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Administrative Excellence Winners Make South Arbor a Welcome Environment

Note: This is one in a series recognizing winners of the 2021-22 NHA Excellence Awards, a program that honors educators, deans, and administrative teams across our network.

As the registrar and office administrator, respectively, Benita Boss and Christina Hasselkus often are a person’s first point of contact at South Arbor Charter Academy.

Whether it’s a parent calling with a question about their child or daily interactions with families, Boss and Hasselkus are part of someone’s first impression of the school. What they’re doing is working, as South Arbor has outperformed the local district for 13 years. For their effort, they were named the winners of the Administrative Excellence award as part of the National Heritage Academies (NHA) Excellence Awards.

woman putting bandage on child
Benita Boss helps a South Arbor student.

“Christina and Benita are the heart and soul of the school,” Principal Fletcher Morgan said. “They keep things running smoothly, are incredibly organized, and love kids. No matter how busy the office gets, they treat everyone with kindness and a smile. South Arbor staff, students and families are lucky to have them.”

Both Boss and Hasselkus were South Arbor parents before working at the school. Now, Boss is in her 15th year, and Hasselkus is in her 13th. Their work behind the scenes is instrumental to the school, and includes answering the phones, answering the door, taking enrollment, and servicing any other needs of families or students, among other tasks.

Christina Hasselkus helps a South Arbor student
Christina Hasselkus helps a South Arbor student.

When a student walks in with some bumps and bruises, needs to be checked for a fever, or if parents need assistance, they have worked long enough with each other to address those issues and keep the school running smoothly.

“We both share those duties but when Benita's not doing her other things or if I’m overwhelmed with lots of them, she'll step in and say, ‘Hey, what's going on?’” Hasselkus said.

Boss and Hasselkus appreciate that their dedication to serving South Arbor families hasn’t gone unrecognized, as evidenced by feedback from the school engagement survey.

Registrar Benita Boss smiling
Registrar Benita Boss is in her 15th year at South Arbor.

“I think that we run a pretty fluid office here,” Boss said. “I’m very proud of that fact and also that the parents recognize us on the survey. It makes you know that you’re appreciated.”

The effort Boss and Hasselkus display sets the tone for those who visit South Arbor and is part of what makes the school a special place for so many.

Christina Hasselkus smiling and hugging her students
Office Administrator Christina Hasselkus is in her 13th year at South Arbor.

“You never know a person's mood for the day, so we always try to greet them very happily, very friendly in hopes that that's contagious,” Boss said. “We try to make sure the greeting is very welcoming very, wholesome.”

Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Boss and Ms. Hasselkus!

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About South Arbor Charter Academy
South Arbor Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Ypsilanti, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

Visit South Arbor Charter Academy's blog to read more stories like this.