The Destination Imagination Diamond Award is the highest award for volunteerism that we bestow on individuals within the organization who, through extraordinary effort and generosity of time and talent, created or contributed to some critical facet of the Destination Imagination (DI) organization, usually behind-the-scenes and without fanfare. This year’s Diamond Award winners are Pamela Schroeder, Sherry Gordon-Shulik, and Barbara Mann.
PAMELA SCHROEDER: Pamela Schroeder is currently Destination Imagination Minnesota’s Affiliate Director where she has served for 20-plus years. Her previous roles with DI included seven years as the Destination Imagination Board Chair and four years as the Board’s Vice Chair, Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. Ms. Schroeder has also been a Challenge Writer, Affiliate Training Director, Affiliate trainer, Instant Challenge trainer, school district coordinator, and Team Manager.
Ms. Schroeder is an educator, working with an intermediate school district that serves 14 independent public school districts. Previously, she worked in international finance and the capital markets.
Ms. Schroeder graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon with a degree in Psychology. She is active in improvisational acting, music and sailing, and a number of nonprofit arts entities. She has been involved with DI and creative problem-solving organizations for several years and is an avid supporter of providing young people with a platform to find, develop, and air their voices.
SHERRY GORDON-SHULIK: Sherry Gordon-Shulik has been in creative problem-solving for 28-plus years. On the international level of DI, she has served as a Challenge Writer, a Challenge Dissector, a Global Finals Head Appraiser, and a Global Finals Appraiser. Her competence and kindness towards all have made her one of the most recognized and appreciated Global Finals Appraisers. She has also served as a DI parent, coordinator, Team Manager, Regional Director, trainer, Affiliate Challenge Master, and an Affiliate Board Member in both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Ms. Gordon-Shulik lives in Andover, MA with her family. She has worked in the fields of addictions, chronic care, and education. For the last 28 years, Ms. Gordon-Shulik has served as a classroom teacher in Andover. She currently runs a number of programs for the school, including the CHAI Program, which she created. Ms. Gordon-Shulik also creates problem-solving skills activities and lessons for other teachers. She will tell you that she gets to use all the tools she learned in DI every day.
When you ask her about DI and what it means to her, she will tell you that she is blessed with getting to see the most amazing kids create the most amazing things. She says that, “DI has provided her with a wonderful DI family who supports, love, and is always there for each other. Even during a pandemic when we can’t be together, we still find ways to bond, be there for each other, and have fun together.”
BARBARA MANN: Barbara Mann was active in Destination Imagination and creative problem solving for 30-plus years. In the summer of 1999, she helped with the start-up of Destination Imagination by assisting in the writing of Destination Imagination, Inc.’s first-year Challenges, rules, and procedures. Her science classroom was the originator of one of the most popular challenges in DI history – Eggsploration. Ms. Mann served on the international level as a curriculum materials writer and participated on the Directors’ Advisory Board. Additionally, she participated in Global Finals for several years as a member of the Events Team.
Ms. Mann was responsible for the beginning of Massachusetts’ creative problem-solving program in 1984, growing the state’s program to nine regions and more than 1,000 teams. She served as the Massachusetts Affiliate Director for twenty-eight years. In addition, Ms. Mann worked at tournaments in Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island and provided many Affiliates with training resources.
Ms. Mann graduated summa cum laude from Salem State College with a degree in Earth Science and Education. She taught middle school science for 34 years. During that time, Ms. Mann wrote curriculum materials for NOVA, consulted for “Science by Mail” – a program for children at the Boston Museum of Science – and co-authored an Earth Science textbook for DC Heath publishing. During her summers, she rode across the United States on her motorcycle and visit National Parks, gathering classroom materials. In 1999, Salem State awarded her their Educator of the Year Award, citing her bringing an appreciation of the National Park System to the classroom. Ms. Mann currently lives in Byfield, MA, and enjoys her growing home business.
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