Maple Run Unified School District
Germaine Cross is dedicated to promoting the well-being of Maple Run Unified School District employees and has been actively engaged in doing so for over two decades. And it shows. The central building entrances are lined with plants as a way to diffuse stress. Cross has set up a small wellness center, complete with CDs for relaxation, a variety of books specific to health, materials from VEHI PATH’s mobility bag to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, a space for creating art (most recently a sip and paint event) and the annual Survivor competitive pool. “What I like most about wellness is building positive morale,” Cross said. “It has the most value to me. I like doing what I can to acknowledge staff.”
Her colleague, Kathy Finck concurs. “Germaine has been on the employee wellness team for years and has inspired all of us throughout the district with her communication and support around benefits, wellness and how to fill out the forms we need for any aspect of the workplace,” said Finck, who nominated Germaine as a rock star. “As a guest speaker said at our first district wide event this year, call Germaine if you have a question about benefits. “
“She has really pushed us to consider wellness activities as part of our work day and has been instrumental in providing fun activities for the employee families,” said Finck. “This past year our family fun night at Collins Perley Athletic Complex grew from 40 to over 140 participants.” “I meet with all the VEHI PATH wellness leaders regularly and I find that they don’t realize all the impact they have,” Cross said. “They are working hard.”
Cross has also taken the lead on developing a district-wide wellness policy she hopes will score at the top of the heap nationally. “We are basing this policy on the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework,” she said. “The wellness team, consisting of school leaders and outside partners meet once a month. It’s a bear of an undertaking but it will be well worth it when it is complete. And to celebrate, we hope to organize a 5K run/walk throughout the streets of St. Albans.”
Cross is constantly thinking about what she can do to further employee wellness. She created a logo specifically for the district and had colorful T-shirts printed for all the building leaders to wear. Most recently, she met with Rise Vermont, a community collaborative to embrace healthier lifestyles, to consider the construction of a program focused on creating intrinsic motivation and establishing habits. “If you want to make a change around your health, something like this is so important,” Cross reiterated.
Cross grew up in Swanton and is now a grandmother to five grandchildren. “I absolutely love German Shepherds and over my lifetime have owned three,” she said. Next up for Cross - receiving her baccalaureate degree in business administration from the University of Southern New Hampshire this spring. “Lifelong learning wasn’t enough for me so I decided to return to college,” she said smiling.