Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education


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Heinemeyer to Receive Distinguished Service Award from AMLE

September 21, 2022 6:32 PM | Anonymous

Columbus, OH – AMLE is pleased to announce that Gail Heinemeyer, retired middle school principal, AMLE Leadership Institute faculty and Executive Secretary and Director for Professional Development for the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education is the recipient of the AMLE Distinguished Service Award. The award was established to recognize outstanding service by an organization or an individual who makes a significant contribution to advancing the work of AMLE in reaching middle grades educators, schools, and young adolescents

Beginning as a social studies and math teacher, Gail spent 45 years with the Ridley School District in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, ultimately serving as an assistant principal, principal, and Director of Support Services. While initially she envisioned teaching in the high school setting, she found herself at home in the middle grades after playing an integral role in the district’s transition to the middle school model. Since then, she’s become a lifelong advocate for middle level education and young adolescent students. “It’s important that someone going into the middle level understands the uniqueness of that,” explains Heinemeyer, “I’d constantly be reminding new teachers that it’s not all about the subject matter, it’s about developing a relationship with the child first. They’re not going to learn anything from you until you show them respect and the fact that you like and understand them. Once you do that, your teaching becomes that much easier.”   

Gail has been involved in AMLE in a leadership capacity for more than twenty years, notably serving as the Co-Chair of the 2005 AMLE Annual Conference in Philadelphia and as faculty for the Institute for Middle Level Leadership beginning in 2004. She served as Chair of the Institute from 2018 to 2021. Gail also chaired the Back-to-School Camp, AMLE’s first fully virtual conference, in the summer of 2020 to aid schools grappling with the pandemic. She is simultaneously heavily involved in her state affiliate, the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education, which bestowed on her the William Alexander Award for contributions to middle level education.

“Gail was one of my first mentors when I joined AMLE and I can’t think of a more deserving individual to receive this award,” said Stephanie Simpson, AMLE CEO. “My favorite memory with Gail was working together on the Back-to-School camp. It was nerve wracking for both our members who were trying to figure out how to school amid a pandemic and for AMLE as we hosted our first virtual conference. Gail had a way of putting everyone at ease. She really made us feel like we could get through anything together.”

“The AMLE Board of Trustees is delighted to be able to bestow this distinguished service award on Ms. Heinemeyer,” said Lisa Harrison, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Gail not only knows and understands the middle school concept, she has lived it through her actions for decades. It’s easy to see her impact on her own school as well as the educators she’s touched throughout the years.”

Heinemeyer said of receiving the award, “I’m very appreciative of AMLE and recognizing the efforts that I have made over the past number of years. Doing these things was just second nature, never expecting to be recognized. But the fact that I am is truly somewhat overwhelming.” The award will be presented in November 2022 at the 49th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education in Orlando, Florida. 


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