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Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies honors service of long-time UCS Board member
Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies honors service of long-time UCS Board member
Posted on 06/23/2020
Studio photo of Mrs. KlidaMrs. Klida addressing graduatesRecognizing more than 20 years of leadership service, the Utica Community Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to rename the facility housing its International Baccalaureate program to the Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies.

Klida, who passed away in October 2019, will be honored this fall when the facility is dedicated in her honor.

As a Board of Education member, Klida was a driving force behind the creation of the International Baccalaureate academy, which opened in 2008.

“Mrs. Klida believed in this community, and most importantly, believed in our students,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “She was a true champion of all children who advocated and had high expectations for their success. She knew that an International Baccalaureate program would thrive in UCS, and would be the catalyst that would change the very future of students.”

A cross section of community members, teachers and alumni of the program recommended the honor.
“Mrs. Klida was a lifelong servant leader through word and deed,” said 2013 Academy graduate Deanna Galer. “She made a difference every single day, without ever asking for anything in return. I looked up to her then, and I look up to her now.”

Klida served for more than 20 years as a member of the Utica Community Schools Board of Education and was a tireless volunteer on multiple youth-centered community and educational organizations.
She and her husband David had two sons who graduated from Utica Community Schools.
Mrs. 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 by 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.