Michigan Education Association


Clare Hoover
The latest winner of the Leon A. Brunner Award, Clare Hoover, second from right, is flanked by her sisters.

Grand Rapids woman wins MEA’s Leon A. Brunner Award 

Dearborn, Mich., March 20, 2009 — Clare Hoover has more jobs than most people—she works in food service for the Grand Rapids school district and fills in as a bus driver for Comstock Park—but she still finds time to reach out when friends and co-workers need help.

That’s why they nominated her for the Michigan Education Association’s Leon A. Brunner Award, which is given annually to recognize outstanding contributions by Michigan educational support personnel.

“I feel very honored that my friends and colleagues thought that much of me to take the time to nominate me,” says Hoover. “I was just totally shocked. It took a whole day to sink in.”

Hoover served as secretary for the Grand Rapids Educational Support Professional Association for many years and is currently the group’s newsletter editor. But her contributions go much further. Fellow GRESPA member Maureen Walthorn says Hoover planned retirement dinners, organized year-end picnics and encouraged others to come with her to professional training classes.

“In all her years of working for the Grand Rapids public schools, Clare always thought of others first,” says Walthorn.

Hoover says she never expected recognition and that, over the years, she’s gotten just as much out of GRESPA as she put in. “It’s changed my life in so many ways,” she says. “I’ve met so many smart and interesting people and I’ve learned so much from them.”

The award will be presented to Clare Hoover at a 7 p.m. ceremony on March 20 as part of the MEA’s ESP Statewide Conference at the Dearborn Hyatt.


Kerry Birmingham, MEA media relations 248-421-7222

 “The mission of the MEA is to ensure that the education of our students and the working environments of our members are of the highest quality.”

Updated: October 28, 2009 8:17 AM