The Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA) announced its list of finalists for the 2013 Fred Award.

The Fred Award is designated for non-administrative staff, students and volunteers statewide. It was inspired by Fred Shea, a postman who became the subject of Mark Sanborn’s national bestseller, The Fred Factor.

The finalists include:

  • Danny Henderson, bus driver and maintenance worker for Carlisle County school district
  • Marcia Riffe, instructional assistant, East Carter High School (Carter County)
  • Ronda Williams, occupational therapist, Owensboro Independent school district

The award recognizes those individuals whose efforts on a daily basis contribute to create a positive atmosphere in Kentucky’s school communities. The first Fred Award was presented in 2008 to Fred Strange, a custodian at Grants Lick Elementary School in the Campbell County school district, and the award presentation has continued each year since.

As a part of the award process, a film crew visits each school district to interview the finalists, as well as others in the district, to create a video portrait of each of the finalists for later broadcast at the KASA Annual Leadership Institute in Louisville. The film crew is in the three school districts this week.

Chosen by a statewide judging panel representing school districts from across Kentucky, the finalists will be recognized at a special ceremony in July during KASA’s 45th Annual Leadership Institute, a statewide event for P-12 school administrators. Each finalist will receive a $250 check, overnight lodging and a distinguished marble plaque detailing the award. The Fred Award recipient will receive $500.

The Kentucky Association of School Administrators is the largest school administrators group in Kentucky, representing more than 3,000 state education leaders. Formed in 1969, KASA connects education leaders to policymakers, legislators and other interest groups and provides numerous benefits and services to Kentucky’s school administrators.

To learn more about the award or about KASA, visit or contact Deputy Director Rhonda Caldwell at (502) 875-3411. School district contacts regarding the individual finalists include: Julie Ellis, Owensboro Independent Schools, (270) 686-1000; Randy McCallon, Carlisle County Schools, (270) 628-3800; Pam Kouns, Carter County Schools, (606) 474-2008.

Brief Introduction of the award finalists

Danny Henderson

In the fall of 2012, Danny Henderson was diagnosed with lung cancer. After having a lobe removed, he required no additional follow up treatment. He came back to work as soon as possible in January, 2013. Henderson insisted on returning to his duties as the announcer at high school basketball games.

Henderson has been a tremendous role model for those who have gone through struggles and a similar plight.

Marcia Riffe

Riffe’s compassion for others has been demonstrated on several occasions, whether she arranged and paid for a student’s dentist appointment or took a student for a haircut.

In addition, she volunteers to help teachers daily with various instructional tasks and frequently can be heard giving encouraging words to struggling students. Whether it is listening to their problems or helping with directions for an assignment, they can always depend on her support.

Ronda Williams

Williams leads by example. If she is not immediately able to resolve a student’s problem, she simply does not stop until she finds the solution, coworkers say. Her creativity plays a major role in this process as she constantly transforms seemingly useless materials into valuable devices.

She continually enlists the construction skills of her father to build platforms and adapt equipment to benefit students and staff. Her expertise in up-to-date technology and adaptations for students is invaluable. She maintains an extensive website with hundreds of resources and links for helping students, other educators said.