Christina Haddad Gonzalez, Director of Student Support Services at Richfield Public Schools, says that she’d love it if she worked herself out of a job.
“Because that would mean that all of our families and students are achieving at their maximum potential across race and language and class,” she says. “And support services that we currently provide aren’t needed.”
But they are very much needed, and Christina’s work, including launching and then overseeing a Park Nicollet Health Resource Center at Richfield High School, has helped countless students and improved the health of her community. Her dedication and commitment are why she is the recipient of the Park Nicollet Foundation 2022 Community Service Award.
“I was surprised and humbled and I started to think about all the people and the leadership who have made this happen,” she says. “My work couldn’t happen without other staff, other social workers, psychologists, support staff, even our leadership in the district. And most importantly our families and students in the district who are so receptive and open.”
Christina’s leadership has helped make the Health Resource Center a huge success, with more than 700 student visits per year and more than 60 per month. Since it opened in 2017, attendance rates at Richfield have improved, student pregnancy rates have dropped and the graduation rate has jumped, closing a gap between white students and students of color.
“It’s great seeing how addressing physical health or a sexual health issue can just shift the trajectory for a student or a family,” Christina says. “And addressing anxious feelings and thoughts can improve a grade and set a student up for college and career success.”