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Heroes Among Us Award 

Do you know someone in your schools or community, or a K-12 student who has gone above and beyond to ensure your schools are safe?  Is there someone in your school who has intervened in a situation and saved lives? Do you  have a person in your community  who has developed a program that is having a dynamic impact on the climate and culture of your schools?  Is there a student that promotes school safety through leadership, student organizations, or has done something that has had a positive impact in making their school safe?  If so, please take this opportunity to nominate this individual for special recognition.

Those making nominations will be asked to submit the following:

1. Name and contact information of the person making the nomination.
2. Name of the person being nominated.
3. The position the nominee holds in the schools or community or grade and school the student attends.
4. A brief summary (no more than 1 page single spaced) of why this person should be considered for this award.
5. Submitter will be contacted prior to the conference in order to obtain additional information and a photo of the nominee selected as a finalist.

Nomination Form


The winner of the 2022 “Heroes Among Us Award” is Captain Mark Deeds the Director of School Police in the Ozark R-VI District. Captain Deeds has been director of school police for 9 years, School Resource in the District for 3 years prior to that, and 37 total years in law enforcement. Captain Deeds brings a wealth of knowledge, not only in the law enforcement aspect but in the relationship building, mental health component, and incredible people skills. He is well respected by every entity in the school district and staff, students, and parents seek out his advice for a variety of situations that arise daily.


The first ever 2021 Student Hero Among Us is Jace Reese, Senior from Alton R-IV School District. Jace created her own “Open Arms Project” to make a conscientious effort to welcome new students to Alton High School. Jace organized other students that wanted to assist and purchased t-shirts that said, “Sit with Me” and organized a “Meet & Greet” pizza meal for new students to get acquainted and feel welcome.  Jace personally has placed sticky notes for two years on every locker with positive messages.  Thank you Jace for your grace and kindness to ensure all students feel welcomed and supported in their learning environment.


2021 Adult Hero Among Us is Mr. Larry Harris, Custodian from North Elementary, Jackson R-2 School District. “Mr. Larry” as he is called by students makes every effort to genuinely connect with as many students as possible throughout the school year.  From the moment students walk through the door, they are eager to be in Mr. Larry’s presence. For teachers and students alike, Mr. Larry goes above and beyond in his cheerful and welcoming attitude to assist everyone in the building. Thank you, Mr. Larry, for being such a wonderful mentor and positive influence on the children and staff you serve every day.


The winner of the 2019 “Heroes Among Us Award” is Coach Joshua Morris, Hermann Middle School. Coach Morris responded in a timely and professional manner when he rendered CPR to a student during a physical education class.  According to physicians at the hospital, actions taken by Coach Morris are the primary reason the student survived the medical emergency that day.  The family of the student wanted the school to know that they were grateful for the training Coach Morris received that resulted in his quick response to render aid.  In a letter to Principal Buschmann and Superintendent Dr. Hankins, the family wrote “You have our heartfelt thanks for what you so selfishly did-and the professional and caring manner in which it was done.  May God bless you in your career as a teacher and the exceptional manner in which you exhibit that career.” Congratulations to Coach Morris and thank you for being a Hero Among Us.


Zac Rantz, President of MOSSA, and Mike Pratte, President of MSBA, present the award to Mrs. Vicky Byassee.

The winner of the 2018 “Heroes Among Us Award” is Mrs. Vicky Byassee, Elementary School Nurse at A.J. Martin Elementary in East Prairie. She lives each day “…with a desire to serve others and an opportunity to lend a helping hand.” One Friday afternoon a student not only had a seizure but also stopped breathing.  A fellow employee of the school said, “there is not a doubt in my mind that the child is here today due to Nurse Vicky’s perseverance.” Nurse Vicky retired in May 2018. Congratulations and thank you Nurse Vicky, for enriching lives and keeping our students, faculty, and staff at A.J. Martin Elementary in East Prairie healthy, safe, and secure.


MSBA’s Safe Schools and Colleges Conference recognized Craig Reeves of Lebanon with the 2017 Heroes Among Us Award! Because of Craig’s safety training with MSBA’s Center for Education Safety, he effectively trained his coaches and students to lead themselves to safety when faced with an active shooter situation this spring. Congratulations Craig, and thank you for keeping kids safe!