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Soaring Eagle Award
Soaring Eagle Award
James Weiss
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

We are honoring our very own Mike Rochholz.  He is a true leader and an ambassador for children, public education and Schoolcraft community.   

There are many leadership attributes that Michael exhibits that I would like to accentuate:  

1. Michael knows who he is and what he is about. He knows his strengths and maximizes them to the fullest when he works with others.  His Gallup Strengths are he is a learner, analytical, strategic, achiever and responsible. He also knows his weaknesses and does an outstanding job surrounding himself with colleagues that compensate for areas that he lacks.  

2.  Michael is genuine. He does not put a facade up or poker face.  Instead, he says what he means and means what he says. I so appreciate that in him and in today’s society it seems that this behavior is getting lost.

3. As I shared earlier one of Michael’s strengths is he is responsible.  He takes total responsibility for himself and his actions. What makes him a true leader is that he takes responsibility from the team he is working with and feels accountable to the success or accomplishment at hand.   

4.  Mike is a leader with a high integrity. He models and exemplifies a strong CHARACTER. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines character as, “a composite of good moral qualities typically of moral excellence and firmness blended with resolution, self-discipline, high ethics, force, and judgment.” Every society and every culture values these qualities, which are at the core of Michael.  

5. Mike is caring. He knows that the “purpose” as a leader is to SERVE others.  He has a genuine concern to help others. In doing so, he never belittles or humiliates others; and he does not discount the opinions of others, even when they disagree with him.

6.  Michael is a leader who has vision. He has been instrumental in helping many organizations he has served in finding a common vision.  That isn’t easy work. He has helped facilitate and guide teams for many years on looking at the reality of here and now and helping find common ground on what the organization could be through a strategic approach and clear outcomes for success.    

7.  Mike is a change agent. He knows that new ideas and new perceptions are key to progress and improvement.  He has helped us move our district to standards-based grading, project/problem-based education, 1:1 computing, early-middle college, STEM/STEAM education and much much more.  This type of change doesn’t happen overnight or haphazardly. Through Mike’s assistance we have become an organization that is flexible, responsive, and innovative in today’s ever-changing environment.

I have observed Mike working with many people at the local and state level.  He listens without ego or prejudice; and knows that for true change an organization must have buy in, which means people need a voice.  He has facilitated this work in masterful ways.

8. A true leader values the contributions of others. Michael understands the value of teamwork and the synergy created through the combined efforts of several talented individuals. He understand that all must be valued.   

9. Under the category of We Dare related to our District Values - Michael is courageous! He understands that doing the RIGHT thing is oftentimes not the EASY thing.  He has certainly stood strong to his beliefs when needed. He has shown he will not be not swayed by the judgements and arguments of others, merely to avoid conflict or confrontation; particularly when those judgements or arguments do not serve the greater good. Most importantly, he has demonstrated he will do what is right EVEN if it causes personal hardship!

10. Michael believes in building capacity and growing leaders!  Coming into this community 8 years ago I needed to lean on people like Michael to learn what Schoolcraft was all about.  I needed to learn about board governance and policy - which he is an expert and helps others throughout the state on. He gets great joy in serving and growing others being a servant leader.  

I could go on for days talking about this man we are honoring here today.  As you know this was a difficult piece to write and even more so reading. I, along with all you here today, see Michael as a friend, colleague, mentor, and leader.   He will certainly be missed as a school board member here at Schoolcraft Community Schools. In talking with Michael he is good with the outcome of the election. He is a man that has many irons in the fire and will continue to help serve and lead others.  

On behalf of the Board of Education, Administration, Staff, Children and Community I want to thank you Michael for the 18 years of dedication, service and true leadership.  You are a blessing from God and we thank you for making a difference in so many people's lives. Would you please come forward and receive the Soaring Eagle Award while everyone joins me in congratulating you.