I feel he truly cares for every person he comes in contact with. He’s easy to talk to and makes everybody feel special. I couldn’t think of a more deserving person to receive this award.

Ronald Benny Posted over a year ago

I can tell you that Michael Fringer deserves this. When he was a counselor at Koepsell he was extremely instrumental in my daughter's coping of the problems our family was dealing with. She felt safe and seeked him out when her anxiety rose due to non-school related issues. He protected her and worked with me to find stability for her. Because of that she went on to become a honors student in middle school which also included only missing 3 total days in a two year span. She then was recommended and selected in attend an all honors high school representing one of the St. Clair Shores districts. In 4 months she will graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree and three minors. She has even said that Mr. Fringer's involvement at the elementary school was the turning point that help lay the foundation for her future success.

Josiah Christian Baker Posted over a year ago

This man is the real deal! He has has an embarrassment of riches to him. Mr. Fringer has an ability to connect with people and make them feel like they can take over the world if they believe hard enough. I have no doubt that he is killing it in taking care of, as well as leading, the youth of tomorrow the same way he guided us as kids at Koepsell Education Center all those years ago.

Jennifer Herman Posted over a year ago

While there are so many deserving people that should be awarded the Life Changer of the Year award there are only a few that can inspire a community to come together for a common goal. Mr. Fringer's passion for his work inspires so many. He is a role model for all in our school community and has inspired my family to want to be a part of making our school the best it can be for our families. As a parent I feel the most important job we have is to make sure all our children have all the same opportunities to be successful. We all want our children to be able to learn and grow in an environment of love and support. At Elmwood Mr. Fringer is making this possible. I couldn't be more impressed with Mr. Fringer's leadership and ability to manage the needs of so many families yet make each one feel special. His passion is shared with his staff and he inspires and expects each one to bring out their best every day.

alec burton Posted over a year ago

former student, if anybody cares truly its this man right here

Becky Fante Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer was an absolutely amazing addition to Elmwood. He was what the kids needed. He has always had a smile on his face. And a warm welcoming spirit. I have never seen him treat anyone differently and as a parent he treats you as his friend and not a parent. I wish we didn't move my kids still would have been under his care. Thank you Mr. Fringer for all that you do. God Bless you. You definitely deserve this

Christie Edmonds Posted over a year ago

Life Changer is the perfect description of Mr. Fringer. His love and dedication to his students is truly amazing. He is such a positive influence for every student . His impact will last a life time . As a parent i know my kids are in great hands and feel beyond blessed knowing Mr.Fringer is guiding them !

Lenka Perron Posted over a year ago

We knew Mr. Fringer when he was the counselor at our middle school and I cannot begin to describe the passion and the love and the compassion that he brought into that school every minute that he was there. Our children felt safe, and free to be children and to simply, be themselves. Every school needs someone exactly like him, who makes the well-being And happiness of all children as his top priority. And I mean all children.

Melanie Wylomanski Posted over a year ago

I met Mr. Fringer when he was a counselor at Koepsell Education Center. A few of my friends had their children enrolled there. At the time I didn't have my children at Koepsell. I attended a few of the book club meetings with my friends. Some how in a group of 15 parents and Mr. Fringer, the conversation turned to me and why I was joining them. When I had shared the struggles we had been having in the district we were in, the parents and Mr. Fringer had such an encouraging and welcoming presence that I knew I would be changing schools. My only regret is that I hadn't done so sooner. Mr. Fringer has a wonderful, compassionate way with children and parents. He set my mind at ease and my daughter ,who was struggling, flourished while he counseled her. The things he instilled in my daughter and others lasted for years after he moved on. He has a sterling reputation because he's an amazing man with a big heart who makes the world a better place every day that he shows up! God bless Mr. Fringer and his family, he was an answered prayer for mine.

Veronica Williams Posted over a year ago

My youngest daughter is in 5th grade at Elmwood and I am so sad to think this is our last year with Mr. Fringer. Of course we will still be in touch and help out, as many families who have moved on still do. It speaks to Mr. Fringer's ability to create community and dedication to our little school. Mr. Fringer is awesome and we are so lucky to have him at Elmwood!

Todd Macgillivray Posted over a year ago

I’m glad to count Mike Fringer as a close friend. 30+ years and counting. Mike has always been the same guy. Giving selflessly is his only thing. He’s always been the social justice guy, the spread the love guy, the respectful caring guy. I have just a few friends that I could put on his level of determination, crafty projects and schemes to benefit all and most of all his fairness. He’s always been solution oriented and action engaging. I love the guy. My respect for him will never waiver.

Isis Williams Posted over a year ago

I am a former student that was delighted enough to have met Mr. Fringer. My time at Elmwood was surrounded by caring teachers and staff that cared about my learning. The atmosphere that was created around me was made up of CARING,RESPECT and RESPONSIBILITY. Mr. Fringer contributed to many fundraisers and interacted very well with students and their parents. With any problems that he faced, he never dropped an ounce of his upbeat, positivity.

Sharon Ozark Posted over a year ago

Sharon Ozark In a very short time of having the pleasure in knowing and working with Mr. Fringer, I can say without hesitation that he exemplifies the epitome of a principal that truly cares about each and every one of his students. The well-known term “you can’t judge a book by its cover” does not apply to Mr. Fringer, because he has no cover… He is an open book. You don’t have to get to know him over a period of time to see his true colors. He is genuine from the first moment you meet him and his genuine heart beats at the pace of his students. How much more of a life changer can someone be than to march to the same beat of each child’s own beat. I have worked with many professionals and I can say, without hesitation, that there is a “heart of desire” within Mr. Fringer that wants to nurture each boy and girl to become the very best version of themselves, even when the child is low on the totem pole emotionally, physically, and/or academically. Can you imagine a world filled with “Mr. Fringers”? It is a tall order however it only takes one to start the process to become infectious. Mr. Fringer’s infectious enthusiasm and concern for his students, permeating the air at Elmwood Elementary School, is a breath of fresh air that each child, teacher, support staff, volunteer and parent have the privilege of inhaling each day. What a gift – what a life changer. What the world needs now is more Mr. Fringers, for what the world needs now are life changers. Mr. Fringer qualifies as a very strong life changer and is deserving of this award.

BreyJuan Currie Posted over a year ago

THE GOAT! (Greatest of all time). He’s very influential and gave me advice for work as my boss and outside of work as my friend. Great person to know and to call a friend. Congrats on the accomplishment.

Marsha Salome Posted over a year ago

Fringer (as many call him) is a co worker and friend of mine. He was a part of my childrens' lives at elementary, middle school, and high school level. He was their counselor and principal throughout the years. Mike is all about making connections, being committed, helpful, and responsive. When you speak to Mike Fringer, you have his full time and attention. He hears and acknowledges you. He respects and responds. He assists and makes what might seem impossible possible. Mr. Fringer reaches out and assists students, parents, families, and community. He makes a difference in many lives through his words and actions. He sets goals and not only achieves but surpasses them. He works hard yet makes things look so effortless and easy. He encourages everyone around him to be the best YOU that you can be. And he lives that every way every day...he is the best Fringer that he can be. He truly is a life changer. Marsha

Enma Romo Posted over a year ago

Hello, I am Enma Romo from Spain, I am in fifth grade. I live in Spain now, but I was one year in Elmwood elementary school and that changed my life. There, the children can be our selves and work together whit caring, respect and responsability. I have lived in two continets, five schools and I was in a lot of countries and I can say that Mr Fringer`s project works, I know it because I lived it, no one have told me. Now, that I am not anymore there, I want to be responsable and help other kids, I have written some storys, I have done school projets and I have gotte a grant to Madrid to tell what Mr Fringer project told me. When my brother and I arrived to Elmwood I was very scared, I think that we were a big problem, two kids from another continet that didn`t speak English, but Mr Fringer was very happy about us being there! He Know all the nomes of the students in the school, I made a volunteer project and he come to my class to see it, I know that I will not have any problems if He was there. Mr fringer is a very strong man, lot of times is difficult to work with people, but He didn`t get tired and He alwais smilled to every person, I think He is very intelligent to understand every body, like me! All the kinds in the world need a Mr Fringer in his school. He has to win that price!

Kristine Hass Posted over a year ago

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Fringed as an advocate during IEP meetings. He was compassionate, concerned and committed to continuing to learn what was best for that individual child. Which was refreshing. I have on a number of occasions recommended his school to those seeking school of choice, very specifically because of him.

Katherine Vandewiele Posted over a year ago

When my daughter was in 5th grade she suffered from overwhelming anxiety. So much so she was unwilling to attend school. We finally ended up sitting down with Mr. Fringer for help. He was able to work out a plan to ease her back to school and offer almost daily help to keep her on track. My daughter and I don't know how she would of finished the year and pass without his assistance. She is now in high school doing well. I was amazed and impressed how he found the time to help her and give so many other children such personal attention. I would like to add all the while in a makeshift office overseeing construction being done on the main office. My son now goes to Elmwood and its a great comfort to know such an amazing person is there to guide him everyday. My son always comments on how understanding he is. In a time when being an educator seems to be more and more challenging Mr. Fringer has been a leader. I can't think of a more deserving person. The world would be a better place with more people like you in it. Good luck and thank you for all you do!

Amanda costine Posted over a year ago

Our family has known Mr. Fringer since he was a assistant principal at the South Lake High School. Very shortly after that he came to be the principal at my son's Elementary School and we couldn't have been more happy with him. His dedication to all the students and family and making sure the kids get their education is wonderful. He is so kind and thoughtful and so personable and you feel like you get that one-on-one attention from him. He's not just there running the school he's part of your family. I hope he gets his nomination because he has one heck of a great principal and one heck of a good man. Thank you Mr Fringer for all that you do and will do.

Araceli Talaban Posted over a year ago

Mr. Michael Fringer came to our life as the then Assistant Principal of South Lake High School in 2011 when my son Justin reported and turned in a USB with student bullying recorded in it. The incident was abated. From then on they became good friends until February 2012 when Justin was sadly diagnosed with Leukemia a life changing situation that entangled more our lives together not only with Mr. Fringer the Asst Principal but a Confidant, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, facilitator (Justin kept going to school until he enrolled to home schooling while undergoing Chemotherapy, treatments and Stem cell transplant.). Mr. Fringer go out of his way to visit Justin and our family the whole course of our Leukemia journey. We were so lost that when he is around he got this positive energy that lift our spirits up. His contagious laugh and smile brightens up our day. Unfortunately, on March 5, 2014 Justin lost his battle and Mr. Fringer was the very last person we waited to see him in his deathbed before he was taken out , but that was after Mr. Fringer had made sure that a support system was in place for Justin's grieving classmates and friends. Really! He is always ready to give you a comforting hug and see the bright side of life. Our family worked with him with the Relay for Life team South Lake in memory of South Lake Schools Community members who are Fighting, Survived or lost their Cancer battle. As the Principal of Elmwood Elementary School he knows each and every child's name making each child feel special. He actively support the PTO and he is always open to ideas and suggestions to provide better, happier and safer environment to Elmwood family. He is definitely a life changer. A forever family friend he will be. Our L??VE for you Mr. Michael Fringer!

Wendy Menge Posted over a year ago

I have the pleasure of working with Mr. Fringer, and he is an outstanding principal who truly deserves this award. Everyday I witness him go above and beyond for every student in Elmwood. He makes sure every student feels safe and cared for every time they enter the building. He not only makes the students feel important, he also is an advocate for his staff making sure we always have what we need. He has personally changed my life and has brought out the best in me. I couldn’t think of a better person for this award.

Miranda Posted over a year ago

Michael Fringer is an outstanding principal who makes a positive difference in the lives of the children and staff at his school every day. He makes Elmwood Elementary a place where the students feel safe and cared for every time they enter the building. All the students feel comfortable coming to him and knowing that he will always do his best to help them with anything they may need. As a member of his staff, I can say that he has really fostered this school environment into a community, where everyone works together for the good of the students. He gets here early and works late to go the extra mile for the students. If he notices a student is having a rough day- no matter how busy he may be- he checks in with them throughout the day to make sure they are okay. I am so impressed with his dedication to the school and the students, he is a wonderful principal!

Justine Ventimiglia Posted over a year ago

Several years ago I was thrown into the role of PTA President, a role that I was not ready for, yet I wanted to do my best. Mr. Fringer just came on board to be Principal of Elmwood and together we were able to figure out this whole PTA and take it in a new direction that benefits the students and staff in a big way. I could not have done this without Mr. Fringer's support. He was always able to sit down and talk through a situation, answer an email, or return a call. I have never seen anyone go so above and beyond in any role in my life — and his leadership has meant the world to this school community. Sacrificing many evenings and weekends to support our PTA projects and events, showing up to support Relay for Life runners, making sure we have everything we need to make an event successful and if we don't, he finds a way to get us what we need. Mr. Fringer really has a passion for leading and inspiring not only the students at Elmwood, but us parents. I actually look forward to volunteering because seeing Mr. Fringer always puts a smile on my face and a feeling like we are all making a difference for these kids. That's a rare gift to possess and one that I don't come across very often.

Stacey Cartwright Posted over a year ago

I could spend the whole day trying to list all three ways Mr. Fringer has impacted my and my children's life. Add the greater Elmwood community and it's impossible to list all the ways he changes the community. He is truly one of a kind, an unforgettable character indeed. He had rockstar status for my family when only one of my kids were even in school, and has retained it even tho we left the district. He's life changer of the year with or without this award, but deserves the recognition anyway ?

Amie Kamara Posted over a year ago

Growing up going to Koepsell Education Center, Mr. Fringer was one of the adults that I knew I could confide in, trust, and look up to. He’s helped mold me into the woman I am today and has taught me how to be a “good human”. He taught me the definition of compassion, and how to always treat others the way you want to be treated. It doesn’t matter if your black,white, brown, yellow or red we are all in this together. My first encounter with someone with “style” was Mr. Fringer, seeing him everyday decked out in a fresh Puma outfits I used to always think “man does Puma sponsor him? He’s always fresh” now as an adult every time I see Puma I think of Mr. Fringer. My first pair of sneakers, my mom took me to the store and said I could any pair I wanted. Out of all the Jordan’s, Nike’s, Pastries (lol), I picked a black pair of suede pumas that were honestly ugly as hell but I thought Mr. Fringer would like them, and he did. Him telling me he liked my shoes really made me feel good and boosted my confidence because I just got my first pair of sneakers and my favorite person (besides mom, sorry) said my shoes looked great. Anywho, Mr. Michael Fringer, you are an amazing person, even if you already knew, I would tell you every day if I could. It was always the little things you did for me as a child that meant a lot. Like the days I really didn’t want to be bothered by people so you would let me sit in your office just so I could get my head together. I could tell that you really loved your job, even the days you were having bad days I could tell that you enjoyed being around us. Even the time when I went to Red Robin’s with my friends and we were freshman in college and we all saw you and we all got so excited, that made my day seeing you. Then you paid for our dinner and we literally cried. Even though we aren’t your students anymore we still learn from you. As an adult I would think WWMFD? You mean a lot to a lot of people. Thank you.

Jennifer Larose Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer is the kindest most humble man I've ever met. Everything he does is for his children in Elmwood. Being a part of Elmwood is like being a part of a family he's there to help you no matter what the cost. He has helped me a great deal with my son in his autism and just helping my son learn how to socialize that's just little parts of what Mr. Finger has done for me. My son and daughter both attend Elmwood my son has moved on to middle school and Mr Fringer still checks up on him. He also checks up on my daughter always. The kids love him, all the kids love him there is not one event I've been to to that Mr Finger has not came up and said something to us or anybody else in the building he acknowledges everybody in his presence he's kind ,humble ,caring and has so much energy. His energy is contagious Mr. Fringer deserves this more than anybody I know.

Amy Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer is a must-select for this award. He is personable, professional, approachable, dedicated, and so compassionate. He motivates kids (and their parents) and also challenges them. He inspires them and cheers for their personal growth. He values educational advancement but also does not overlook the need to instill real-life lessons and skills during such a critical time in young students' lives. The focus on kids becoming "good" people who encompass kindness, caring, and responsibility is so refreshing; it fosters the perfect environment for learning. To put it simply- he is positively changing lives and setting each child on the path for success. I have a very well-behaved and intelligent 2nd grader as well as an intelligent, free-spirited kindergartener at Elmwood. Both of them love their principal and their school. Mr. Fringer is a hero to many. He deserves all the recognition that comes with this nomination and to be selected without any doubt.

Gina finley Posted over a year ago

Mr fringer has always went above and beyond for every student in Elmwood. He meets and helps every student or family without even being asked. As a community, he brings families together to help those who may have lost a loved one, fighting a terminal illness or those suffering financially or mentally. This school wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for mr. fringer. Thank you for everything you have done for our children and keeping Elmwood such an amazing place for the children to be.

Jimmy Hadden Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer singlehandedly changed my life - point blank, period. His open door policy during my time in high school meant that the highest ranking staff member was approachable, kind, and had an open heart, and that made all the difference in the world at such an impressionable age as queer youth. If you were at any school function, even lunch, he'd be there with a beaming smile and natural effervescence that would remind me that no matter what was going on at home or outside of school that I was in a safe space where every staff member wanted nothing more than my success. Not just me, though - Mr. Fringer fiercely advocated for every single kid and every teacher in that school; he was a shoulder to lean on whenever you needed it, full of advice and wisdom, and I credit him for our fundraising tens of thousands of dollars in the process for many causes because he simply just had a way to get every single student and staff member mobilized around a cause at the snap of a finger. He knew every single person's name and you saw him in his office only when he had paperwork to complete. He would be in the halls and in the lunch room so often that it was clear he had a personal stake in your success and emotional well-being. You could feel it. No one slipped between the cracks, either - Mr. Fringer had a direct relationship with every single soul in our high school. I always felt like I had someone on my side - even when the issues were pedantic (in high school they certainly didn't seem that way!) his door was open. I look back at my high school career and I am dumbfounded how he maintained such a huge presence in a school with hundreds of students while being able to also take care of his normal duties as principal. But he did. South Lake High School won quite a few awards during my time there, and at the same time he was the reason I was able to go through AP classes while having a stress disorder, he was the reason I scored a 34 on my ACT despite all the odds stacked against me, and he's the reason I'm a successful adult today with a drive and hunger not just to be successful personally but to impact the people around me in a positive way just like he did for me. I really attribute so much of my adult personality and my emotional maturity to the growth that I did while sitting in his office. He deserves to win this award!

Marty Kliebert Posted over a year ago

Such a well deserved honor! I had the pleasure of working with him for three years.i was inspired by his humor, grace, love of students and support of the community he O’Rourke serves. Congratulations Michael! Well done young man!

Sara Green Posted over a year ago

Michael Fringer is a phenomenal principal. I have had the honor of entrusting my children with him for the last 3 years. He has stood by my dyslexic daughter, when others wanted to write off her education. He made sure she got what she needed educationally and emotionally. I see him as a beacon of light for all his students, as he always brightens their day!

Sara walsh Posted over a year ago

Our family met Mr Fringer during a summer program before my child started kindergarten, I was undecided on whether she would to a different district or home schooled after meeting Mr Fringer I knew my child would be safe and cared for at Elmwood. Mr Fringer knows every student by name and always has a smile on his face. He takes the time to address any concern for each parent or student. He is a amazing man and we are so lucky to have as principal. My child lives the caring, responsibility and respect every day !!! Thank you for all you do Mr Fringer you are so deserving of the award.

Rachel Cain Posted over a year ago

“I like how Mr. Fringer is really really nice. One time when I brought candy to school, he didn’t yell at me like some principals do. He just told me nicely not to do that. He also had lunch with us, which was so awesome.” -Atticus, 8 years old “Mr. Fringer was my favorite principal because he actually handles problems for kids, and doesn’t let other kids bully each other like some of my other principals. Plus he has lunch with us!” -Zacchaeus, 9 years old Children love Mr. Fringer. He can’t walk down the hallways of Elmwood without getting surrounded by excited small faces. Data matters. Learning matters.Test scores (for the most part) matter. And Elmwood has those things. On paper, Mr. Fringer is a very good principal. But the children are the true metric of excellence, and the children love Mr. Fringer. They love him because he is kind, patient, and interested in them for the full human beings they are. They love him because he isn’t focused on just the data, learning, and test scores; he’s focused on them. And that is what makes him a life-changer.

Kim Lynch Posted over a year ago

Not only am I a parent at elmwood I’m a employee at that school. I see on a daily basis the impact he makes to these children. He is always involved in making a better learning experience for these kids. The kids look at him like a celebrity with big smiles and hugs when he walks in a room. So well deserved for this. Good luck Mr. Fringer!

Shani Webb Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Mr. Fringer! I have had 3 children that attended Elmwood while Mr. Fringer has been Principal. Amari Kendricks, who now is a Freshman in high school, and James and Jordyn Kendricks who are now in 7th grade. He has alway been kind and fair since day one. He shows no favoritism and every student gets his undivided attention. He shows a genuine interest in the children he serves. It's hard to find good people these days, but Elmwood has a gem in their presence. This nomination is greatly deserved. Congratulations again Mr. Fringer.

Robert Beato Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer is a fantastic Principal!!! He is the kind of Principal I would want my daughter to have. He is kind, funny and loves what he does. He is a true advocate for kids. This award could not be given to a more perfect person then him! The students, Elmwood, and the district of South Lake are proud of you! Go Mr. Fringer- Go Elmwood- and go South Lake

Carrie Dimmer Posted over a year ago

6 years ago I brought my son to kindergarten and my daughter to 4th grade at a new school, Elmwood. As we all stood nervously around the school, a tall man came to us and said "hi, can I help you?" we explained we were new, and he said, "so am, I so lets do this!". His smile and genuine warmth stuck with me. This began the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Through out the last 6 years, Mr Fringer and my family have grown as a family, which is what Elmwood embodies. FAMILY!!! We have went to bat for each other, stood by each other, laughed and have shed tears together. I am honored to have met such an authentic, amazing person. This year, my youngest child will leave Elmwood, and move on the middle school, but just like when you move out your parents house, you are always welcome back home at Elmwood. Never have I seen so many alumni, come back to Elmwood whether they attended there or had the pleasure of being with Mr Fringer in another in district school just to say hi to him and tell them how they are doing. And he remembers each and every one of them! Thank you, Mr Fringer for being a life changer, a positive, gracious, humble, amazing principle, man, and family to all of us at South Lake Schools. We are all better in just knowing you. Love the Dimmers.

Krista Nannini Posted over a year ago

I was lucky enough to have Mr. Fringer in my school career for 8 years and he was definitely one of the most memorable people. From having lunch appointments that you could have with your friends in elementary school and him to having college and life discussions before graduation. Mr. Fringer was always a beacon of hope, happiness and light even in your darkest days. Mr Fringer always made every student feel special and purposeful. There can not be enough good things and great memories I have with Mr. Fringer. I can think of no other person I would give this award to other than him.

Kera stitt Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer is absolutely worthy of this award, he goes above and beyond on a daily basis for his students and his school and his staff! My child adores him and he makes elmwood a great community!

Aaron Abernathy Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer has always had the best interests of not only my kids but all the kids under his care. Many a times I have seen him going out of his way to make sure all his students were safe. I was shocked when he knew not only my kids name but mine after my son had only attended the school a couple weeks. Mr Fringer took me aside when we first enrolled our son who has special needs. He told me how they had just graduated a child in a with similar needs and that everything went fine with. This put my wife and I at ease. Since then he has not hesitated to pull me aside just to make sure things are going well with my kids. I don't think I could have found a principal who was as good or cared so much. Mr Fringer truly deserves this award and many others.

Robert Beato Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer is a fantastic Principal!!! He is the kind of Principal I would want my daughter to have. He is kind, funny and loves what he does. He is a true advocate for kids. This award could not be given to a more perfect person then him! The students, Elmwood, and the district of South Lake are proud of you! Go Mr. Fringer- Go Elmwood- and go South Lake

Carolyn Wilson Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer has had such a positive impact on my kindergartners first school experience. He has made both me and my son feel welcomed into the Elmwood family. Just walking into a room he’s in, you can literally feel the positive energy and love he has for our school. Thank you for everything you do!

Haley Pencak Posted over a year ago

I cannot think of someone more deserving of this award. He leads by example and lives the Elmwood way (caring, respect, responsibility) every single day. He strives to make personal connections with every student, parent, and family member he comes across. He is a fantastic Elementary school principal and an all around incredible human being.

Angela Skiba Posted over a year ago

I have known Michael Fringer for about 15 years. I met him as a parent when he became the counselor at Koepsell Education Center in South Lake where my children attended elementary school. I knew the first time I met him that he was one of a kind. His energy, passion and love for children was inspiring. But he didn’t stop with the students. He also built relationships with the parents. He was involved in our parent group and helped with the activities that were planned. My favorite thing he did was starting the parent book club. Not only did he organize it, he participated in it with us on a weekly basis. Eventually, Michael became the assistant principal at South Lake High School – just in time for my children! SLHS thrived under the leadership he, and the principal at the time, provided. He knew every student and their families. Michael was at every event with a “hi there” and a smile. I worked at the high school for a short time while he was there. I watched him interact with students daily - always showing concern and respect. Mr. Fringer became the principal at Elmwood the same year I took the secretary position at the middle school. I could always count on him to support middle school activities for incoming 6th graders. Any time I asked for his help with something, he did so gladly. During this time, I was also the parent volunteer for the high school drama club. I often called on the elementary principals to promote our shows. Again, I knew Michael would help. He often showed up at our shows and cheered our cast on. Over the years, I have known Mr. Fringer as a parent, co-worker and friend. I have enjoyed all of these relationships, but the best one of all is friend.

Theresa Cherney Posted over a year ago

I am a new teacher at Elmwood. I have worked as a teacher for over 20 years and I have worked for many principals. I have only known Mr. Fringer for just a little over two months and I can say he is the best principal I have ever worked for. He is so caring, kind, and helpful to everyone he meets. He sets such a happy, caring, and wonderful environment at Elmwood. I am so grateful and blessed to work for such a wonderful person.

Kelila Anstett Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer, I cannot think of a more deserving educator and leader. You are bold, innovative, open and caring towards the students and families you serve at Elmwood. I smile every time I see you greeting the kids and welcoming parents during the school year. I wish for your continued success, growth and recognition in your role as a leader and mentor.

Susanne Kryscynski Posted over a year ago

Mr Fringer is so loved by all the kids. When he walks into a room they gather around him like he is Gold which he is. I have seen him change so many lives. And as a boss if there is ever something that u need to talk to him about he is there even at 9:30 at night. Thank you Mr Fringer for being at our school and in our lives.

Rachel Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer has been the part of school my daughter has enjoyed the most. He inspires my daughter to be a good person and an even better student. He has encouraged my daughter and given her a favorite face to see every morning!

Christine Osmialowski Posted over a year ago

We were introduced to Mr. Fringer when he became the principal at Elmwood Elementary when my son was a student there. My daughter also attended Elmwood prior to his arrival. I cannot understate the impact that he made when he arrived. It’s more that just being visible and connecting with the kids. He works to ensure that every child feels valued and appreciated everyday. When he is at school events, he speaks to the kids and makes sure they are the focus of the interaction. His energy and care is contagious. I feel like WE are lucky to know him.

Denee Reeves Posted over a year ago

One of the most deserving people I have ever met.

Audrey Almquist Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer is an incredible leader and pillar in our community. I can’t think of anyone on the planet more deserving of this award. He truly strives for excellence for the children in his school every single day. A true gem of a human.

Lizy Michaelson Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer was one of my biggest role models and allies during my high school years -and I know I am not alone in this opinion. Even before I got to know Mr. Fringer as my high school guidance counselor and assistant principal, he was well known throughout the South Lake School district as a staff member that went above and beyond for all of his students. As a freshman, I quickly learned what an amazing resource he was as I joined the diversity and inclusion club in the area. He was one of our major supporters and was a fierce advocate for LGBTQ, differently abled, and all other underrepresented students. Every afternoon in the administrative office of the high school, Mr. Fringer’s would have a long line of different students coming to him with life issues. And despite the toll, he made it clear that every student was his personal priority and made sure that no student slipped through the cracks. While Mr. Fringer was there for all South Lake High School students, I feel especially fortunate for his presence during this period in my life when I needed a mentor the most. At the end of my freshman year I developed a debilitating disorder that affected my mental health, physical capabilities, and overall well-being. This was an incredible stressful and honestly terrifying period of my life. Although I was always on honor roll and was deeply involved in the school, I had a hard time keeping up with the basic functions of being a student. Mr. Fringer quickly became my biggest ally and helped me come up with accommodations that kept me afloat as a student and as a person. If my stress levels ever reached a breaking point, I always knew I could count on him to help me reset and move forward. To this day, I still give Mr. Fringer a lot of credit for my academic success. With the help of his counseling, I was able to receive (and learn how to ask for) the resources and accommodations that I needed to maintain my grades and strive for my dreams. At the time, my biggest goal to date was to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. The application process was intimidating, but Mr. Fringer assured me that I was more than capable and deserving of attending this top institution. I am incredibly grateful for his encouragement and thoughtful academic recommendation —of which I have no doubt helped me stand out amongst a crowd of more privileged students than I. If anything, Mr. Fringer should be known as a champion of all underdogs, “weird kids”, and ANYONE struggling through a rough time. Mr. Fringer deserves to win this award because he has proven time and time again that he will never stop advocating for the well-being of his students —and that’s what makes him not just a life changer of the year, but the life changer of an entire school district of students. -Submitted from a proud member of South Lake’s Class of 2014

Megan Smith Posted over a year ago

Mr. Fringer was there for me when I was in 6th grade and my grandma passed away. He listened to me and helped me find happiness again. He was there for me again my sophomore year when I was having trouble in school. Then again, for the hardest time of my life when I lost my brother my senior year of high school. His door was always open when I needed him. I have been out of school for almost 7 years and still think of him often. He is a great person and deserves this honor.

Lori Sneddon Posted over a year ago

I worked with Mr. Fringer during 2 sessions of summer camp. He welcomed me and made me feel at home at Elmwood Elementary during my time there. I could see he was well loved by staff and students and I understood why!

Becky Domine Posted over a year ago

You changed my daughter Coras life by being such a positive influence on her that because of you she now loves going to school!

Sarah Schoenherr Posted over a year ago

We LOVE Mr. Fringer. When my younger son was at Elmwood he had some difficulty in class & in his relationship with his father. Mr. Fringer would make a point to check on him to see how he was doing academically & emotionally. He also talked with him about his Dad and even offered to have lunch with them to try to help. My son & a few other students asked about having a Dodgeball tournament. Mr. Fringer said that they could but they had to come up with a plan & organize it. They did with his help. Love that he encouraged them take the initiative to create an event like that. He is amazing!! I wish other educators had his passion for students.

Lauren Posted over a year ago

I met Mr Fringer at my daughters kindergarten open house. Absolutely delightful! He was the reason went outside our assigned school and what a great choice it’s been. Love that he puts the kids first, strives to learn every single one of their names and still LOVES his job. He’s a fantastic human being that we should all strive to resemble. You are one of a kind and we look forward to getting to know you every year we’re/you’re there. Congratulations Mr Fringer as it’s well deserved

Jennifer Runyon Posted over a year ago

I can't imagine anyone more deserving of this award. Good luck Mr. Fringer, and thank you for all that you do!