Milton Hershey School Hosts Annual CORE Conference and Names National Award Winners
Milton Hershey School recently hosted the 2022 Coalition of Residential Excellence (CORE) National Conference in the newly-renovated Founders Hall. The conference—which was attended by MHS employees, staff from other residential schools across the country, and experts in educating students from traumatic backgrounds—featured presentations and keynote addresses on a variety of topics.
CORE, originally founded in 1994, brings together educators and leaders from almost 40 boarding and residential schools across the country to develop skills and strategies to better serve students. As a founding member of CORE, MHS has played an active role in the coalition’s development and continues to see the group as a resource for collaboration and innovation.
“MHS is the largest residential school in the United States, and we have been leading experts in working with students from challenging backgrounds for more than 110 years,” shared Thomas Robinson, MHS Associate Director of Home Life, Elementary Division, and President of CORE. “But we don’t have an expertise in everything—sometimes it’s the smallest schools that are teaching us new things—which is the beauty of CORE.”
Presenters included leading experts from member organizations and the outside community, who brought to life topics that affect residential and boarding schools. Among other topics, this year’s conference focused on the importance of communities, how to empower families, mental health awareness, and so much more.
“There is such a free flow of information between the schools in the coalition—20 of which attended the National Conference. It’s one way that CORE member organizations can work together to build better futures for our students,” shared Robinson.
In addition, each year during the National Conference, CORE awards exceptional leaders, educators, and Houseparents, with the nationally-recognized Catherine Hershey Awards—aimed at recognizing excellence in member organizations. In 2022, Robin Brantley-Case, MHS Elementary Division Home Life Director, was honored with the Catherine Hershey Award for Administrator of the Year.
“It is an honor to receive this award,” said Robin Brantley-Case. “Catherine Hershey was known for her kind and nurturing spirit and steadfast contributions to her community. It’s something we all aspire to achieve—especially as we help younger generations navigate life.”
MHS is proud to also recognize Tara Valoczki, MHS Middle Division Principal, for being nominated for Administrator of the Year, Lee and Kelly Held, Philip and Catherine Bertrand, for being nominated for Houseparents of the Year, and Danielle Rafferty for being nominated for Educator of the Year.