UCS honors more than 20 years of dedicated service with Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Stuides
UCS honors more than 20 years of dedicated service with Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Stuides
Posted on 04/29/2021
Banner unveiling building lettersHonoring more than 20 years of service on the Board of Education, Utica Community Schools on April 28 officially dedicated its newly-named Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies. 
 
“Gene believed in Utica Community Schools and she believed in Utica Community Schools students,” said her husband, Dr. David Klida. 
 
Klida, who passed away in October 2019, was a driving force behind the creation of the district’s International Baccalaureate academy, which opened in 2008. 

On Wednesday, UAIS staff and community leaders gathered to unveil a dedication plaque, portrait and building lettering that will become a permanent part of the facility that housing the IB program. 

UCS Interim Superintendent Robert Monroe honored Klida for her focus on student success. 
 
“Mrs. Klida was always the first to put her time and energy into projects that she knew would forever change the lives of our students,” Monroe said. “That’s who Gene L. Klida was, and that is why we are here this afternoon honoring her legacy.” 
 
The new name was unanimously approved by the Board of Education in June, 2020. The ceremony was scheduled for the spring to ensure health and safety protcols would allow for a small in-person ceremony. 
 
“From this moment forward, the success of our International Baccalaureate program will be linked with the name Gene L. Klida,” Board of Education President Dr. Mary Thomas said. “Generations of students who never met Mrs. Klida will walk into a building every day that bears her name.” 
 
Dr. Thomas said: “They will honor her memory through the countless community service hours they perform as part of their IB curriculum. Every day, they will represent her vision that students have access to rigorous programs placing them on a path toward lifelong success. And they will leave this school and become a force of positive change in their community and their world, as Mrs. Klida did.” 
 
2017 UAIS graduate Shirley ElFishawy remembered Klida for her caring attitude and interest in students. 
 
“It is a perfect fit for UAIS to take on her name, in honor of a woman with a beautiful heart who always stood up for us,” she said. 
 
Klida was a member of the Board of Education from 1998 through December, 2018, serving the district as Board president, vice-president, secretary and trustee. 

In addition to her service on the Board of Education, Mrs. Klida had approximately 20 years of active service on the Utica Community Schools Foundation of Educational Excellence. She was also a member of the Utica Community Action Team, served 16 years as a coach for Science Olympiad, was the legislative chair of the Macomb County Schools Board Association, and was appointed by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel in 2018 to the Macomb County Arts Institute Authority. 

The academy has been repeatedly honored as Michigan’s most academically challenging high schools through the national "Jay Mathews Challenge Index," a ranking system that has been featured in the Washington Post. The index rates schools based on a high percentage of students who have access to and participate in rigorous academic exams, such as International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement. 
Since its first graduating class in 2012, each UAIS graduate has continued their education at universities across the country and world, including every Ivy League university.