Badger joins Anoka-Hennepin School District as Wellness and SHIP coordinator

Brenda Badger has been hired as the Anoka-Hennepin School District Wellness and Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grant coordinator. The position is located in the Community Education Department.

Badger comes to Anoka-Hennepin after working for 15 years in Community Education for the Hopkins School District. In Hopkins, Badger spent eight years working as a youth program supervisor and for three years ran the General Educational Development (GED) certificate testing center. Since 2008, Badger had been the project coordinator for the Hopkins Community Coalition: One Voice, the school district’s drug prevention effort.

In her new role, Badger will be the district coordinator for both the Anoka and Hennepin county SHIP grants. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, which administers the grant, SHIP works to prevent disease before it starts by helping create healthier communities that support individuals seeking to make healthy choices in their daily lives. The main focus of this grant will be "safe routes to school" and increasing opportunities for physical activity. Badger will work with the schools, community and counties to encourage more people to walk and bike to school. Planning and assessments will take place now with implementation scheduled for the 2012-13 school year.

The other focus of Badger’s job will be to promote wellness to students, staff and the community. Badger, a certified prevention professional and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in sociology and psychology, will work with Labor Relations and Benefits staff to develop a more formalized wellness program for Anoka-Hennepin School District employees.

"I will look for ways to encourage employees to embrace opportunities we have available to help us all be healthier and perform to our best," she said. "People make unhealthy choices in their lives often due to stress and habits developed over time. I believe people will perform better if they have a healthy mind and body."

While the district has worked with SHIP coordinators in the past, the position to develop a Staff Wellness Program is new. Reid Mortenson, a Community Education supervisor, said his department, the Labor and Benefits Department, Medica staff, and the district’s Insurance Advisory Committee are also working on the program. The new position will: promote wellness among students, families, staff and the community; identify partners to support the district’s wellness initiative; and identify and secure additional funding streams to support the district’s wellness initiative.

"Brenda brings a very strong and experienced professional background in wellness programs and grant work," Mortenson said. "She also demonstrates a personal commitment and passion for wellness. The Community Education Department is excited about and committed to improving the health of District students and staff."

Badger is excited to work for the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

"I live in Maple Grove, on the edge of Champlin, and I am excited to work in the northwest metro," Badger said. "I am also excited for the opportunity to work in wellness, it’s a passion of mine."