Social worker honored by Genesis Group

Four adults pose, one holding a certificate

Herkimer Elementary school social worker Kathy Orts is among the educators from the region honored at the Genesis Group’s “Celebration of Education” event on Nov. 16.

The not-for-profit organization, which was founded in 2000, aims to unite business and community leaders to advance regional economic, social and cultural interests throughout the Mohawk Valley region, according to its website. 

Orts, who has worked in the school for close to two decades, said she is honored to be recognized by the Genesis Group for her work with the district and that she is grateful to work with “such an amazing group of people who support me in my work every day” at HES.

“Both personally and professionally, I recognize the importance of extending myself to meet the needs of children and families in our school community,” said Orts, who coordinates holiday giving and other outreach efforts at the school, in addition to her work with students.

“Kathy’s dedication, commitment, and service demonstrate her true passion and devotion to Herkimer Elementary,” HES Principal Renee Vogt said of the longtime district employee. “Her unwavering dedication to helping and supporting extends well beyond the school day. It is normal for her to be seen at Walmart purchasing essential clothing items so our students’ needs are met. Her scheduled home visits and phone calls last well into the night. She collaborates with local agencies and churches to collect backpacks and school supplies so our children are ready and prepared for their school experience. Students at HES are her utmost priority.”

Orts and her fellow educators were honored in a ceremony at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro, which included a raffle to raise funds for local food pantries. 

“To have the value of my position at Herkimer Elementary School acknowledged and to receive this recognition of my work as a social worker means the world to me,” Orts said. 

This year’s celebration also recognized the “Project Lead the Way” engineering program partnership hosted by Frankfort-Schuyler CSD and attended by Herkimer students.

Held each year during American Education Week, the Celebration of Education recognizes individual educators and programs that are making a positive impact with students. Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School vocal music teacher John Krause was honored by the Genesis Group in 2015.

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