Mitchell's Skinner receives Spirit of Advising Award

Honor given at 2021 National Family, Career, Community Leaders of America National Leadership Conference

National Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Adviser Sandy Spavone, presented the Spirit of Advising Award, to Mitchell FCCLA adviser Suzanne Skinner at the National FCCLA Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee recently. The award is presented to one adviser in each state. (Submitted Photo)

Mitchell Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Teacher Suzanne Skinner recently was honored with the Spirit of Advising Award at the 2021 National Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference held in Nashville, Tennessee this July.

The Spirit of Advising Award is given annually to one adviser in each state and recognizes chapter advisers who are constantly faithful, often quietly working behind the scenes to ensure the success of their students. It recognizes FCCLA advisers who consistently demonstrate excellence in modeling FCCLA character and integrity to ensure the success of their students within their classroom and career.

During her 23 years of being the Mitchell FCCLA Adviser, Skinner has had 48 events win STAR competition at the state level, and advance to competition at the national conference. She also has been an adviser to four state Mitchell FCCLA officers and two while teaching in Chamberlain. Many students have also been selected for district offices and state peer education teams. Skinner has also mentored six student teachers.

Mitchell FCCLA participants have carried out many community service projects. A suicide prevention project was developed by Mitchell FCCLA member D.J. Smith in 2009. After presenting the project at the state meeting and national leadership conference, Smith recruited fellow former FCCLA members while attending USD, and together they further developed the project. Today Lost and Found is on five SD college campuses, with a $300,000 budget, and is headed by former FCCLAer Eric Muckey. Other community service projects which Skinner’s students have carried out include two Little Free Libraries, backpacks for Mitchell Safe House and collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House.

“FCCLA advisers are crucial to the organization’s success,” said Sandy Spavone, executive director of FCCLA. “Their constant dedication and support to Family and Consumer Sciences, youth leadership, and the organization exemplify the value of leadership throughout the community. Without these educators, FCCLA could not be the Ultimate Leadership Experience it is today. It requires a unique set of skills and a tremendous commitment of time and energy to be a competent adviser. Exceptional advisers go above and beyond in serving their school, community, and state by connecting students to opportunities, using a wide variety of resources, and continuously working for the advancement of the organization. Thanks to advisers like Suzanne Skinner, FCCLA is able to successfully prepare today’s students to be leaders of tomorrow’s society.”


State FCCLA Adviser Kris Brockhoft agreed.

“Suzanne Skinner is an active volunteer and supporter of FCS education and FCCLA in the state of South Dakota,” said Brockhoft. “Her tireless efforts have helped young men and women prepare for future careers through various leadership opportunities. As the state adviser, I have seen Suzanne’s expertise, enthusiasm, energy, and volunteer spirit in action. She is an ever-willing volunteer who shares her expertise to mentor FCCLA members and advisers. She has served as a STAR Event volunteer at the region, state, and national leadership conference for several years. She has advised numerous region and state officers, state leadership team members, and state STAR Event finalists. Suzanne has been a great mentor and champion for Family and Consumer Sciences and FCCLA. Through my work with Suzanne, I have found her to be highly creative, energetic, and always willing to try new ideas, whether it be in the FCS classroom, with students planning a service project, or her FCS involvement in the community. Suzanne is an exceptional recipient of the South Dakota FCCLA/National FCCLA Spirit of Advising Award.”

Skinner is an SDSU graduate and previously taught at Chamberlain and White River. She and her husband Loren are the parents of Preston and twins Terese (Grayson) and Steven, and grandparents of three.

FCCLA is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. FCCLA reaches more than 180,000 members and over 5,000 Family and Consumer Sciences educators in the United States and territories.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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